Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 5, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Why does high school football remain a community staple? Perhaps the most telling reasons are the pride or disappointment that can result from playing the neighboring school a few miles down the road. Whether that game is played early in the schedule or at the end of October – it's going to be brought up again and again during the year to come. 

Week 2 featured plenty of games that will be recalled after the snow begins to fall.

For most, league play ramps up this week. But these are the best of the momentum-builders and rivalry clashes that were played all over the state over this Labor Day weekend.

West Michigan

Zeeland East 60, Zeeland West 52 (2 OT)

This is one of the top rivalry games in Michigan, no question. And this was another classic, with East scoring in double overtime and then its defense holding on to avenge last season’s 26-21 loss to the Dux. The Chix have scored a combined 124 points during their 2-0 start. It’s been a rougher one for West (0-2), which in addition to this defeat put up 58 points on opening night and still lost by one to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Click to read more from the Holland Sentinel.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 14, Muskegon Catholic Central 0 – This slugfest between annual powers could get cited in November if these two again make their usual deep playoff runs.        

Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 28, Greenville 22 – Kenowa Hills is winning close (see also the four-point win over Traverse City West on opening night), but winning nonetheless.

Whitehall 28, Ravenna 7 – Whitehall joined the West Michigan Conference contenders in 2011 by beating Ravenna, and this seems to indicate that wasn’t just a one-year showing.

Grand Rapids West Catholic 28, Comstock Park 0 – The Falcons rebounded from a shutout in Indianapolis to shut out a team that won 10 games in 2011.

Southwest and Border

Morenci 34, Hudson 28

Keeping in mind that Morenci pushed into the playoffs as a 5-4 qualifier in 2011, this win was maybe a close second in significance. Maybe. Hudson (1-1) had won 33 straight regular-season games and at least 12 total in each of the last three seasons. The Tigers had beaten Morenci 10 straight times. Last but not least, this is Morenci’s first 2-0 start since 2001. Click to read more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.

Also noted:

Mattawan 49, Sturgis 27 – The Wildcats avenged last season’s nine-point loss in this matchup of 2011 playoff qualifiers to start 2-0 for the first time since 2006.

Schoolcraft 42, Constantine 32 – The Eagles broke a seven-game losing streak to Constantine and now look like the favorites in the Kalamazoo Valley Association.

Jonesville 52, Springport 51 – It’s big that these two scored a combined 103 points; it’s bigger that Jonesville won just once in 2011 and Springport was a playoff team.

Kalamazoo Loy Norrix 22, Kalamazoo Central 9 – This one always is significant, regardless of the talent on the two teams; Loy Norrix made it two straight in the series after previously dropping seven in a row.

Greater Detroit

Detroit East English 34, Detroit Martin Luther King 26

Make East English the favorite to finish first in the Detroit PSL East and rival Detroit Cass Tech as best in city. East English (1-1) and King (0-2) were considered the main contenders of their newly-formed division, and East English running back Desmond King averaged nearly 10 yards per carry to push his team to the forefront. King fell to 0-2. Click to read more from the Detroit Free Press.

Also noted:

Farmington 14, Southfield 6 – The Falcons have made the playoffs four straight seasons, so success is expected; this win was especially significant not only because it was the OAA White opener, but given Southfield’s impressive win over Detroit King during opening weekend.

Farmington Hills Harrison 19, Rochester Adams 7 – The OAA White is absolutely loaded, and these two are the usual favorites; Harrison sits atop the pack once again.

Dearborn Heights Robichaud 28, Dearborn 21 – This was just the third meeting between the two during the modern era, but also since 2009; it was also the first time Robichaud got the win.

Allen Park Cabrini 35, Madison Heights Bishop Foley 23 – Cabrini equaled both its total wins from last season (two) and Catholic League Intersectional wins (one).

Lower Up North

Traverse City West 16, Grand Haven 14

Aside from rivalry games victories over Traverse City Central, this might be West’s best win of the last five seasons. Grand Haven (1-1) is a force while playing in arguably the best league in the state – the O-K Red – and had beaten the Titans the last three seasons. It also was a great way for TC West (1-1) to bounce back after that four-point loss to Kenowa Hills on opening night. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Cadillac 15, Bay City John Glenn 14 – Cadillac had lost five straight to John Glenn, including by 35 points in 2011.

Boyne City 18, Kent City 13 – Boyne City is 2-0 for the first time since 2008, also the last the last time the Ramblers made the playoffs.

Traverse City Central 50, Escanaba 6 – These longtime annual foes renewed their rivalry for the first time since 2007.

McBain 42, Manistee 40 – The Ramblers made it three straight over Manistee; the Chippewas finished just short after winning their opener by two points.

Thumb and Bay

Croswell-Lexington 27, Richmond 24

In the pecking order of the Port Huron area’s best, this combined with Richmond’s win over Marine City on opening night might mean the Pioneers are tops so far. Croswell-Lexington (2-0) didn’t take its first lead until 31 seconds remained in regulation and trailed 21-0 midway through the second quarter. But after edging the Mariners by a point, the Blue Devils (1-1) couldn’t regain the lead this time. Click to read more from the Port Huron Times Herald.

Also noted:

Flint Powers Catholic 27, Mount Pleasant 7 – The reigning Division 5 champion used a big second quarter to push ahead of the reigning Division 3 runner-up.

Saginaw Nouvel 33, Lansing Catholic 28 – The reigning Division 7 champion Panthers came back to edge the reigning Division 5 runner-up; the Cougars hadn’t lost during the regular season since 2009.

Midland 31, Davison 20 – Not too much flash and dash, just two solid wins now for the Chemics as they head into Saginaw Valley League North play.

Beaverton 14, Tawas 12 – The Beavers broke a 12-game losing streak on opening night and are 2-0 for the first time since 1984 after beating a 2011 playoff team this week.


Lansing Everett 38, DeWitt 10

This might’ve come as a shock to those not familiar with Lansing-area football. True, the Panthers had beaten the Vikings 48-7 in 2011. But Everett (2-0) has had nearly the same starting lineup the last three seasons and was picked by its league coaches to finish first in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue now that those players are juniors and seniors. The title quest begins this week, while DeWitt (1-1) remains the heavy favorite in the CAAC Red. Click to read more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Belding 63, Lakewood 42 – This is one of five games statewide over the first two weeks in which the teams combined for more than 100 points and the losing team scored at least 40.

Bath 19, Fulton 17 – The Bees are 2-0 for the first time since 2000 and broke a 14-game losing streak to the Pirates after falling to them by just a point in 2011.

Haslett 28, Okemos 20 – This Meridian Bowl featured old rivals not just in that Haslett and Okemos share the same township, but because Chieftains coach Jack Wallace spent most of the last three decades coaching Fowlerville.

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 49, Manistee Catholic Central 41 – The Irish made it seven straight over their former league foe, but not without 90 points being scored between the two.

Upper Peninsula

Cedarville 32, Deckerville 8

Using the transitive property of who beat who, Cedarville might now be the team to beat in 8-player football this fall. The Trojans are 2-0 after going 9-2 and making a Regional Final in 2011. Deckerville opened the season with a 32-12 win over reigning MHSAA 8-player champion Carsonville-Port Sanilac, giving Cedarville something more to feel good about heading back into league play. Click and scroll to the bottom to read more from the Soo Evening News.

Also noted: 

Negaunee 12, Calumet 6 – These two had last met in the regular season in 1958, but also in two playoff games since 1995; the Miners won both of those and this long-awaited rematch as well.

Crystal Falls Forest Park 35, Norway 22 – Norway made this much closer than last season’s 34-0 shutout, but the Trojans are 2-0 as usual heading into a tough matchup with Hurley (Wis.).   

Powers North Central 36, Munising 12 – Good news for a North Central turnaround; the Jets fell to Munising 45-8 in 2011, when Munising finished in the playoffs and North Central ended 4-5.

L’Anse 40, Iron River West Iron County 20 – The Purple Hornets are 2-0, equaling last season’s win total, and with 74 points are also halfway to that 2011 output. 

PHOTO: Midland quarterback Alec Johnson follows his blockers during last week's win over Davison. (Click to see more from

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast 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. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.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.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. 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.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “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.”

Bramer agreed.

“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 SpencerTom 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 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.)