Drive for Detroit: Week 3 in Review
September 12, 2016
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Streaks are made to be broken, it is said. And that being the case, Week 3 saw plenty of the inevitable all over Michigan high school football fields.
See below for quick details on some of the most intriguing results, including a number of teams adding to their best starts in a number of seasons, and a few breaking streaks by beating opponents for the first time in more than a decade.
Bay & Thumb
Lake Fenton 61, Flint Beecher 14
This round of one of the Flint area’s top rivalries goes to Lake Fenton, which fell to Beecher by a point last year (and 38 in 2014) but is definitely one of a few favorites now in the Genesee Area Conference Red. The Blue Devils (3-0) unloaded their highest point total since 2012, with Beecher giving up its most points since 2004. Click for more from the Tri-County Times.
Alma 26, Saginaw Swan Valley 0 – The Panther's first win over Swan Valley (1-2) since 2011 corresponded with Alma’s first 3-0 start since 2012.
Fenton 28, Ortonville-Brandon 22 – The Tigers (1-2) were looking for a jumpstart as they pursue another Flint Metro League title, but Brandon (2-1) has shown it may be the team to take advantage if Fenton does fall again along the way.
Grand Blanc 42, Plymouth 27 – The Bobcats’ play to get back into the playoffs after two seasons away definitely will get a bump from starting 3-0 for a second straight season; Plymouth must bounce back from 1-2 to keep its three-year playoff streak intact.
Richmond 29, Croswell-Lexington 26 – Reigning Blue Water Area Conference champion Richmond (2-1) needed a late score to get past the Pioneers (2-1) for the fourth straight season.
Clarkston 38, Oxford 7
The Oakland Activities Association Red is sorting itself out quite a bit already this season, with preseason contender Clarkston losing to Southfield Arts and Technology in Week 2. But the Wolves (2-1) stormed back by downing an Oxford team that while 1-2 did open with a win over reigning Division 1 champion Romeo. Clarkston’s top three ground gainers – led by Michael Fluegel and his 114 yards – all averaged at least 7.8 yards per carry. Click for more from the Oakland Press.
Detroit Mumford 26, Detroit Collegiate Prep 14 – A nine-point loss to still-undefeated Detroit U-D Jesuit in Week 1 is looking even better for Mumford, which moved to 2-1 by beating a Collegiate Prep team (0-3) that went 9-1 last fall.
Walled Lake Western 48, Northville 34 – The Warriors’ 3-0 start has now included three wins over 2015 playoff teams, and Northville (2-1) didn’t lose during the regular season last year.
Rochester 38, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 32 (OT) – The Falcons' move to 1-2 gave them as many wins as last season and 2014 as well, and with an impressive one against a Notre Dame Prep team that is 2-1 and went 8-3 last fall.
Dearborn Fordson 34, Belleville 25 – The Tractors (3-0) avenged a six-point loss last season to the Tigers (1-2), who went on to win the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue title while Fordson was among those tied for second.
Bath 17, Fowler 14
Before Friday, Bath coach Matt Stephens was among the few on his sideline who had had football success against Fowler, having quarterbacked Fulton teams that beat the Eagles during the mid-2000s. But his Bees – which won a combined two games over the last two seasons – downed Fowler (2-1) for the first time since 1989 to move to 2-1 this fall. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.
Laingsburg 27, Dansville 20 – The Wolfpack (3-0) broke a four-game skid against the Aggies (1-2), and with the Fowler loss as well suddenly look like the team to challenge favorite Pewamo-Westphalia in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference.
Breckenridge 40, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 34 – After posting a best record in more than a decade in 2014, the Huskies stepped back to winless a year ago; fast forward and they’re 3-0 with a win over a perennial winner in the Irish, who are 0-3 but also started that way on the way to 6-4 last fall.
Eaton Rapids 42, Ionia 41 (OT) – The Capital Area Activities Conference White looks even stronger than usual, which made handing Ionia (2-1) a first loss especially key as Eaton Rapids (2-1) looks to bounce back from 4-5 a year ago.
Mason 31, St. Johns 15 – The Redwings (0-3) may be struggling out of the gate, but that doesn’t take away from a Mason 3-0 start that’s seen its defense give up 22 points total so far.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Traverse City Central 10, Traverse City West 8
As usual, the "Patriot Game" between these neighbors turned into a classic – Central downed West for the third straight season, but four of the last five meetings between these two have been decided by seven points or fewer. Although both entered the game averaging at least 40 points per, defense and turnovers were the narrative at Thirlby Field. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
East Jordan 34, Central Lake 6 – The Red Devils are 3-0 after winning two games last season and none in 2014, and this one was especially impressive with Central Lake (1-2) a playoff team the last two seasons.
Oscoda 22, Whittemore-Prescott 14 (OT) – The Owls (2-1) bounced back from a five-point loss last week against AuGres-Sims to avenge last season’s 27-point defeat to the Cardinals (2-1).
AuGres-Sims 50, Hillman 32 – While this is starting to look like a down season after two straight league titles for the Tigers (0-3), it’s also starting to look like one of offensive outbursts for the Wolverines (3-0), who have scored 128 points.
Roscommon 26, Sanford Meridian 14 – The Bucks have to be enjoying their first 3-0 start since 2000, and especially after downing reigning Jack Pine Conference champion Meridian (1-2).
Southeast & Border
Parma Western 32, Marshall 30
It was only a few seasons ago that Parma Western couldn’t be counted on to do much in a game like this Interstate 8 Athletic Conference opener. But the Panthers (1-2) surely learned something from their early struggles this season as they avenged losses of one and then 28 points over the last two to Marshall (1-2). Parma Western made the playoffs in 2015 for the first time ever, and this nearly was a must-win for the Panthers to do the same this fall. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.
Clinton 28, Adrian Madison 20 – Make that Clinton regular-season win streak 39 straight with another 3-0 start, but Madison (2-1) again gave the Redskins one of the rare tests of this run.
Hudson 26, Brooklyn Columbia Central 14 – The Tigers’ turnaround has thrown them into the conversation again in the Lenawee County Athletic Association, as Hudson (3-0) is now one win shy of last year’s total after beating reigning league runner-up Columbia Central (2-1).
Temperance Bedford 22, Ann Arbor Pioneer 21 – The Mules (3-0) reversed a six-point loss to Pioneer (0-3) last season and have now nearly also reversed last year’s 0-4 start.
Springport 48, Union City 26 – The Spartans are 3-0 for the first time since 2011 and have avenged two of last year’s five losses, handing Union City (2-1) its first defeat after falling to the Chargers by 16 a year ago.
Battle Creek Harper Creek 24, Jackson Lumen Christi 14
The Beavers’ bounce-back season continued as their 3-0 start gives them as many wins as all of 2015, and the victory over Lumen Christi (1-2) was their first since the formation of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference. One game into the I8 schedule, Harper Creek is the only undefeated team in a league with at least four that would scare most area opponents. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Coldwater 17, Battle Creek Pennfield 6 – Reigning I8 champion Coldwater (2-1) kept pace a win behind Harper Creek after falling to Marshall in Week 2; Pennfield also is 1-1 in the league and 2-1 overall.
St. Joseph 27, Portage Northern 23 – This was the sixth straight time the Bears (3-0) and the Huskies (1-2) played to within 10 points of each other, with St. Joseph winning five of the recent nail-biters.
South Haven 28, Plainwell 19 – The Rams have won only three games each of the last two seasons and no more than that since 2008, but are 2-1 having downed a Plainwell team (1-2) that has made the playoffs the last five years.
St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic 20, Niles Brandywine 6 – One of the toughest losses of two seasons of ups and downs for Lake Michigan Catholic was a 57-18 defeat to Brandywine last fall; this one put Brandywine at 1-2 and the Lakers at 3-0 after they won two games total in 2015.
Newberry 48, Bark River-Harris 34
As expected, these Mid-Eastern Conference contenders combined to put up plenty of points. But Newberry (3-0) continued to put up more, running its total to 154 over three games and putting itself in fine position in the league standings by downing the reigning co-champion. Bark River-Harris (2-1) had beaten the Indians in two straight, including 56-34 a year ago. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.
Iron Mountain 48, Iron River West Iron County 21 – The Mountaineers’ great start keeps picking up steam as they’re now 3-0 for the first time since 2011 and with a second straight win over the rival Wykons (1-2).
Ishpeming Westwood 18, L’Anse 16 – The Patriots (1-2) got a much-needed win as they go for a third-straight playoff berth but now head into Mid-Peninsula Conference play; the Purple Hornets (0-3) have a similarly hard road coming up.
Escanaba 27, Gaylord 13 – The Eskymos are 3-0 for the first time since 2010, with Gaylord (1-2) the second straight 2015 playoff team to fall to the Great Northern Conference contenders.
Felch North Dickinson 24, Munising 6 – The Nordics are hoping to climb back to their elite status from the start of this decade, and at 2-1 they’re only a win shy of equaling their total of both of the last two seasons; they’ll meet Munising (0-3) again in Week 6.
Zeeland West 38, Grand Rapids West Catholic 22
The battle of reigning MHSAA champions went to the Division 4 winner, as West (3-0) continued its 28-game regular-season winning streak with one of its most impressive over a run that’s been especially stellar this fall. Adding in the reigning Division 5 champion Falcons (2-1), West has beaten teams that went a combined 28-7 in 2015. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Leroy Pine River 34, Beal City 7 – The Bucks (2-1) had last beaten Beal City (1-2) in 2000 and have helped the always-powerful Aggies to their toughest start since that year.
Lowell 34, East Grand Rapids 7 – Even when it’s not much of a game, Lowell (3-0) taking on East Grand Rapids (1-2) is still going to be a game of statewide interest.
Rockford 37, Muskegon Mona Shores 23 – The Rams’ 21-season playoff streak got a needed jolt; beating Mona Shores (1-2) is a much better way for Rockford (1-2) to enter the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red schedule.
Hamilton 34, Zeeland East 21 – The Hawkeyes (3-0) are soaring after winning a combined four games over the last three seasons; handing annually-strong East (2-1) a loss makes the start even more impressive.
Rapid River 36, Webberville 34 (OT)
Rapid River made a long drive south for one of the most intriguing nonleague matchups of the 8-player season and headed back across the bridge at 2-1 after edging the home Spartans in overtime. Webberville had given up only 26 points over its first two games. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.
Engadine 42, Pickford 32 – The Eagles also are 3-0 for the first time since 2011 after finding openings in a Pickford defense that had given up only six points over its first two games of a 2-1 start.
Owendale-Gagetown 70, Flint International Academy 50 – No team statewide is scoring like the Bulldogs (3-0), who went over 70 points for the second straight week – although first-year Flint International (1-2) scored the most O-G has given up since 2013.
PHOTO: A Breckenridge ball carrier works to beat a Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart defensive player to the goal line during the Huskies' Week 3 win. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
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.)