Drive for Detroit: Week 3 Preview

September 8, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

If Week 2 of the Michigan high school football season was loaded with matchups anticipated statewide, this week is just about the opposite – these games matter just as much, but it will likely take a few weeks to find out how they will impact the rest of this fall.

A pair of reigning MHSAA champions and a pair of neighbors who share a stadium are among highlighted matchups in this week’s Drive for Detroit preview, powered by MI Student Aid

But many of the other intriguing games feature teams off to quick starts for the first time in a while and still working to prove they’ll be in the mix at the end after showing that potential during the season's first two weeks.

Bay & Thumb

Lake Fenton (2-0) at Flint Beecher (2-0)

Although neither of these teams was among co-champions of the Genesee Area Conference Red last season, they’re annually among teams to beat in that league – and so far that looks to be the case again this fall. Beecher – which downed Lake Fenton 27-26 a year ago – has outscored its first two opponents by a combined 59-0. The Blue Devils’ early stretch has been tougher, but last week’s 18-14 win over 2015 playoff qualifier Olivet makes their start arguably more impressive as well.

Others that caught my eye: Ortonville Brandon (2-0) at Fenton (0-2), Detroit Loyola (1-1) at Marine City (0-2), Harbor Beach (1-1) at Reese (2-0), Croswell-Lexington (2-0) at Richmond (1-1).

Greater Detroit

Northville (2-0) at Walled Lake Western (2-0)

Last week’s 33-30 win over Canton gave Western 15 straight regular-season victories, and quarterback Cody White is one of the most discussed players across the state – he threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 119 and two against the Chiefs. But Northville also was perfect during the regular season in 2015 and is coming off two similarly impressive wins over Dearborn and Brighton to kick off this fall.

Others that caught my eye: Southfield Arts & Technology (1-1) at Birmingham Groves (2-0), Dearborn Fordson (2-0) at Belleville (1-1), Detroit East English (1-1) at Detroit Central Collegiate (1-1), Oxford (1-1) at Clarkston (1-1).

Mid-Michigan

Fowlerville (2-0) at Portland (2-0)

Most seasons, Williamston/Lansing Catholic would be the game to see, or one of them, in the Capital Area Activities Conference White. But Fowlerville’s best start since 2009 is providing a spark of anticipation for a program that won a lot during the 1990s and 2000s – and quarterback Nick Semke (166 yards/4 TDs rushing, 201 yards/2 TDs passing) is another reason to be interested. All of that said, Portland is coming off a 40-0 win over annual playoff team Hillsdale and riding its typical tough running attack, led by one of the Lansing area’s best in Logan Lefke.

Others that caught my eye: Williamston (1-1) at Lansing Catholic (2-0), Lake Odessa Lakewood (2-0) at Perry (1-1), Mason (2-0) at St. Johns (0-2), Laingsburg (2-0) at Dansville (1-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City West (2-0) vs. Traverse City Central (2-0) at Thirlby Field

These rivals will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the split of old Traverse City High with a Patriot Game (see story on Second Half) and one of the most anticipated matchups in this rivalry since it began in 1997. West is off to its first 2-0 start since 2004, having stunned Midland on opening night by 28 points and come back with another 28-point win over Grand Haven. Central, which has beaten West in two straight, didn’t lose a regular-season game last season and outscored Bay City Western and Marquette by a combined 86-20 over the first two weeks.

Others that caught my eye: Cheboygan (1-1) at Boyne City (0-2), Rogers City (1-1) at Lincoln Alcona (1-1), Oscoda (1-1) at Whittemore-Prescott (2-0, East Jordan (2-0) at Central Lake (1-1).

Southeast & Border

Adrian Madison (2-0) at Clinton (2-0)

Reigning Division 6 runner-up Clinton is a powerhouse, with a combined record of 45-4 over the last four seasons and two comfortable wins this fall to extend its regular-season winning streak to 38. But Madison has earned the opportunity to hope; the Trojans gave Clinton arguably the latter’s best regular-season game last season before falling 37-21 and are off to their first 2-0 start since 2013. Madison hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009, and not finished above .500 since that fall, but starts the Tri-County Conference schedule having reversed a one-point 2015 loss to Onsted with a one-point win last week.

Others that caught my eye: Brooklyn Columbia Central (2-0) at Hudson (2-0), Hillsdale (1-1) at Dundee (1-1), East Lansing (1-1) at Jackson (1-1), Grosse Ile (2-0) at New Boston Huron (2-0).

Southwest Corridor

Stevensville Lakeshore (2-0) at Portage Central (2-0)

The narrative here hasn’t changed much over the last few seasons; one of these two has won the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West championship every year over the last four. Portage Central beat Lakeshore 7-6 last season and has won 16 of its last 17 regular-season games since losing to the Lancers by three in 2014. Both have romped to start this fall, Central outscoring its opponents 77-8 and Lakeshore 82-34.

Others that caught my eye: Jackson Lumen Christi (1-1) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (2-0), Portage Northern (1-1) at St. Joseph (2-0), Dowagiac (1-1) at Three Rivers (1-1), Kalamazoo Central (0-2) at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (0-2).

Upper Peninsula

Bark River-Harris (2-0) at Newberry (2-0)

Bark River-Harris has enjoyed a rejuvenation going a combined 16-6 over the last two seasons and sharing the Mid-Eastern Conference title in 2015. Is Newberry next to make a jump? The Indians have been building with two playoffs appearances after a series of sub.-500 seasons and opened this fall with 30+ point wins over Harbor Springs and Munising. Either way, this should be entertaining – the teams scored 90 points between them as the Broncos won 56-34 last year.

Others that caught my eye: Iron Mountain (2-0) at Iron River West Iron County (1-1), Gaylord (1-1) at Escanaba (2-0), Johannesburg-Lewiston (1-1) at St. Ignace (1-1), Gladstone (1-1) at Negaunee (2-0).

West Michigan

Zeeland West (2-0) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (2-0)

It’s a rare treat when two reigning MHSAA champions match up, and there will be plenty of star power when reigning Division 4 winner Zeeland West faces the returning Division 5 champion Falcons. It’s been new coach, same story for West Catholic, which opened by avenging last year’s loss to Jackson Lumen Christi and has won 13 straight. Zeeland West has won 40 of its last 41 games and started this fall beating a pair that went a combined 16-5 a year ago.

Others that caught my eye: Hudsonville (2-0) at East Kentwood (2-0), Lowell (2-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-1), Grand Rapids Christian (2-0) at Wyoming (2-0), Muskegon Mona Shores (1-1) at Rockford (0-2).

8-Player

Waldron (2-0) at Portland St. Patrick (2-0) on Saturday

The Spartans posted their best finish, 8-2, as an 8-player team last fall after breaking a four-game losing streak to the Shamrocks with a 32-24 victory in Week 3. The offense that put up 46 points per game in 2015 is still rolling and scored 90 over the last two weeks. But St. Patrick has put up a combined 104 points in its first two games and no doubt has been circling this one as it looks to return to MHSAA title contention.

Others that caught my eye: Rapid River (1-1) at Webberville (2-0), Engadine (2-0) at Pickford (2-0).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: A Hudsonville receiver pulls in a catch and begins to break away from Holt defenders during the Eagles’ Week 2 victory. (Photo by Jeremy Sampson.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.

“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”

Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.

“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.

Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.

As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.

He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.

“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.

John GuilleanGuillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.

“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.

Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.

At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.

“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”

Great anticipation

Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.

In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.

Derek GriblerGribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.

“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”

Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.

“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”

In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.

“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.

“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”

Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.

“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”

Big shoes to fill

As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.

Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.

Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.

Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.

“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.

As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”

His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.

He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.

“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”

Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.

“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.

“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at pamkzoo@aol.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)