Drive for Detroit: Week 2 Preview
September 5, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
After rain soaked many of this fall’s football openers, just about anything would be considered returning to business as usual this weekend.
But while we’re all hoping the storms stay away, will the heavy helping of unforeseen results we saw on the field follow us into Week 2?
Below again is a glance at games from every part of the state that appear especially intriguing. This week’s MHSAA.tv schedule includes live streams of 25 games – click for the full listing.
"Drive for Detroit" is sponsored by MI Student Aid.
Bay & Thumb
Ithaca (1-0) at Millington (0-1)
These two have met in the Division 6 playoffs two of the last five seasons, with Millington winning 50-33 in the opener last year to end the Yellowjackets’ shortest postseason since not making the playoffs at all in 2008. Now the teams are in the same league – the Tri-Valley Conference West I – and Millington will try to hand Ithaca just its second regular-season defeat this decade.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Freeland (1-0) at Essexville Garber (1-0), Midland (1-0) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (0-1), Standish-Sterling (1-0) at Frankenmuth (1-0), Lapeer (0-1) at Midland Dow (0-1).
Muskegon (1-0) at Detroit Martin Luther King (0-1)
This is a rematch of last season’s Division 3 championship game, won by King 41-25. And while rosters certainly have changed, an impressive group of the headliners are back for this second meeting including Big Reds’ quarterback Cameron Martinez and King running back Peny Boone. Few teams statewide this fall have loaded up the early schedule like these two – Muskegon downed two-time reigning Division 2 champion Warren De La Salle Collegiate 41-7 last week, while King fell 24-22 against Division 1 power Detroit Catholic Central.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Toledo Whitmer, Ohio (1-0) at Detroit Catholic Central (1-0), Birmingham Groves (1-0) at West Bloomfield (1-0), Southfield Arts & Technology (1-0) at Lake Orion (1-0), Detroit Mumford (1-0) at Detroit Country Day (1-0).
DeWitt (1-0) at Portland (1-0)
These remain two of the Lansing area’s elite, and they’ll play for the first time since 2014. The Panthers opened with a solid 31-26 road win at Traverse City Central and are prepping for their second season in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue – while hoping to extend a 13-year league title streak. Portland won big over Ovid-Elsie last week and has claimed five straight CAAC White titles. But this matchup should will pay off toward bigger goals as well. Both have realistic aims to play in November as the Raiders finished Division 5 runners-up last season and DeWitt made the Division 3 Semifinals.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Grandville (1-0) at East Lansing (1-0), Lansing Everett (0-1) at Lansing Eastern (1-0), Montrose (1-0) at Ovid-Elsie (0-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (0-1) at Lansing Catholic (1-0).
Northern Lower Peninsula
Maple City Glen Lake (1-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (1-0), Saturday
St. Francis has won the last eight meetings between these two, including a pair in the playoffs since Glen Lake's most recent victory in the series in 2012. But the Lakers are coming off a 19-point win over Millington (mentioned above), with their 26-point first half a positive sign after last season's decreased offensive output. St. Francis will be ready, of course, after extending its winning streak over opening-night opponent Marquette to five with a 14-point win.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Harbor Springs (1-0) at Frankfort (0-1), McBain (0-1) at Roscommon (0-1), Boyne City (0-1) at Charlevoix (1-0), Escanaba (1-0) at Petoskey (0-1).
Southeast & Border
Parma Western (1-0) at Jackson Lumen Christi (1-0)
The reigning Division 6 champion Titans extended their state-leading winning streak to 24 with a two-point win over Kalamazoo United last week. The Panthers also opened with a two-point win, over Whitehall, after setting a program record for victories finishing 10-2 last season despite losing 34-7 to Lumen in Week 2. Western's lone win in this rivalry came in 1976, according to michigan-football.com. But the Panthers should relish this opportunity to take another big step.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Carleton Airport (1-0) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (1-0), Sand Creek (1-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (1-0), Erie Mason (1-0) at Britton Deerfield (1-0), Leslie (1-0) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (1-0).
Stevensville Lakeshore (1-0) at Portage Northern (1-0)
This might be one of the most competitive yet little-hyped annual matchups in the state. Before Northern's 17-0 win a year ago, the previous seven meetings all were decided by eight points or fewer. Both put up 40+ points last week, but if recent history holds neither team will approach that level of offensive output. History also tells us the winner likely will contend for the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West title.
Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Mendon (1-0) at Cassopolis (1-0), Marshall (0-1) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-0), Berrien Springs (1-0) at Constantine (1-0), Mattawan (1-0) at Battle Creek Lakeview (1-0).
Ishpeming Westwood (1-0) at Iron Mountain (1-0)
This also will have an early but heavy influence on a league title race, as Westwood finished second and Iron Mountain third in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper in 2018 after Westwood won their meeting 34-7. The winner this time very well could push reigning champion Calumet for first place again, and the Patriots get the Copper Kings next week.
Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Calumet (1-0) at Negaunee (0-1), Gaylord (1-0) at Gladstone (1-0), Traverse City Central (0-1) at Marquette (0-1) SATURDAY Ishpeming (1-0) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (1-0).
Lowell (1-0) at Rockford (1-0)
Last season's 36-0 Rockford win contributed to Lowell's uncharacteristic 1-8 finish, but it's likely this game will return to relevancy tonight. The Red Arrows opened with a 19-6 win over Detroit Loyola and the Rams started with a 24-14 victory over Grand Rapids Christian, those successes quickly reinforcing expectations for this season for both traditional powerhouses.
Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-0) at Holland West Ottawa (0-1), Watervliet (0-1) at Saugatuck (1-0), Grand Rapids Christian (0-1) at Zeeland West (1-0), Holt (1-0) at Hudsonville (1-0).
St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (1-0) at Bridgman (1-0)
As a number of notable programs have moved from 11-player to 8 over the last few seasons, curiosity has grown about how those teams might shift the balance of power. Both of these teams made the move this fall (Lake Michigan Catholic had played a handful of 8-player games previously), and both put up at least 56 points in big wins last week. Both also have been frequent 11-player playoff qualifiers this decade.
Keep an eye on these as well: FRIDAY Hale (1-0) at Hillman (1-0), Pickford (1-0) at Engadine (1-0), Powers North Central (1-0) at Rapid River (0-1), Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (0-1) at Martin (1-0).
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PHOTO: Clare, here on defense, opened with an impressive 35-0 shutout of Alma last week. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
March 17, 2023
Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.
Last year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.
That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.
The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.
But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer.
The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.
Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.
Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.
Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.
“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing.
“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”
Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.
The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.
The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.
“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit.
“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”
This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.
Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.
The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.
“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.
“They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”
Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.
“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”
With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.
“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”
“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)