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. MHSAA.tv 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).

Mid-Michigan

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)

8-Player

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 HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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.)