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.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)