Drive for Detroit: Week 3 Preview

September 7, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The most difficult part of previewing the state’s top football matchups each week is coming up with an introduction that hits on a common theme for what we can expect from those games – but this week we’ll stick with the obvious.

Every featured Drive for Detroit preview matchup tonight and Saturday pits a pair of undefeated teams whose seasons will hardly be over if they take a loss over the next two days – but who also could be rewarded as victors with some serious momentum as league schedules get underway and the first third of the regular season waves good-bye.

Our weekly previews are powered by MI Student Aid. Find all of our scores as they come in on the MHSAA Score Center, and click on teams off that page for updated standings and playoff points. will broadcast eight games this weekend from across the state – click here for the schedule.

Bay & Thumb

Richmond (2-0) at Croswell-Lexington (2-0), Friday

Richmond has won or shared the Blue Water Area Conference title three of the last four seasons, fending off mostly Algonac and Almont during that time. This could be Croswell-Lexington’s turn to jump into the mix. The Pioneers are coming off two straight playoff seasons and fell to the Blue Devils by only three points in last year’s meeting.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Flint Powers Catholic (2-0) at Bay City Central (1-1), Flint Carman-Ainsworth (1-1) at Davison (2-0), Detroit Country Day (1-1) at Flushing (1-1), Beaverton (2-0) at Gladwin (0-2).

Greater Detroit

Bloomfield Hills (2-0) at Clarkston (2-0), Friday

The Black Hawks have won 11 straight regular-season games, including 28-24 last week over highly-regarded West Bloomfield to open the Oakland Activities Association Red schedule. Now Bloomfield Hills – last season’s OAA Blue champ before switching divisions – gets the reigning OAA Red winner Clarkston and faces a defense that held both Lapeer and Southfield Arts & Technology to seven points apiece over the first two weeks, respectively.  

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Livonia Churchill (2-0) at Livonia Stevenson (2-0), Belleville (2-0) at Dearborn Edsel Ford (2-0), Wyandotte Roosevelt (2-0) at Lincoln Park (2-0), SATURDAY Detroit Catholic Central (1-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (1-1).


Perry (2-0) at Lake Odessa Lakewood (2-0), Friday

This could end as one of the most important nights in Perry football history. The Ramblers are off to the best possible start as they pursue their first playoff appearance, and can take the momentum to an unprecedented level with a win over the reigning Greater Lansing Activities Conference champion. The Vikings won last year’s meeting only 37-32, their closest victory of a perfect league run.  

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Williamston (2-0) at Portland (1-1), Bath (2-0) at Fowler (1-1), Houghton Lake (2-0) at Clare (1-1), East Lansing (1-1) at Grand Ledge (1-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

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

It’s nearly a guarantee this will be the most attended high school game in Michigan this weekend and one of the most highly-attended anywhere this year. These teams meet annually on the field they share to honor military and local first-response personnel in a “Patriot Game,” and they’ll draw 10,000 fans for this long-awaited rematch after Central downed West 10-8 during the regular season and 13-12 in a Division 2 District opener in 2016.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Lincoln Alcona (2-0) at Rogers City (1-1), Indian River Inland Lakes (1-1) at Gaylord St. Mary (2-0), Boyne City (2-0) at Cheboygan (1-1), SATURDAY Elk Rapids (2-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (2-0).

Southwest Corridor

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

The Southwest Michigan Activities Conference West is expected to again be one of the most competitive leagues in the state, and for the fourth straight season these two powers will kick off their league schedules against each other. Last year’s meeting didn’t feature the usual down-to-the-end drama of previous matchups this decade. But both enter tonight with similar wins over Battle Creek Central and the need for a quick upper hand as league mate St. Joseph also has won its first two games this fall.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (1-1) at Watervliet (2-0), Edwardsburg (2-0) at Paw Paw (2-0), Cassopolis (2-0) at White Pigeon (2-0), Plainwell (1-1) at Vicksburg (2-0).

Southeast & Border

Battle Creek Harper Creek (2-0) at Jackson Lumen Christi (2-0), Friday

Lumen Christi tripped up only twice on last year’s march to the Division 6 title – to Grand Rapids West Catholic on opening night and Harper Creek in Week 3 in a 10-point loss that ultimately led to those two sharing the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title. The Titans avenged the first defeat by downing West Catholic two weeks ago – and there’s a great chance again this game will have league title implications.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Petersburg-Summerfield (2-0) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (2-0), Marshall (1-1) at Parma Western (2-0), Napoleon (1-1) at Michigan Center (2-0), Blissfield (1-1) at Ida (2-0).

Upper Peninsula

L’Anse (2-0) at Ishpeming Westwood (2-0), Friday

This one doesn’t feature the usual heavyweights of a top U.P. matchup. But there are some valid reasons for it being the top pick this week. L’Anse, which already has equaled last season’s two wins, has given up 12 points over two games and last week downed a Lake Linden-Hubbell team that didn’t lose a regular season game in 2015 or 2016. Westwood also went only 2-7 last year, and also has given up only 12 points over two games – and if it scores 26 tonight will match its offensive output for all of last season as well.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Lake Linden-Hubbell (0-2) at Munising (1-1), Newberry (1-1) at Bark River-Harris (2-0), Hurley, Wis. (2-1) at Calumet (2-0), Iron River West Iron County (1-1) at Iron Mountain (0-2).

West Michigan

East Grand Rapids (2-0) at Lowell (2-0)

It’s become one of the givens every season: Lowell is going to play a loaded nonconference schedule. The Red Arrows will look to make it two straight 3-0 starts against a Warren DeLaSalle/Rockford/East Grand Rapids trio and after downing the Pioneers 34-7 last fall. But East Grand Rapids also has two wins over notable opponents – annual power Farmington Hills Harrison and 2016 playoff qualifier Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, and the Pioneers surely are aching to take a win from their former league rival for the first time since 2010.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Rockford (1-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (2-0), East Kentwood (2-0) at Hudsonville (1-1), Greenville (2-0) at Cedar Springs (1-1), SATURDAY Grand Rapids West Catholic (1-1) at Zeeland West (1-1)


Camden-Frontier (2-0) at Battle Creek St. Philip (2-0), Saturday

These two met under similar circumstances in Week 4 last season, both undefeated with St. Philip the reigning MHSAA runner-up and Camden-Frontier an upstart quickly gaining respect. The Redskins receive plenty now with a 10-2 record since switching to 8-player, but this will certainly be their first significant test of 2017. Last year’s loss contributed to St. Philip just missing the playoffs; the Tigers are looking strong so far with a win over 2016 semifinalist Wyoming Tri-unity Christian already to their credit.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Crystal Falls Forest Park (1-1) at Stephenson (2-0), Portland St. Patrick (2-0) at Webberville (1-1), Pickford (2-0) at Engadine (2-0), SATURDAY Atlanta (2-0) at Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (1-1).

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: Lowell blasts forward for a touchdown during its win over Warren DeLaSalle in Week 1 at Wayne State University. (Click for more from

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.)