Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 6, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Three overtime thrillers. Two matchups pitting arguably the best programs from their respective areas. One of the most intriguing games in Michigan 8-player football history. 

If you missed following Week 2's results, you truly missed out – but we're here to help. 

Catch up below for many of the most telling results from another Labor Day weekend.

Bay & Thumb

Algonac 14, Almont 7

This is turning into quite the Blue Water Area Conference rivalry series, with Algonac extending its run to three straight over Almont (1-1) after losing to the Raiders 72-7 in 2014. Last season’s win helped the Muskrats to an eventual share of the league title; this one definitely gives them an upper hand again only a game into the BWAC schedule. Offense was at a premium once again, but Algonac (2-0) scored in the second and fourth quarters and has given up only nine points over its first two games. Click for more from the Port Huron Times Herald.

Also noted:

Beaverton 39, Harbor Beach 22 – The Beavers (2-0) are already one win shy of tying last season’s total after dealing the frequently-powerful Pirates (1-1) a first defeat this fall.

Port Huron Northern 27, Marine City 24 – The Huskies (1-1) are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and beating Marine City (0-2) for the first time certainly will help.

St. Clair Shores South Lake 54, Madison Heights Madison 28 – South Lake (2-0) could be a clear favorite in the Macomb Area Conference Silver after avenging last season’s 56-42 title-deciding loss to the reigning champion Eagles (1-1).

Davison 49, Mount Pleasant 14 – Tariq Reid ran for 309 yards and scored five touchdowns as Davison moved to 2-0 and dropped the Oilers to 0-2.

Greater Detroit

Southfield Arts & Technology 24, Clarkston 18 (OT)

What a start/bounce back for the first-year Warriors. The school, formed by a merger of the former Southfield High and Southfield Lathrup, opened this season and its football history by falling to Detroit Martin Luther King 39-0 during opening weekend. So that made this rebound win over the always-tough Wolves (1-1) at least a little unexpected – and gave Southfield A&T an early edge in a strong Oakland Activities Association Red as well. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Utica Eisenhower 26, Macomb Dakota 13 – Only the stunner by Southfield A&T could trump this massive win by Eisenhower (2-0), which ended a five-game losing streak to its MAC Red rival; Dakota (1-1) beat the Eagles twice last season, including in the District Final.

Walled Lake Western 33, Canton 30 – These two combined to go 22-4 in 2015, but Western (2-0) is off to the better start so far after dealing a heartbreaker to the Chiefs (0-2).

Allen Park 38, Wyandotte Roosevelt 0 – The Jaguars (2-0) have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 100-0 after avenging last season’s loss to the Bears (1-1).  

Detroit U-D Jesuit 20, Ann Arbor Pioneer 7 – The Cubs are 2-0 for the second straight season after bottling up a Pioneer team that went 7-4 a year ago.


Grand Ledge 28, DeWitt 21

The game everyone in the Lansing area has waited years to see lived up to its billing, as the reigning Capital Area Activities Conference Blue champion Comets outlasted the annual powerhouse from the CAAC Red. Grand Ledge didn’t totally ground DeWitt’s high-powered offense, but did come up with necessary stops and multiple turnovers to improve to 1-1 with league play beginning this week. The Panthers, also 1-1, will move on to trying to extend their 38-game league winning streak that dates to 2008. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Haslett 9, Flushing 6 – The Vikings (1-1) made it three straight over Flushing (1-1); they’ve won by a combined eight points over those three recent meetings.

Pewamo-Westphalia 64, Dansville 0 – The Aggies (1-1) are likely still one of the best teams in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, but the reigning Division 7 runner-up Pirates (2-0) are likely just this good.

Portland 40, Hillsdale 0 – The Raiders (2-0) are another Lansing-area team looking elite so far after dealing Hillsdale (1-1) its first shutout loss since 2011.

Fowlerville 38, Charlotte 25 – The Gladiators have had some tough seasons since last making the playoffs in 2010, but are 2-0 for the first time since 2009 after downing the Orioles (0-2). 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix 22, Boyne City 14 (OT)

The Red Rayders (2-0) have come up with stunning wins from time to time over the last few years and are riding a streak of two straight winning seasons. But this still must qualify as the most stunning in recent memory – Charlevoix hadn’t scored on Boyne City over their last two meetings and hadn’t beaten the Ramblers since 2011. Boyne City (0-2), a Division 6 regional finalist last fall, isn’t far off its usual pace, however; the two losses this season are by only a combined 17 points. Click for more from the Petoskey News.

Also noted:

Manton 28, Johannesburg-Lewiston 24 – Aside from the Week 9 victory that gave the 2014 Rangers their only playoff appearance of the last two decades, beating the Cardinals (who were 43-12 over last five seasons) might be Manton’s best win since the early 1990s; both teams are now 1-1.

Alpena 33, Sault Ste. Marie 20 – The Wildcats (1-1) are looking for their first winning season since 2004, and getting past a 2015 playoff team like the Blue Devils (1-1) will help.

Traverse City St. Francis 21, Maple City Glen Lake 13 – This is the latest chapter in what’s become a strong rivalry, as St. Francis moved to 2-0 and Glen Lake to 1-1 with both likely contenders in their respective leagues.

Manistee 36, Hopkins 30 – The Chippewas (1-1) have improved yearly over the last three and bounced back from an opening-night loss by beating a Hopkins team (1-1) trying to rebound from its first sub-.500 season since 2006. 

Southeast & Border

Concord 28, Homer 26 (OT)

Tune back in later this week for a feature on Concord, which struggled through back-to-back 1-8 seasons in 2013 and 2014 before making a huge jump to 7-3 last year. The Yellowjackets (2-0) hadn’t beaten Homer since 2009 and fell 32-30 last season as the Trojans went on to win the Big 8 Conference title. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.

Also noted:

East Jackson 30, Vandercook Lake 28 – The Trojans (1-1) have three wins total over their last four seasons, but got a huge one against a Jayhawks team (0-2) that finished 8-2 a year ago.

Hudson 8. Morenci 6 – The momentum in this rivalry swung back to the Tigers (2-0), who had lost two straight to Morenci (1-1) and have given up only 14 points total over two games this fall.

New Boston Huron 21, Carleton Airport 14 – The Chiefs (2-0) opened Huron League play with a second win by seven points or fewer, but also fourth straight over Airport (1-1)

Temperance Bedford 51, Fenton 28 – Last season’s 0-4 start is a distant memory for the Mules (2-0), who got past a Fenton team (0-2) coming off its eighth straight playoff appearance. 

Southwest Corridor

Marshall 17, Coldwater 7

The Redhawks (1-1) came back from an opening-night loss to Benton Harbor to avenge last season’s 9-7 defeat to Coldwater (1-1) that ended up deciding the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title. In doing so, Marshall also ended the Cardinals’ 13-game regular-season winning streak; the latter’s only loss last fall came in a Division 3 Semifinal. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer

Also noted:

Benton Harbor 28, Grand Rapids South Christian 21 – The Tigers (2-0) continued to show last season’s success wasn’t just a one-and-done by sending the Sailors to 1-1.  

Paw Paw 22, Plainwell 9 – The Redskins (2-0) are off to their seventh straight 2-0 start despite missing the postseason a year ago; Plainwell (1-1) rebounded off last season’s Paw Paw loss to still make the playoffs and will look to do so again.  

Schoolcraft 51, Watervliet 30 – This wasn’t as close as Schoolcraft’s one-point win last season, but similarly impressive as the Eagles moved to 2-0 by outscoring the offensively-talented Panthers (1-1).

Cassopolis 33, Mendon 14 – The Rangers (2-0) extended their winning streak over the annually-powerful Hornets (1-1) to two straight to open Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red play. 

Upper Peninsula

Negaunee 14, Calumet 6

The Miners (2-0) sent back at least some of the disappointment left over from falling to Calumet in last season’s Division 6 playoff opener. Negaunee held the Copper Kings to 18 fewer points than in the playoff loss while riding two running backs who both gained more than 100 yards on the ground, and has now beaten Calumet (1-1) in five straight regular-season meetings. Click for more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.

Also noted:

Bark River-Harris 52, Bessemer Gogebic 24 – This could end up a key win in the wide-open but tough Mid-Eastern Conference race; Bark-River Harris (2-0) is the reigning co-champion, but the Miners (1-1) are among additions from the old Great Western Conference.

Newberry 50, Munising 14 – The Indians (2-0) also beat Munising last season before tying with the Mustangs (0-2) for third in the Mid-Eastern standings; Newberry looks like a favorite this time.  

Norway 41, Felch North Dickinson 14 – The Knights (2-0) have equaled last fall’s win total as they seek a first winning season since 2010; North Dickinson is 1-1 and sees Munising next.

Lake Linden-Hubbell 38, L’Anse 14 – The Lakes (2-0) are another Mid-Eastern transplant from the old Great Western Conference, and they continued to gear up by beating a Hornets team (0-2) with three winning seasons over its last four.  

West Michigan

Lowell 21, Rockford 10

These Grand Rapids-area powers hadn’t faced each other since 2012, but Lowell (2-0) now owns wins in all three of their recent meetings. The Red Arrows came back this time from a three-point halftime deficit, which was especially impressive against a Rockford team chomping for a win after having to forfeit in Week 1 because an illness overtook a number of players. Lowell is a major favorite in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White but first must face rival East Grand Rapids this week, while Rockford (0-2) gets Mona Shores before a challenging O-K Red schedule begins. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted: 

Holland Christian 32, Ada Forest Hills Eastern 28 – The Maroons (1-1) got a nice boost as they seek their first winning season since 2009, handing a first regular-season loss since 2014 to reigning Division 4 semifinalist Forest Hills Eastern (1-1)

Muskegon Catholic Central 21, St. Ignace 6 – The Crusaders (2-0) are in midseason form defensively, giving up a combined 12 points over the last two weeks to opponents that averaged nearly 37 in 2015, including a Saints team (1-1) that put up 44 on opening night.

Zeeland West 32, Muskegon Mona Shores 28 – The first two wins have been close for the Dux (2-0, by a combined nine points, but extended a regular-season winning streak going back to Week 3 in 2013; this one ended a Mona Shores regular-season streak that had started in Week 3 of 2014.

Wyoming 38, Comstock Park 7 – The Wolves are 2-0 after going a combined 4-23 over the last three seasons and beat a Comstock Park team (1-1) coming off its sixth straight playoff berth. 


Powers North Central 60, Crystal Falls Forest Park 42

Reigning MHSAA champion North Central (2-0) earned the first of what could be multiple rounds this season with new 8-player force Forest Park, putting up 30 points during the third quarter to move to 15-0 since making the switch from 11-player. The Jets have scored 60 points in both of their games this season, but the Trojans (!-1) became only the second team over the last two seasons to come within 40 points of North Central, and the first to come within 20. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

Also noted:

Cedarville 45, Posen 0 – These Trojans (2-0) split a pair of two-point games last season against Posen (1-1), but left no doubts this time.

Engadine 34, Onaway 12 – The Eagles have had a nice run in 8-player with five straight playoff appearances, and now are 2-0 for the first time since 2012 after handing Onaway (1-1) a first loss.

Lawrence 30, Morrice 18 – No team held Morrice (1-1) under 20 points last season, but the Tigers (2-0) have become known for defense while playing in this high-scoring format.

PHOTO: Okemos defenders stop an Ann Arbor Skyline ball carrier during the Chiefs' 30-6 win Thursday. (Photo by John Johnson.)

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.)