By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The storms came on hard on the state's west side about an hour before kickoff Friday. A handful mid-Michigan games started an hour or two late and got over just before midnight, and most in the the Detroit area were postponed for the night somewhere around the end of the first quarter.
Roughly 35 percent of MHSAA Week 2 games either were finished or played in full Saturday because of the string of lightening, thunder, rain and hail that made its way across most of the Lower Peninsula. At points before and after, teams continued finding their footing to start September, as the elite continued to show and local history was made in your backyards.
Below are the results that jumped out most from the wild weekend that was:
Zeeland West 38, Zeeland East 27
A little different start to this season’s chapter for these rivals; lately East has won the regular-season meeting with West then winning big in the playoffs. But West took control during the third quarter and rode its crushing running game to a win in what could again be a two-game series between the neighbors. Click to read more from the Holland Sentinel.
Muskegon 29, Grand Rapids Christian 21 – The Big Reds (2-0) just keep piling up impressive wins, including this second in a recent two-game series over the Eagles (1-1).
Caledonia 47, Grand Rapids South Christian 21 – Few in the state have been as impressive early as the Fighting Scots (2-0), who doubled up reigning Division 4 runner-up South Christian (0-2) after beating Battle Creek Harper Creek by 41 on opening night.
Rockford 40, Holt 28 – Holt (0-2) never makes this easy on Rockford (2-0), which had to come back from a halftime deficit.
Holland 28, Spring Lake 20 -- The Dutch (1-1) equaled its win total of the last two seasons combined by beating the Lakers (1-1), who finished 8-2 a year ago.
Macomb Dakota 42, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 21
Dakota (1-1) showed it’s a Division 1 contender on opening night in a three-point loss to reigning champion Clarkston, and remains the favorite in the Macomb Area Conference Red after keeping this rivalry one-sided with a 16th-straight win over Chippewa Valley (1-1). Up next is league newcomer Warren Mott, another Red contender, but Dakota’s confidence should be running on high. Click to read more from the Macomb Daily.
East Detroit 28, Clinton Township Clintondale 22 – The Shamrocks (1-1) haven’t won more than five games in a season since 1986, but this has to be one of the biggest during that time; Clintondale had won 20 straight regular-season games dating to 2011.
Detroit Country Day 18, Detroit U-D Jesuit 16 – Beating Country Day in Week 2 last season set the tone for Jesuit’s best finish in more than a decade; this time the Yellowjackets get a nice bounce-back after a tough loss to Zeeland West on opening night.
Oxford 7, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 0 – Oxford’s addition to the Oakland Activities Association Red made a strong league even tougher, but wins like this one over reigning Red runner-up Stoney Creek (1-1) are a must if the Wildcats (2-0) are to contend.
Utica Ford 23, Utica 20 – Ford (2-0) went a combined 1-17 over 2012-13 and hadn’t scored a point on rival Utica (0-2) since 2011.
Bay and Thumb
Marine City 28, St. Clair 14
Running back Jarrett Mathison, a hero of last season’s Division 4 championship run for Marine City, was a hero again with more than 200 yards rushing as the Mariners won the game that could eventually decide the Macomb Area Conference Gold title. These teams met in Week 8 to decide last season’s league championship, and Marine City definitely has an upper hand moving forward after also winning last year's tilt. Click to read more from the Port Huron Times-Herald.
Birch Run 33, Essexville Garber 7 – The Panthers (2-0) have had three up-and-down seasons, but this one looks more up after they avenged last season’s 43-12 loss to the Dukes (0-2).
Gladwin 35, Standish-Sterling 21 – The Flying G’s are 2-0 for the first time since 2003, this week beating a Standish-Sterling (1-1) team coming off 9-2 in 2013.
Clio 30, Central Montcalm 29 – Last week, Clio broke a 37-game losing streak; this week it edged the Hornets (1-1) to guarantee at least two wins for the first time since 2001.
Fenton 17, Temperance Bedford 8 – Not quite a streak, but Fenton (2-0) has won 18 of its last 19 regular-season games and handed Temperance Bedford its second loss this fall after the Mules were perfect for the regular season in 2013.
Mount Pleasant 28, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 27 (OT)
A four-quarter comeback and two-point conversion stand could count significantly toward deciding the Saginaw Valley Association Red championship, even as this game was only the league opener for both contenders. Mount Pleasant (1-1) bounced back big after an opening nonleague loss to Midland Dow and stopped Carman-Ainsworth (1-1) as it went for the win at the end of first overtime. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun.
Beal City 15, Clare 14 – Beal City came back from a two-score deficit to move to 2-0; Clare, meanwhile, is 0-2 having faced the reigning Division 6 champion (Ithaca last week) and Division 8 runner-up.
Hartland 24, Canton 21 – The Eagles (2-0) are bouncing back well after going 3-6 a year ago, with Canton annually among Division 1’s most respected contenders.
Mason 10, Eaton Rapids 7 – The Bulldogs (1-1) came back from a disappointing opening-night loss to rival Okemos, hanging on against the improved Greyhounds (1-1) thanks to a touchdown with fewer than two minutes to play.
Parma Western 50, Battle Creek Pennfield 37 – Western (2-0) is making big strides in the second season under former Dearborn coach Dave Mifsud, with 50 points its most since 1962 and its pair of wins already equaling last season’s total – and with this one coming over a Pennfield team (0-2) coming off 10 wins and 15 straight playoff berths.
Lower Up North
Gaylord 35, Grayling 0
The first meeting between these two since 1996 didn’t end up as nail-biting as anticipated, but the credit needs to go to the Blue Devils – they are 2-0 and with another win will guarantee their best finish since 2008 after winning a combined three games over the last four seasons. What’s more, Gaylord has outscored its first two opponents by a combined 75-0 after not shutting out any since Week 5 of 2011. Grayling, a playoff team the last five years, fell to 1-1. Click for more from the Gaylord Herald Times.
Alpena 29, Sault Ste. Marie 18 – The Wildcats (1-1) not only equaled their win totals of the last three seasons, but did so against a Sault Ste. Marie team (0-2) coming off consecutive playoff appearances.
Traverse City Central 50, Escanaba 14 – The Trojans are 2-0 for the first time since 2004 and heading into this week’s Big North Conference opener against rival Traverse City West.
Traverse City St. Francis 42, McBain 12 – The Gladiators snapped back from an overtime loss to New Lothrop by moving to 1-1 with a win over a 2013 playoff team in McBain (0-2).
Indian River Inland Lakes 54, Pickford 14 – The Bulldogs (2-0) added 54 to their 62 points on opening night for a two-game total eclipsing 100 for the first time since 2004.
Southwest and Border
Martin 34, Bellevue 14
The Clippers (1-1) needed to put off the celebration one more day because of storms Friday but enjoyed their first win since 2007, a stretch of 56 games that actually began with a loss in the playoffs. The 34 points were Martin’s most since it scored 44 in its previous most recent win, a 2007 District opener, and came against a Bellevue team (0-2) that made the playoffs in 2013.
Constantine 31, Schoolcraft 17 – The Kalamazoo Valley Association rivals played another close one, with the Falcons (2-0) avenging last season’s nine-point loss to earn an upper hand this fall on the Eagles (1-1).
Whitehall 33, Shelby 0 – The Vikings (2-0) have doubled last season’s one-win total and done so by a combined 84-24 score and with their first shutout since 2011.
Paw Paw 29, Three Rivers 0 – The Redskins (2-0) are off to another solid start, with the shutout more impressive because Three Rivers (0-2) fell to powerful Edwardsburg by only two on opening night.
Ida 41, Petersburg-Summerfield 20 – Ida (2-0) lost only twice during the 2013 regular season, the worst by 21 points to Summerfield, now 1-1 this fall.
Ishpeming Westwood 52, Houghton 14
The Patriots are faced with the large shadow of neighboring Ishpeming High, which has won the last two MHSAA Division 7 championships. But Westwood has built a nice start as well this fall, opening 2-0 against Stephenson and now Houghton after starting 0-2 against those opponents a year ago. By doing so, Westwood (2-0) equaled last season’s win total – and beat a 2013 playoff team in the Gremlins (0-2). Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Gladstone 41, Roscommon 12 – The Braves (2-0) ended a 16-game losing streak with a victory on opening night and tied their highest win total since 2010 with this one over the Bucks (0-2).
Iron River West Iron County 54, L'Anse 8 – The Wykons (2-0) got a huge start on another Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title by beating last season’s league runner-up, L’Anse (1-1).
Munising 41, Powers North Central 6 – The Mustangs bounced back from a 22-point loss on opening night to get a step up in the Mid-Eastern Conference against last season's runner-up, North Central, which didn’t play last week.
Negaunee 31, Calumet 22 – The always-steady Miners started 2-0 for the seventh straight season, while Calumet fell to 1-1.
Lawrence 57, Carsonville-Port Sanilac 6
Lawrence (2-0) continued its surge coming off last season’s MHSAA Semifinal berth, pushing its overall scoring margin this fall to 107-6 after two games. Derek Gribler, last season’s standout running back, ran for four scores and threw for two more from his new quarterback spot. Carsonville-Port Sanilac fell to 0-2. Click for more from Mlive.
Deckerville 14, Kingston 8 – The 2012 MHSAA champion is 2-0 for the first time in its three seasons as an 8-player team, although Kingston (0-2) played the Eagles the closest of their three recent meetings.
Webberville 44, Tekonsha 36 – The Spartans (1-1) bounced back from an 86-48 loss to Dryden on opening night, while Tekonsha fell to 0-2.
PHOTO: Corunna defenders (gold helmets) surround a Montrose ball-carrier Friday, but couldn't pull off an upset as the Rams prevailed 28-21 when the game was finished Saturday.
SCHOOLCRAFT — If it is a home game for the Schoolcraft football team, head over to Vicksburg.
If it is soccer, go to Schoolcraft’s baseball field.
Things are a bit jumbled in the sports world for the Eagles this season.
With a new football field under construction and a new elementary school built on the site of the former practice fields, the two teams have been a bit displaced.
“Along with our football field, we had three practice fields that were utilized by a lot of our youth programs, Rocket football, youth soccer and our soccer and football programs,” Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin said. “It’s taken a lot of understanding and flexibility from our coaches, players and our community to make it work out, and it has.”
Meanwhile, all four Eagles home football games will be played at Vicksburg High School.
If Vicksburg is home on a Friday, then the Eagles will play Saturday, including their Homecoming game this Saturday against Galesburg-Augusta.
The Eagles won their only “home” game so far, 33-14 against Kalamazoo United, and take a 3-1 record into Saturday’s contest.
The soccer team gave up its field to the football team for practices and has been practicing and playing their matches in the outfield of the baseball stadium.
For the soccer team, “It’s kind of an upgrade,” Applin said. “The soccer field they traditionally play on, they don’t have a scoreboard, they don’t have a bathroom facility, so we’ve been able to use the (baseball) scoreboard, the PA system, open up the bathroom building.
“The goal at some point is to give soccer a home, and we’re very, very excited about that.”
This year definitely has been challenging for the first-year AD, who credits Vicksburg athletic director Mike Roy with being a tremendous help.
“Mike Roy has been nothing but accommodating to us,” Applin said. “He’s been super helpful to me stepping in and assuming this scenario.
“The communities are so close, it almost feels like home for us.”
Roy said Jeff Clark, former Schoolcraft AD, reached out once the bond was passed for the new stadium last year.
“We had to make small accommodations as did Schoolcraft to make the schedules work,” Roy said. “By moving (Schoolcraft’s) games to Saturday, Vicksburg had to work with our Rocket football organization to make sure games were completed” before the Eagles varsity games.
Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency said his team has been “rolling with the punches.
“These guys don’t care where it’s at; they just want to play football. We’re all taking care of each other. What a great place to be when everybody works together.”
When Jake Bailey heard the team would be playing at Vicksburg, “That got me excited,” the junior offensive tackle said. “They’ve got a really nice facility. I know the school will come out to support us no matter where we are, but it’s definitely different.
“Good thing we don’t play Vicksburg, although it would be fun because it would be both our home fields. The new facilities and being back at our home field at Roy Davis (Field next year) will be really fun.”
Vicksburg is Division 4, while Schoolcraft is Division 7.
The soccer team was “just being a team player” in giving up its own field for football practice, second-year head coach Jeremy Mutchler said.
“For the soccer team to be a team player and get behind the football team will help the community get behind the soccer team as well,” he added.
The biggest drawback is that part of the current field includes a piece of the baseball infield.
“The only odd thing is it is a smaller field, still regulation size, but smaller,” Mutchler said. “Part of the field is in the diamond, so we have to play in the dirt and it gets tricky, especially when you’re trying to throw it in or just play down the line.”
The move has cost the team a few home games.
“At the beginning of the year, we allowed schools, if they didn’t want to play here, we would go to their house,” Mutchler said. “We had to go to a few schools we would have played at home.”
Maintenance supervisor Eric McGehee was instrumental in preparing the field.
“He laid out exactly the parameters, so I was able to send that to all the ADs that were going to visit to give them an opportunity to decide whether that’s something they wanted to help us out for our home games,” Applin said. “A lot of schools were more than willing to come and play us to give our boys some home games. A couple wanted to be cautious and play on a more traditional surface, and we were able to make those arrangements as well.”
In only its second year as a varsity sport, the boys soccer team is still finding its identity, posting a 2-5 record so far.
“We’re a very young team,” Mutchler said. “All juniors and freshmen. This is the juniors' second regular season. It’s all been a learning phase with maturity and sportsmanship.”
Junior captain Jack Curtis said he was a bit “bummed out” when he heard the team would move to the baseball field.
“The first practice, I drove over to our practice field,” he said. “No one was there.
“I drove over to the high school and saw everyone practicing (at the baseball field). I didn’t think a soccer field could fit on a baseball field.”
Curtis said in spite of the temporary move, “I’m just glad we can have some home games this year on Schoolcraft soil.”
As for Applin, he spent much of his career coaching basketball at both the high school and college levels and most recently worked as a salesman for Zeigler. His wife, Meredith, is an assistant coach for Western Michigan University’s women’s basketball team.
Ferency is appreciative of the work Clark and Applin have done to make this season’s changes relatively seamless.
“I’d like to highlight how great our athletic department is,” he said. “It takes a lot of moving pieces and parts to move people around and have a space for everybody.
“I’m really proud of our athletic department and all our coaches and kids for just rolling with the punches.”
Pam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Schoolcraft’s varsity boys soccer team, including Nyan Wonders (15), faces Comstock this season on its field in the outfield of the baseball stadium. (2) Schoolcraft’s Kolby Lloyd (10) works to break away from a tackler during a “home” game played at Vicksburg this fall. (3) Clockwise, from top left: Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency, Schoolcraft boys soccer coach Jeremy Mutchler, soccer player Jack Curtis and football player Jake Bailey. (4) Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin has taken over the maneuvering of the teams’ home sites during his first year on the job. (Action photos by Stephanie Blentlinger/Lingering Memories Photography. Headshots and Applin photo by Pam Shebest.)