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.)

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 25, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 16-19 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.