Drive for Detroit: Week 2 in Review

September 5, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

We're only two weeks into this football season, and of course there has been plenty to talk about. 

But our 8-player football divisions experienced a season's worth of highlights over this Labor Day weekend. 

See below for Week 2's most significant results from every region of the state in 11-player football, but also check out the 8-player highlights – which include the first win ever for one team and the first loss in forever for another. 

Bay & Thumb

Bay City Central 22, Midland Dow 21 (OT)

After falling a score short in its opener against Frankenmuth, Bay City Central (1-1) blocked an extra point and then got the game-winner from kicker Austin Welter to beat Dow (1-1) for the first time since 2011 – and after falling to the Chargers both during the regular season and playoffs in 2016. Those two losses last year were by 20 and then 31 points, respectively. Click for more from the Bay City Times.

Also noted:

Algonac 28, Almont 7 – After opening with a big loss to Marine City, the Muskrats (1-1) got a needed bounce-back against another of the Port Huron area’s elite in Almont (1-1).

Freeland 34, Chesaning 25 – The Falcons (2-0) kept their regular-season winning streak intact at 23 straight against an Indians that team opened with a shutout but fell to 1-1.

Flint Powers Catholic 37, Saginaw Heritage 34 (2 OT) – Andrew Simon was another kicking hero as Powers (2-0) won a second straight close game and sent the Hawks to 1-1.

Lake Fenton 21, Montrose 0 – This Genesee Area Conference Red opener was a big one to get out of the way for the reigning champ Blue Devils (1-1), with Montrose (1-1) always in the league title mix as well. 

Greater Detroit

Bloomfield Hills 28, West Bloomfield 24

The “new” Bloomfield Hills burst on the scene with its first winning campaign in 2016, starting 9-0 before falling to West Bloomfield 31-14 in a Division 1 playoff opener. To finish off this avenging, however, the Black Hawks needed to drive nearly the entire field over the final two minutes. Bloomfield Hills now sits 2-0 with both wins by four points or fewer, while West Bloomfield fell to 0-2 with two losses by five points or fewer. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Warren DeLaSalle 31, Grandville 0 – The Pilots (1-1) traveled to face a second straight Ottawa-Kent Conference reigning champion, landing a stunning defeat on last season’s Red co-leading Bulldogs (1-1) after falling to Lowell in Week 1.

Clarkston 17, Southfield Arts & Technology 7 – The Wolves (2-0) have given up 14 points total in two impressive wins, while Southfield A&T might be the best 0-2 team in Michigan after another close loss to a power.

Utica Eisenhower 42, Macomb Dakota 16 – Eisenhower (2-0) ran its streak in this rivalry to three straight after also ending last season for Dakota (1-1) in a District Final.

Gibraltar Carlson 42, Trenton 14 – A week after taking a giant step forward in the Downriver League race with a win over Allen Park, Trenton (1-1) fell for the second straight season to Carlson (2-0), which is coming off a 4-5 finish but won three of its final four games last fall. 


DeWitt 14, Grand Ledge 7

The combination of Grand Ledge’s sizable Week 1 win over Hudsonville, DeWitt’s loss to Grand Rapids Christian and the Comets’ victory in the first game of this quickly-building rivalry last fall makes the Panthers victory all the more impressive. DeWitt held Grand Ledge scoreless until late in the fourth quarter – and to its fewest points in a regular-season game since 2013. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

St. Johns 56, Cadillac 43 – The Redwings (1-1) especially on offense bounced back after scoring 20 in a one-point loss Week 1 to East Lansing; Cadillac (1-1) also put up its highest tally since midway through 2015.

Ionia 35, Hillsdale 14 – This could eventually come into play as Hillsdale (1-1) tries to get back to the playoffs after seeing its 15-year streak end last fall and Ionia (1-1) tries to get in for the first time since 2013.

Lansing Sexton 20, Portland 14 – This provided an exciting preview of Capital Area Activities Conference White matchups to come, as the Big Reds (2-0) are set to join annual favorite Portland (1-1) in that division next year.

Saranac 27, Fowler 21 – The Redskins are 2-0 for the first time since 2011 with a win over Fowler (1-1) also for the first time since that fall. 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City St. Francis 35, Maple City Glen Lake 9

St. Francis enjoyed the debut of Glen Lake’s new artificial turf field by handing the Lakers their sixth straight loss in this rivalry. The Gladiators (2-0) ran their regular-season winning streak to 24 after also beating Glen Lake 35-9 last fall. But Glen Lake would love to repeat history – in 2016 it rebounded and won 10 of its next 11 to reach the Division 6 championship game. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Rogers City 14, Indian River Inland Lakes 7 – Inland Lakes (1-1) got to celebrate last week its first win since 2015, but Rogers City (1-1) ended the fun with its first victory since Week 6 a year ago.

Alpena 27, Sault Ste. Marie 26 – The Wildcats (1-1) stopped a two-point conversion to get a win for the second straight season over the Blue Devils (1-1).

Gaylord St. Mary 28, Newberry 21 (OT) – The Snowbirds are off to a 2-0 start for the second straight season but this time with wins over two teams that made the playoffs the year before; Newberry is 1-1 coming off an 8-3 finish.

Petoskey 14, Escanaba 7 – The Northmen (1-1) got their first win, both equaling last year’s total and avenging last season’s 39-0 defeat to the Eskymos (1-1).

Southeast & Border

Milan 41, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 18

The Big Reds (1-1) didn’t enjoy a great start falling by 20 two weeks ago to Chelsea, but made up for it by avenging last season’s only regular-season loss. That 2016 10-point defeat to St. Mary cost Milan an outright Huron League championship, but this win broke a three-year losing streak against the Falcons (1-1). Click for more from the Monroe Evening News.

Also noted:

Parma Western 32, Battle Creek Pennfield 20 – The Panthers are enjoying their third 2-0 start in four seasons but also went 0-2 a year ago; the Panthers, a playoff team in 2016, now must battle back from a winless start.

Homer 52, Concord 12 – These two and Springport shared the Big 8 Conference title last season, but this big win by Homer (2-0) means Concord (0-2) will need to catch up quickly to stay in the mix.

Reading 34, Springport 7 – Staying in the Big 8, Reading made a statement to move to 1-1 after two straight 3-6 finishes, while Springport (1-1) also finds itself now a win back in its title defense.

Chelsea 10, Pinckney 7 – Chelsea (2-0) scored all of its points over the final few minutes to stun Pinckney (1-1) in the latter’s second game in the Southeastern Conference White. 

Southwest Corridor

Berrien Springs 27, Schoolcraft 14

Defense has been Berrien Springs’ strength in three straight playoff seasons, and the Shamrocks (2-0) earned one of their most impressive regular-season wins in some time by holding Schoolcraft (1-1) to its fewest points since Week 8 of 2014. The Eagles also hadn’t lost a regular-season game in more than two years. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

Also noted:

Climax-Scotts 52, Sand Creek 21 – A week after seeing their 19-game regular-season winning streak end, the Panthers (1-1) started anew by handing a first loss to a Sand Creek team that went 9-2 a year ago.

Delton Kellogg 34, Lawton 21 – Despite starting 1-1, Delton has put up 72 points over two games, with 34 the second-most Lawton (0-2) has given up during the regular season since 2014.

Coldwater 28, Marshall 7 – After losing to Marshall (1-1) by 10 last year and losing out on a share of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title because of that defeat, Coldwater (2-0) has jumped the first obstacle a tough league road.

Richland Gull Lake 10, Portage Northern 9 – The Blue Devils (1-1) have won two games in each of the last two seasons, but now own their first of this fall over a 2016 playoff team in the Huskies (0-2). 

Upper Peninsula

L'Anse 32, Lake Linden-Hubbell 12

Lake Linden-Hubbell (1-1) hadn’t fallen during the regular season since 2014 and hadn’t lost to L’Anse since a 2013 District opener. But the Purple Hornets – 2-0 coming of a 2-7 run last fall – appear to have turned things around as they look to break a three-season playoff drought. Click for more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.

Also noted:

Gwinn 30, Iron Mountain 24 – The Modeltowners (1-1) bounced back from a rough Week 1 defeat to Gladstone to quickly put Iron Mountain down 0-2 after the latter finished 8-3 a year ago.

Calumet 28, Negaunee 21 – This was a nonleague game but a great confidence builder for Calumet (2-0), which went 10-2 last season despite splitting with the Miners (0-2).

Norway 35, Ishpeming 22 – The Hematites (1-1) came out on a roll with a big Week 1 victory, but Norway (2-0) took that momentum away with a second straight win in the series.

Munising 20, St. Ignace 8 – The Mustangs (1-1) struggled to only two wins last season, but handed 2016 Division 8 semifinalist St. Ignace a rare early second loss. 

West Michigan

Lowell 14, Rockford 0

Lowell handed the Rams (1-1) their first shutout since Week 5 of 2014 and scored all the points it needed during the first half to extend its regular-season winning streak to 19. The Red Arrows (2-0) didn’t have a penalty or a turnover in holding an opponent scoreless for the first time since Week 5 of 2015. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Muskegon Catholic Central 31, Frankfort 6 – The Crusaders (1-0) won this rematch of last season’s Division 8 Regional Final by a nearly identical score and remains the only team to have beaten Frankfort (1-1) since 2015.

East Kentwood 21, Orchard Lake St. Mary's 0 – The Falcons (2-0) put themselves into the thick of O-K Red talk with a surprising shutout of the reigning Division 3 champion Eaglets (0-2).

Muskegon Mona Shores 42, Zeeland West 20 – The Sailors moved to 2-0 by avenging last season’s four-point loss to West (1-1), which hasn’t won its first two games for the first time since 2013.

Muskegon 28, Lincolnshire Stevenson (Ill.) 7 – Muskegon traveled to Illinois to avenge its only regular-season loss of 2016, a three-pointer to Stevenson on the way to finishing Division 3 runner-up.


Crystal Falls Forest Park 66, Powers North Central 58 (OT)

The Trojans (1-1) can argue they were the second-best 8-player team in the state last year, losing twice to North Central while giving the Jets their toughest games. Forest Park now also can boast that it handed North Central (1-1) its first 8-player loss, ending the Jets’ winning streak at 27 since making the switch in 2015. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Also noted:

Deckerville 52, Lawrence 0 – The Eagles (2-0) have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 94-6, with this especially impressive against a Lawrence program that is 37-8 since moving to 8-player in 2013.

Atlanta 28, Fife Lake Forest Area 18 – Two weeks ago, Atlanta won its first game since 2014; on Thursday it moved to 2-0 for the first time since 1992 against a Forest Area team that is 1-1 but was 7-3 in 2016.

Rapid River 50, Eben Junction Superior Central 42 (2OT) – Combined with Forest Park’s win over North Central, Rapid River (2-0) looks like the team to beat in the Western Eight Conference after surviving Superior Central (0-2) and beating the Trojans in Week 1.  

Bear Lake 44, Baldwin 28 – The Lakers (1-1) earned their first win ever in handing Baldwin (1-1) its first loss since moving from 11-player before this season. 

PHOTO: A Newberry ball carrier is chased by Gaylord St. Mary defenders during the Snowbirds' overtime win Friday. (Photo by Jeff Rochefort.)

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.)