Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 8, 2014

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:

West Michigan 

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.

Also noted: 

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.

Greater Detroit

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

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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.  

Upper Peninsula

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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. 

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.)