Drive for Detroit: Week 3 Preview

September 6, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

From Calumet at the top of the U.P. to Michigan’s southern border, tonight’s weather is forecast as ideal for high school football.

And there are plenty of matchups to match.

It’s only the third week of the season, of course, but we could look back at this as the week that decided some of the state’s most high-profile league titles – and previewed some of the most anticipated playoff matchups down the road.

Games below are tonight unless noted; there also are 11 games Saturday featuring Michigan teams. Check out the MHSAA Score Center for the full schedule and results as games are completed. will broadcast nine games tonight, including three noted below.

“Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid.

Bay & Thumb

Saginaw Swan Valley (2-0) at Freeland (2-0)

The Vikings’ early schedule is loaded; they opened with a 21-12 win over Cedar Springs (7-4 last season) and last week won 56-20 over Frankenmuth (12-1 in 2017). Now the reigning Division 5 runner-up gets Tri-Valley Conference Central rival Freeland, which has made the playoffs 10 straight seasons and fell to Swan Valley only 21-14 a year ago. The Falcons are off to a nice start as well with a three-point victory over Marshall and 23-pointer over Carrollton that avenged last season’s District loss.  

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Davison (2-0) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (2-0), Ubly (2-0) at Sandusky (2-0), Flint Hamady (2-0) at Flint Beecher (1-1), Carrollton (1-1) at Millington (1-1).

Greater Detroit

Farmington Hills Harrison (2-0) at Oak Park (2-0)

Many eyes are on Harrison as the 18-time MHSAA champion plays its final season before the school closes next spring. This matchup could determine if the Hawks are league champions one more time; last year, Harrison split the Oakland Activities Association White title with both Oak Park and Birmingham Groves. Oak Park beat Groves last week and Utica Eisenhower in Week 1 and will present the Hawks’ their first major challenge after back-to-back 41-0 victories. Harrison won last year’s meeting 17-14.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (2-0) at Utica Eisenhower (1-1), St. Clair (1-1) at Madison Heights Madison (2-0), Canton (1-1) at Plymouth (2-0), Sterling Heights Stevenson (2-0) at Romeo (1-1).


Grand Ledge (0-1) at East Lansing (2-0)

East Lansing is regarded as one of the intriguing teams emerging early from the capital area, especially after avenging a 2017 loss by defeating Dearborn Divine Child on the road last week. Grand Ledge had to replace a giant senior class this fall and opened with a loss to Hudsonville before a bye in Week 2 – but the Comets are still three-time reigning Capital Area Activities Conference Blue champions. East Lansing shared that title in 2016, and tonight could show itself to be the biggest obstacle to newcomer DeWitt becoming the next league champion.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Williamston (2-0) at Fowlerville (2-0), Lansing Sexton (0-2) at Portland (2-0), Harrison (1-1) at Clare (2-0), Leslie (1-1) at Lake Odessa Lakewood (1-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Alpena (2-0) at Gaylord (2-0)

These two have played in the Big North Conference together for nearly two decades, but it’s been a long time since this matchup potentially meant this much. Alpena is 2-0 for the first time since 2004 – the last time it won more than four games in a season – and got here in part with a Week 1 win over 2017 Division 4 semifinalist Escanaba. Gaylord opened at Lansing Sexton and came back with a win and then went to 2-0 last week by beating a Gladstone team that like the Big Reds also made the playoffs a year ago. Gaylord, which last made the postseason in 2015, has won four of the last five against the Wildcats.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Traverse City St. Francis (2-0) at Benzie Central (2-0), Kingsley (2-0) at Grayling (1-1), Lake City (2-0) at McBain (1-1), Beaverton (1-1) at Houghton Lake (1-1).

Southeast & Border

Ida (2-0) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (2-0)

A loss to Columbia Central foiled Ida’s attempt at a league title three-peat last season, and both were among four teams to represent the Lenawee County Athletic Association in the playoffs. Last week’s 28-22 win over reigning two-time Genesee Area Conference Red champion Lake Fenton was a good sign the Bluestreaks will be back in the mix. Columbia Central’s Week 1 shutout of reigning Cascades Conference co-champion Napoleon means the Eagles will be there too – with tonight playing a big part in how the rest of the LCAA race unfolds.  

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Reading (2-0) at Concord (2-0), Hudson (2-0) at Dundee (2-0), Coldwater (1-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (2-0), Addison (1-1) at Michigan Center (2-0).

Southwest Corridor

Portage Central (1-1) at Portage Northern (2-0)

Kalamazoo Central took some bite out of this rivalry matchup last week by handing Portage Central an unanticipated 30-14 defeat. But there’s still plenty of story here. Portage Northern has its own stadium for the first time after 53 years of playing home games at Portage Central, and is coming off avenging a 2017 loss by shutting out Stevensville Lakeshore last week. Central has beaten Northern in four straight, and ending that streak would be a memorable way for the Huskies to celebrate their new home.  

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Paw Paw (2-0) at Edwardsburg (2-0), Three Oaks River Valley (2-0) at Martin (1-1), Fennville (2-0) at Delton Kellogg (2-0), Mattawan (2-0) at St. Joseph (1-1).

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming Westwood (2-0) at Calumet (2-0)

The Patriots are making it difficult to focus elsewhere in the Upper Peninsula. They’ve followed up a school record nine wins in 2017 with a pair this fall including 34-7 last week over Iron Mountain. But Westwood should receive its toughest challenge yet from Calumet, a playoff team 12 of the last 13 seasons. This will be the first meeting between the teams; they also are in a league for the first time, as two of the contenders in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference “large school” division.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Norway (2-0) at Ishpeming (2-0), Gladstone (1-1) at Menominee (0-2), Hancock (2-0) at Negaunee (0-2), SATURDAY Detroit Loyola (2-0) at Escanaba (1-1).

West Michigan

Holland West Ottawa (2-0) at Rockford (1-1)

West Ottawa’s record-setting 2017 included its first win over Rockford since 2002 and then a second defeat of the Rams in a Division 1 District Final. The Panthers are off to another great start, following last season’s 10 victories with two more against Stevensville Lakeshore and last week by a point over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Rockford opened with a loss to Illinois power Wilmette Loyola, but bounced back in a big way with a 36-0 shutout of Lowell – no doubt picking up momentum to carry into this highly anticipated rematch.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Hudsonville (2-0) at Grand Haven (2-0), Zeeland East (2-0) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (1-1), Manistee (2-0) at Ludington (2-0), Muskegon (2-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-1).


Pickford (2-0) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (1-1)

Pickford’s only loss last season came by two points to Forest Park in an 8-Player Division 2 Semifinal – Forest Park went on to win the championship game by 42. The Panthers have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 114-7 and meet a Forest Park team this time that was stunned by Eben Junction Superior Central in their opener but bounced back with a big win against Carney-Nadeau. These two aren’t in the same league, so this doesn’t mean anything to those hopes – but it definitely could be a preview of a postseason rematch of much significance.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Morrice (2-0) at Mayville (2-0), Camden-Frontier (2-0) at Portland St. Patrick (2-0), Battle Creek St. Philip (2-0) at Webberville (2-0), Bellaire (1-1) at Onekama (2-0).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews and reviews 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 Grand Blanc ball carrier works against the Saginaw Heritage defense during the Bobcats' 27-20 win last week over the Hawks. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.