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.)
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“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.
Guillean 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.”
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.
Gribler 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 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 email@example.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.)