Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 11, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The definition for "rivalry game" has grown pretty broad over the history of high school athletics. 

Some are considered rivalry games based purely on the fact they've been played for years. Others have been around for only a few, but the competition has become so fierce that it's the first date circled when schedules are printed each fall. Both include the intensity, anticipation and excitement that generally bring a few more casual fans to the bleachers on Friday night. 

Some of Michigan's best rivalry games are among the most notable results from Week 2.

West Michigan

Zeeland East 50, Zeeland West 44 (OT)

This is shaping up as one of the best football rivalries in the state, with three of the last four games decided by eight points or fewer and East — last season’s regular-season winner — then losing to West 46-0 in their playoff opener. East has the upper hand again between schools separated by mere yards. Click to read more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted: 

Muskegon 35, Grand Rapids Christian 13: This would’ve been the best game on the west side any other week with the reigning MHSAA Division 2 runner-up Big Reds (2-0) continuing to look impressive in knocking off the reigning Division 3 champ Christian (1-1) in their first matchup since 1994. 

Comstock Park 39, Grand Rapids West Catholic 20: West Catholic (0-2) won the first five games of these teams’ recent series before Comstock Park (2-0) got on the board last week. 

Hamilton 21, Coopersville 20: A blocked extra point saved this win for the Hawkeyes (1-1) while dropping the Broncos to 0-2. 

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 16, Muskegon Catholic Central 13: These teams brought this series back last season after a seven-year break, and the Cougars (1-1) have won both while this time dropping the Crusaders to 0-2. 

Greater Detroit

Detroit U-D Jesuit 28, Detroit Country Day 27 (OT)

In part because it plays in a Detroit Catholic League Central with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Detroit Catholic Central, Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren DeLaSalle, U-D Jesuit has had some tough seasons over the last decade; its last playoff appearance was in 2000. But this win over the reigning Division 4 runner-up Yellowjackets (0-2) made the Cubs 2-0 — equaling last season’s win total — and could be an indication of more to come. Click to read more from MLive Detroit

Also noted: 

Belleville 17, Chelsea 14: The Tigers (1-1) are seeking their first playoff berth since 2004, and beating annual qualifier Chelsea (0-2) is a great start. 

Detroit Martin Luther King 6, Detroit East English 0 (2 OT): King (2-0) and East English (0-2) — formerly Crockett — are always two of the best teams in the city, and this might go down as the best regular-season game before the Public School League playoffs.

Farmington Hills Harrison 20, Rochester Adams 7: Harrison (2-0) made it four straight over Oakland Activities Association White rival Adams (1-1).

Plymouth 28, Milford 27: The Wildcats (2-0) came back from a two-touchdown deficit early in the third quarter to edge Milford (1-1).

Southwest and Border

Schoolcraft 37, Constantine 28

This was only the second week of nine on the Kalamazoo Valley Association schedule, but the league title could again be Schoolcraft’s to lose after this win over reigning Division 6 runner-up Constantine (1-1). A 47-yard touchdown pass after a Constantine turnover sealed the victory for the Eagles (2-0). Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette

Also noted: 

Kalamazoo Central 23, Battle Creek Central 7: The 110th meeting in one of the nation’s longest football rivalries saw Kalamazoo Central (2-0) climb within 12 (47 wins to 59) of catching up to the Bearcats (1-1 this season) for the series lead. This game played for the Totem Pole traveling trophy dates to 1893.

St. Joseph 14, Battle Creek Harper Creek 9: After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons in 2012, St. Joseph is 2-0 after handing a first loss to back-to-back MHSAA Semifinalist Harper Creek. 

Mattawan 64, Marshall 34: The Wildcats (1-1) awakened on offense after scoring only once on opening night; Marshall also upped its offensive output by 20 despite falling to 0-2. 

Plainwell 14, Three Rivers 7: They’re not in the same division of the Wolverine Conference anymore, but Plainwell (2-0) made it three straight over the Wildcats (1-1). 

Lower Up North

Maple City Glen Lake 28, Charlevoix 0

A big win by Charlevoix (1-1) over St. Ignace on opening night made this one look like a potential nail-biter. But Glen Lake (2-0) made it three in a row and two straight shutouts over the Rayders, and this week starts its pursuit of a second straight Northwest Conference championship. Click to read more from the Petoskey News.

Also noted:

Boyne City 35, Kent City 14: After a tough opening-night loss to Glen Lake, Boyne City (1-1) bounced back against the Eagles (1-1). 

Standish-Sterling 47, Gladwin 7: The Panthers (2-0) made it 10 straight over Gladwin after also beating the Flying G’s (1-1) in last season’s playoff opener. 

Harbor Springs 40, Frankfort 12: The Rams (2-0) pulled within a win of last season’s total while dropping the Panthers to 1-1 as they try to make up for last year’s first playoff miss since 1994. 

Traverse City West 21, West Branch Ogemaw Heights 8: The Titans (1-1) got a leg up by winning their Big North Conference opener while also avenging last season’s 56-39 loss to Ogemaw Heights (1-1).

Upper Peninsula

Houghton 26, Ishpeming Westwood 20 (2 OT)

Not only did Westwood (0-2) own two straight wins over Houghton before last weekend, but the Patriots won those games by a combined score of 70-0. They led again this time by two touchdowns early before the Gremlins (1-1) came back to claim their first victory this fall and pull within one more of equaling their victory total of all 2012. Click to read more from the Marquette Mining Journal

Also noted: 

Iron Mountain 27, Gwinn 8: Iron Mountain (1-1) bounced back from an opening-night loss; Gwinn (1-1), despite this loss, played the Mountaineers much closer than the last two seasons. 

St. Ignace 26, Mancelona 20 (OT): After their first opening-night loss in four seasons, the Saints (1-1) bounced back while dropping Mancelona to 0-2 after the Ironmen lost just once in 2012. 

Ishpeming 38, Manistique 0: The Hematites (2-0) have outscored their first two opponents, both 2012 playoff teams, by a combined 74-0. Have no fear Emeralds: You also started last fall 0-2 but made the postseason. 

Powers North Central 14, Munising 12: Munising (0-2) no doubt is smarting after losing its first two games by a combined nine points, but the Jets surely are celebrating their second straight 2-0 start. 


Lansing Everett 48, Saginaw 14

Five Capital Area Activities Conference Blue teams left Greater Lansing for Week 2 games, but only the Vikings (2-0) returned with a victory. Everett’s offense has scored 83 points so far and looks even better than last season’s best effort in four seasons. Saginaw did struggle to keep up this time, but is 1-1 entering Saginaw Valley Association North play this week. 

Bath 40, Fulton 22: For a Bees (1-1) team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2000, a second straight win over traditionally powerful Fulton has to be encouraging. The Pirates (1-1) also are looking to climb back into the playoffs after missing in 2012. 

Fowler 26, Laingsburg 12: This has been one the best Central Michigan Athletic Conference games for a decade; Fowler (1-1) enjoyed a nice bounce-back after a loss to Mendon on opening night, but the Wolfpack finds itself in a recently-rare 0-2 spot.

Beal City 48, Clare 0: This was expected to be much closer, but Beal City (2-0) might just be this strong. The Aggies have now outscored their first two opponents by a combined 109-0 while Clare is 0-2 again although it ended up 9-3 with the same start in 2012. 

St. Johns 28, Dearborn 13: The Redwings (1-1) followed up a lackluster opening-night loss to Charlotte with an impressive win over a playoff regular in Dearborn (0-2). 

Bay and Thumb

Essexville-Garber 25, Millington 6

The Saginaw News called this a “program-defining” win for Garber, and it might’ve been the team’s biggest in the Tri-Valley Conference East since also beating the Cardinals in 2009. The Dukes (2-0) broke a two-season playoff hiatus last fall, and this season could be league title contenders as well — although the Cardinals (1-1) certainly shouldn’t be expected to fall out of the mix. Click to read more from the Saginaw News

Mount Pleasant 21, Flint Powers Catholic 14: The Oilers (1-1) had a rare struggle in 2012 and opened this fall with a loss to DeWitt, but got back on the right foot by beating recently powerful Powers (1-1).

Fenton 43, Adrian 7: The Tigers (2-0) continued to roll after a rivalry win over Linden in Week 1; Adrian fell to 1-1 but 0-2 versus Fenton over the last two seasons.

Flint Carman-Ainsworth 49, Saginaw Heritage 20: Carman-Ainsworth (2-0) enhanced its status as a Saginaw Valley South favorite by knocking off a solid Hawks team (1-1). 

Richmond 28, Croswell-Lexington 21: The Pioneers (1-1) had beaten Richmond (1-1) in six straight including a second time last season during the playoffs. 

Trophy Games

Each week the MHSAA highlights trophy games played across the state. One was mentioned above, and we also knew about this one heading into the weekend. 

Promise Bowl Trophy: Jackson High and Lumen Christi began playing for this prize a year ago, and the Titans own both matchups so far. Final: Lumen Christi 43, Jackson 14.

PHOTO: Lansing Everett (white jerseys) improved to 2-0 with last week's win on the road against Saginaw High. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.) 

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)