Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 4, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

For the second year in a row, storms crashed the second week of Michigan's high school football season.

But the rain could only postpone about 70 games and some dramatic early-season finishes that surely will be difference-makers in the standings in weeks to come.

See below for our look at the most significant of the week's results from every region and our 8-player teams.

Bay & Thumb

Marlette 28, Bad Axe 27 

Bad Axe (1-1) stormed into the fall with a big season-opening win over Harbor Beach, and looked like it would add a second victory over a 2014 playoff team before Marlette went ahead during the fourth quarter on a 67-yard scoring pass. Click for more from the Port Huron Times-Herald. 

Also noted:

Bay City John Glenn 28, Cadillac 14 – After a nice bounce-back last season for John Glenn (2-0), the Bobcats continued to surge by avenging last season’s 31-7 loss to Cadillac (0-2). 

Port Huron 28, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 26 – The Big Reds (1-1) bounced back from a tough loss in Week 1 by keeping a five-game streak going against Anchor Bay (1-1).

Byron 14, Carson City-Crystal 7 – Byron (2-0) is starting nicely after last season’s 4-5 finish, this week avenging last season’s loss to the Eagles (1-1), who are coming off three straight playoff appearances. 

Clio 7, Stanton Central Montcalm 6 – The Mustangs are 2-0 for the second straight season with a second straight one-point win over Central Montcalm (0-2).

Greater Detroit

Macomb Dakota 28, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 21

One of the best football rivalries in all of the Macomb Area Conference, this annual matchup continues to meet expectations. Dakota (2-0) has won 11 straight over the Big Reds during the regular season, but was coming off a one-point loss to Chippewa Valley (1-1) in last season’s District Final. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

Also noted:

Wyandotte Roosevelt 23, Allen Park 14 – Both of these teams are regular contenders in the Downriver Conference, with Roosevelt (2-0) now taking the upper hand after finishing third last season when Allen Park (1-1) was league runner-up.

Detroit Loyola 42, Muskegon Oakridge 13 – Reigning Division 7 champion Loyola (1-1) looks up to another run after winning big over solid Oakridge (1-1).

Farmington 20, Oak Park 19 – Farmington (2-0) had lost three straight to Oak Park (0-2), including in last season’s playoff opener.

Detroit U-D Jesuit 23, Detroit Country Day 13 – Jesuit (2-0) equaled last season’s win total by beating a second playoff team from a year ago; Country Day is 1-1.


Mason 21, Eaton Rapids 6

The build-up made this the premier game in the Lansing area Thursday, as both teams made the playoffs the last two seasons. But the result remained the same as it's been going back to 1993, the last time Mason fell to Eaton Rapids (1-1). The teams played to only a 10-7 win for Mason last season, but the Bulldogs (2-0) broke away this time relying again on an experienced offense and stout defense. Click for more from Mason Today.

Also noted:

Portland 37, Hillsdale 14 – The Raiders (2-0) are bouncing back nicely from their first losing season since 2002, knocking off the Hornets (1-1), who had won 13 of their last 15 regular-season games.

Stockbridge 53, Sand Creek 48 – Panthers quarterback Mason Gee-Montgomery threw himself into the MHSAA record book with seven touchdown passes as Stockbridge (2-0) went over 50 points for the second time in two games in dropping Sand Creek to 1-1.

Beal City 43, Clare 36 (OT) – These two have played classics two straight seasons, with Beal City (2-0) adding to last year’s one-point win by outlasting Clare (0-2) this time. 

Corunna 19, Montrose 13 (OT) – This might be the best win for the Cavaliers (2-0) since at least 2007, or longer ago, as they’ve made the playoffs just once over the last decade while the Rams (1-1) are an annual contender.

Northern Lower Peninsula

Gaylord 45, Grayling 6

These rivals took nearly 20 seasons off before reviving their annual game last fall, and it’s been all Blue Devils so far with both victories by a combined score of 80-6. The score this time wouldn’t make this seem like a big game aside from the neighborly connection, but it could have a bearing on both teams’ futures. Gaylord (2-0) is trying to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and this could be huge toward achieving that goal after the team started 3-0 nonleague last season but went only 2-4 in Big North Conference play. Grayling (1-1) missed the playoffs last fall for the first time in five seasons and faces a tough road ahead starting with Maple City Glen Lake this week. Click for more from the Gaylord Herald-Times.

Also noted:

Kalkaska 40, Elk Rapids 23 – It was quite a comeback by the Blazers (1-1), who fell to Elk Rapids 48-0 only a year ago but this time dropped the Elks to 0-2.

Houghton Lake 12, Lakeview 7 – Not only did this avenge a 45-6 loss to Lakeview (1-1) last year, but it set up Houghton Lake (1-1) to surpass its one-win finishes of 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Manistee 40, Muskegon Orchard View 14 – The Chippewas are 2-0 for the first time since 2009 and after losing to Orchard View 34-7 a year ago; the Cardinals are 0-2.

Maple City Glen Lake 26, Suttons Bay 14 – Glen Lake (2-0) needs one more win to equal last season’s 3-6 finish and now has victories this fall over two 2014 playoff teams and five straight wins over Suttons Bay (0-2). 

Southeast & Border 

Morenci 26, Hudson 20 (3 OT) 

This quickly is turning into one of the top rivalry games from this corner of the state. Morenci (2-0) now has won the last two meetings (by a combined 11 points) after losing 11 in 12 to the Tigers (1-1) from 2002-13. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram. 

Also noted: 

Concord 44, Union City 36 – The Yellow Jackets (2-0) haven’t won two games total since 2010, and hadn’t beaten Union City (1-1) since 1988.

Napoleon 13, Grass Lake 8 – Napoleon (1-1) had lost 10 straight to Grass Lake (1-1), but now is 1-0 to start the Cascades Conference schedule for the first time since 2010. 

Jackson 56, Lansing Everett 27 – Jackson (2-0) has its most win since 2010 and got there by adding a victory over Everett (0-2), a playoff team the last three seasons.

Onsted 21, Adrian Madison 20 (OT) – The Wildcats needed a little extra to survive Madison (1-1) for the second straight season and to start 2-0 for the second straight. 

Southwest Corridor

Portage Central 28, Battle Creek Lakeview 21

These two may end up champions of their separate divisions of the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference, but regardless this will be remembered as one of the league’s marquee battles of 2015. Portage Central came back from a second-half touchdown deficit and now has a little more momentum to ride heading into next week’s SMAC West opener against Stevensville Lakeshore. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Benton Harbor 14, Battle Creek Central 9 – Not only did the Tigers (1-1) break a 20-game losing streak, but they did so against a Central team that’s only a combined 15 points from being undefeated instead of 0-2.

Cassopolis 41, Mendon 6 – This has started like a rare down season for Mendon, which is 0-2 for the first time since 2006; but Cassopolis is 2-0 for the first time since 2010.

Constantine 21, Decatur 20 (OT) – The landscape this season is drastically different for the Falcons (1-1) with a new league and six new opponents, but a win over usually-powerful Decatur (1-1) is a great way to bounce back from a three-point loss on opening night.

Schoolcraft 34, Watervliet 33 – The Eagles will hop into a new league next week 2-0 after edging a Watervliet team that has started 1-1 but won 10 games each of the last two seasons.

Upper Peninsula 

L’Anse 30, Iron River West Iron County 26

This was quite a reversal from last season’s 54-8 win by West Iron, with L’Anse (2-0) handing the Wykons their first loss in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference since 2012. West Iron also hadn’t started 0-2 since 2002. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

Also noted:

Escanaba 16, Petoskey 7 – The Eskymos are 2-0 for the first time since 2011 after beating a Petoskey team that won nine game a year ago but fell to 1-1.

Newberry 47, Felch North Dickinson 36 – The Indians (2-0) got their first win in four tries against North Dickinson since joining the Nordics (1-1) in the Mid-Eastern Conference. 

Lake Linden-Hubbell 35, Hurley (Wis.) 6 – The Great Western Conference is a team fewer this season, but Lake Linden-Hubbell (2-0) is a game up after avenging last season’s 28-6 loss to Hurley.

Negaunee 21, Calumet 14 – Make that three of the last four meetings between these two decided by eight points or fewer, with Negaunee (2-0) winning all four matchups and dropping Calumet this time to 1-1.

West Michigan

Muskegon 42, Grand Rapids Christian 14

There weren’t a lot of better ways the Big Reds (1-1) could’ve bounced back from a three-point loss to Detroit Catholic Central on opening night. Christian (1-1) itself was coming itself off a nice nail-biter win over Grand Rapids South Christian. Now Muskegon will face Grandville this week trying to become the first team in Michigan high school history to win 800 games. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted: 

Montague 70, Ravenna 48 – This goes down as one of the more interesting recent chapters in this West Michigan Conference rivalry, with Montague (2-0) scoring its most points since 2010 and Ravenna (1-1) scoring enough to beat most.

Caledonia 23, Grand Rapids South Christian 7 – The Fighting Scots (2-0) have outscored two teams that went a combined 18-7 last season by a combined score of 63-10; South Christian fell to 0-2.

Grandville 38, Lansing Sexton 25 – Grandville is 2-0 after handing reigning Division 4 runner-up Sexton its second loss, which was absolutely necessary as the Bulldogs might face the toughest schedule of any team in Michigan over the next seven weeks.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 40, Byron Center 28 – The Huskies finished last season on a 1-3 spiral, but are 2-0 after beating 2014 playoff team Byron Center (1-1) for the second straight year.


Kingston 20, Kinde-North Huron 12

Kingston still has been outscored 54-20 after two games, but came back strong after a big opening night loss to Deckerville. North Huron entered off a big win over Carsonville-Port Sanilac; this gave Kingston a 3-2 advantage in the series since the two schools first started playing 8-player in 2012. Both are 1-1 this season.

Also noted:

Cedarville 34, Pickford 20 – Pickford (1-1) is new to 8-player this fall, but gave Cedarville one of its few close games since this the Trojans (2-0) made the switch in 2011.

Webberville 34, Tekonsha 32 – The Spartans are 2-0 but have walked the edge, with both wins by two points; this one dropped Tekonsha to 1-1.

PHOTO: Detroit East English (on offense) downed Detroit Renaissance 40-7 in their Week 2 matchup. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.)

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.)