Drive for Detroit: Week 3 in Review
September 10, 2012
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Mid-September is not the logical time to announce a league championship has been decided.
But this season, games played during Week 3 eventually may determine at least nine league championships.
A number of results could've been considered the most intriguing – and we've tried to hit all of the possibilities in this week's Drive for Detroit report.
Muskegon 21, Rockford 9
The Big Reds are rivaling Detroit Cass Tech as the most impressive team in the state so far after motoring past Rockford on the legs of a 400-21 rushing yards advantage. Muskegon (3-0) now owns wins over Rockford, Orchard Lake St. Mary and Ohio power Sylvania Southview. The Rams face a 1-2 start for the first time since 1999. But rest assured, Ram Nation: the last time Rockford opened 1-2, it still made the Division 1 Semifinals. Click to read more from the Muskegon Chronicle.
Holland West Ottawa 24, East Grand Rapids 17 – These teams met for the first time since 1983; West Ottawa beat the Pioneers for the first time since 1980.
Muskegon Oakridge 35, Montague 7 – After two straight one-point games between these two, Oakridge won big to take the upper hand in the West Michigan Conference.
Zeeland East 15, Hudsonville 14 – East is off to a 3-0 start again, but the Eagles are 1-2 with those losses by a combined four points.
Grand Rapids South Christian 42, Grand Rapids West Catholic 7 – Beating this 2011 Division 5 Semifinalist, plus losing to Grand Rapids Christian by only 10 in Week 1, makes the Sailors look lined up to challenge Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the O-K Gold.
Pinckney 36, Brighton 14
The Pirates had lost 18 straight to Brighton. In fact, they hadn’t beaten the Bulldogs since 1977 before scoring 29 unanswered points Friday in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West opener. Pinckney is 2-1, just a win off last season’s total and halfway to their best season since 2001. Brighton fell to 1-2. Click to read more from the Livingston Daily.
Alma 14, Freeland 6 – The Panthers opened the Tri-Valley Conference Central season by avenging a loss that kept them from winning a share of the title in 2011.
Grand Ledge 35, Lansing Sexton 8 – The Comets scored more than 30 points for the third straight week and look good to cruise into an Oct. 5 showdown with Lansing Everett that could decide the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title.
Portland St. Patrick 58, Burr Oak 14 – The Shamrocks appear to have struck gold with the 8-player format, averaging nearly 61 points per game during a 3-0 start.
Owosso 25, Haslett 22 – This was arguably Owosso’s most impressive win since 2006 and will help as the Trojans go for a first playoff berth since 2001.
Oxford 34, Farmington Hills Harrison 31 (2 OT)
The Wildcats had lost by an average of 31 points to the Hawks over the last two seasons, their first together in the Oakland Activities Association White. But Oxford (2-1) broke Harrison’s 21-game regular-season winning streak in what has to be considered an upset although both teams made the playoffs in 2011. The Wildcats also beat a 2011 playoff team, North Farmington, in Week 2. Click to read more from NorthOaklandSports.com.
Livonia Churchill 35, Plymouth 31 – Churchill had lost its first four matchups with Plymouth since the start of the KLAA, including 41-0 in 2011.
Warren DeLaSalle 40, Dearborn Fordson 19 – After a loss to one of the best in Ohio, Cleveland St. Ignatius, the Pilots bounced back for a solid win heading into the Catholic League season.
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 21, Utica Eisenhower 7 – The Big Reds avenged a 45-0 shutout from last season to get to 2-1 and only a win shy of last season’s victory total.
Oak Park 34, Rochester Adams 22 – The Knights are 3-0 and equaled last season’s win total; combine this with an opening-weekend win over Detroit East English, and Oak Park is looking good to make some noise in the OAA White.
Thumb and Bay
Frankenmuth 12, Millington 8
The Eagles (3-0) had lost four straight to their rival, and appeared in trouble of making it five after giving up a safety in the fourth quarter. But Frankenmuth recovered an onside kick and scored, and with the win earned an an early upper hand in the Tri-Valley Conference East. Millington fell to 2-1. Click to read more from the Saginaw News.
Capac 12, Almont 7 – The Chiefs avenged a 28-0 loss from 2011 and gained what could be a significant step toward its playoff hopes.
Peck 44, Carsonville-Port Sanilac 13 – The Pirates downed the reigning MHSAA 8-player champion to move to 3-0.
Midland Dow 27, Saginaw 16 – Dow avenged last season’s 18-13 loss and moved to 2-0 in the tough Saginaw Valley Association North.
Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 28, Merrill 14 – The Cardinals needed this one to keep pace in a league that sent five of eight teams, including both of these squads, to the playoffs last season.
Southwest and Border
Schoolcraft 21, Olivet 20
Schoolcraft knocked out two Kalamazoo Valley Association favorites over the last two weeks and at 3-0 is now the team to beat. Olivet led by 10 points during the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold on despite some significant statistical advantages and fell to 2-1. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Battle Creek Harper Creek 35, Sturgis 3 – This was looking like a must-win for the 1-2 Beavers, and turned into an impressive win as well.
Stevensville Lakeshore 21, Portage Northern 14 (2 OT) – This was the best of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference openers, and could have title implications later on.
Blissfield 32, Hudson 13 – The Royals got their first win by avenging a 39-point loss from 2011.
Dowagiac 30, Plainwell 13 – Dowagiac extended its winning streak over Plainwell to seven straight and looks set for another run in the Wolverine B South.
Lower Up North
Traverse City St. Francis 12, Elk Rapids 7
The Gladiators have bounced back well since an opening-night loss to Kingsley, moving to 2-1 against an Elk Rapids team that is likely better than its 1-2 record. The Elks also fell on opening night, to Mancelona, which won 10 games in 2011. With St. Francis not playing in the Lake Michigan Conference this season after winning it a year ago, Elk Rapids could be the team that pushes Grayling for the league title. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Pellston 7, Rogers City 6 – The Hornets made a first-quarter touchdown stand to move to 3-0 for the first time since 1995 and equal their highest win total of the last decade.
Benzie Central 8, Frankfort 6 – This was looking like a bit of a must-win for Benzie Central after an 0-2 start, and is a big first step toward defending the Northwest Conference title.
McBain 19, Manton 14 – The Ramblers stopped a Manton offense that had scored at least 40 points in each of its first two games this season.
Cadillac 44, Petoskey 14 – One of these two has won the Big North Conference every season dating to 2008; Cadillac is the favorite now.
Negaunee 36, Gladstone 34
The Miners (3-0) pushed their winning streak over Gladstone to three straight with this second consecutive win over the Braves by a field goal or less. Negaunee entered the fourth quarter trailing by 14 points, but scored twice during the final six minutes to stay perfect this fall. Gladstone fell to 2-1, but has plenty to be pleased about after finishing winless in 2011. Click to read more from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Crystal Falls Forest Park 13, Hurley 12 – The Trojans avenged last season’s lone regular-season loss and became favorites in the Great Western Conference.
L’Anse 45, Ontonagon 6 – The Purple Hornets eclipsed last season’s win total and moved to 3-0 by beating a team with three straight playoff appearances.
Norway 14, Stephenson 8 – The Knights equaled last season’s win total by moving to 2-1, also by beating a team that is coming off three straight playoff berths.
Eben Junction Superior Central 61, Posen 40 – The 8-player game has proven high-scoring, but this is the first matchup this season to result in more than 100 combined points with the losing team scoring at least 40.
Each week, the MHSAA highlights trophy games around the state. Here's one from Week 3.
- The Wooden Oar Trophy: Fruitport and Spring Lake launched this award last week, dubbing their matchup the Bayou Battle. Final: Fruitport 15, Spring Lake 6.
PHOTO: Traverse City St. Francis' Byron Bullough (5) works to break a tackle by Elk Rapids' Ryan Simpson (57) during Friday's 12-7 Gladiators win. (Click to see more at Terry McNamara Photography.)
Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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:
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.)