Drive for Detroit: Week 4 Preview

September 19, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

As we cruise into Week 4 of this high school football season, be ready for a few curveballs and change-ups.

For starters: Something just doesn't feel right about not featuring the latest meetings between Detroit Martin Luther King and Cass Tech and Traverse City West and Central, like we have almost every season since beginning these previews in 2012. But other games from those parts of the state are potentially bigger this time around.

Read on for more on many of the matchups that especially stuck out from this week's schedule. Be sure as well to check out this week's schedule featuring 25 games including seven mentioned below. 

And because those two games mentioned above are still going to mean a lot, potentially, here are a few quick notes: The King/Cass winner will move to 2-2 and the loser to 1-3, with the teams likely to meet again in the league playoffs and the loser of that rematch very possibly missing the MHSAA postseason. Both got to 1-2 after playing some of the toughest opening competition of any teams statewide. Meanwhile, the West/Central “Patriot Game” will draw more than 10,000 fans downtown tonight, and the winner will be a frontrunner to win the Big North Conference title. West was the champ and Central second last season thanks to West's 21-14 win of the Trojans.

"Drive for Detroit" is sponsored by MI Student Aid.

Bay & Thumb

Frankenmuth (3-0) at Freeland (3-0)

These two have met six times over the last four seasons, four in nonleague contests and twice in the playoffs, with Freeland holding a 4-2 edge. The realigned Tri-Valley Conference East has them both in the same league this fall and as the only unbeaten teams overall after three weeks (Saginaw Swan Valley also is 2-0 in league play, 2-1 overall). Freeland has pulled out a couple of close games this fall against tough opponents, while the Eagles have won all of their games (against a less imposing group) by at least 29 points – but fell to the Falcons in last year’s Week 9 matchup 15-8.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY New Lothrop (3-0) at Montrose (3-0), Davison (3-0) at Flint Powers Catholic (3-0), Richmond (3-0) at Croswell-Lexington (2-1), Alma (1-2) at Saginaw Swan Valley (2-1).

Greater Detroit

Brighton (3-0) at Plymouth (3-0)

The Wildcats took a nice step last fall after posting sub-.500 records in 2016 and 2017, finishing 6-4. Taking down reigning league champion Brighton to move into first alone in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West would be another jump. Plymouth broke a three-year losing streak against rival Canton with a 15-13 win last week, while the Bulldogs are riding an 11-game regular-season winning streak that includes a 24-7 win over Plymouth last season.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Orchard Lake St. Mary's (3-0) at Walled Lake Western (3-0), Detroit Cass Tech (1-2) at Detroit Martin Luther King (1-2), Birmingham Groves (3-0) at Oak Park (2-1), Clarkston (1-2) at West Bloomfield (2-1), Brownstown Woodhaven (3-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (3-0).


DeWitt (2-1) at Holt (2-1)

The Rams’ rejuvenation has brought relevance to this matchup after the first meeting between these teams ended with a 49-7 Panthers victory a year ago. With solid wins over Caledonia and Hudsonville and a close loss last week to Traverse City West, Holt is projecting early to earn its first playoff berth since 2013. But DeWitt represents a fourth straight tough opponent to start the season, and also a major measuring stick locally as the reigning Capital Area Activities Conference Blue champion and winningest team in the Lansing area since the start of the century.  

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Evart (3-0) at Beal City (3-0), Fowler (3-0) at Laingsburg (3-0), Portage Northern (3-0) at East Lansing (2-1), Williamston (2-1) at St. Johns (2-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Traverse City St. Francis (2-1) at Kingsley (3-0)

This rivalry has been one-sided this decade, with St. Francis winning seven of eight meetings including last year’s during the regular season (43-8) and playoffs (41-20). But there are a few reasons to believe this rematch will be much more competitive. First, last year’s games saw Kingsley break a four-year shutout streak against the Gladiators on the way to finishing 10-2 – after going only 1-8 in 2017. The Stags have won all of their games this fall by at least 27 points. And St. Francis did suffer only its second regular-season loss of the last five seasons, in Week 2 to Maple City Glen Lake – although the defeat is looking better every week as the Lakers remain unbeaten.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Traverse City Central (2-1) at Traverse City West (2-1), Frankfort (2-1) at Maple City Glen Lake (3-0), St. Ignace (2-1) at Johannesburg-Lewiston (3-0), McBain (1-2) at Lake City (1-2).

Southeast & Border

Sand Creek (3-0) at Clinton (3-0)

Clinton has emerged as the early favorite in the Tri-County Conference with recent power Ottawa Lake Whiteford off to a 1-2 start and the Redskins putting up at least 41 points in all three of their games so far. But Sand Creek has gone over 50 twice, and more impressively pulled out a 31-28 Week 2 win over otherwise unscored-upon Adrian Lenawee Christian. The last three games between these two were decided by seven points or fewer. Clinton won the last two including last fall 28-27.  

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Blissfield (2-1) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (3-0), Onsted (2-1) at Hillsdale (3-0), Michigan Center (1-2) at Addison (2-1), Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (1-2) at Pittsford (2-1).

Southwest Corridor

Edwardsburg (3-0) at Vicksburg (3-0)

The reigning Division 4 champion Eddies have run their winning streak to 17 and given up all of eight points this season, those to Dowagiac in Week 1. This is all familiar of course – Edwardsburg has lost only two regular-season games over the last seven years, although the first defeat came to Vicksburg in 2014. Despite finishing just 3-6 a year ago, the Bulldogs did give the Eddies their second-closest game of the entire 2018 season including playoffs with a 38-22 defeat in Week 8 (only Grand Rapids Catholic Central in a two-point Semifinal loss came closer).   

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Lawton (3-0) at Delton Kellogg (3-0), Paw Paw (3-0) at Dowagiac (2-1), Stevensville Lakeshore (2-1) at St. Joseph (3-0), Kalamazoo Central (1-2) at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (0-3).

Upper Peninsula

West Iron County (3-0) at Calumet (3-0)

Coming off what surely will be one of its toughest league games of this season against Ishpeming Westwood, Calumet next gets what should be a strong nonleague challenge in West Iron – even considering the Copper Kings won the same matchup under similar circumstances 43-6 a year ago. The Wykons did go on to finish 8-3, its only other losses both to Ishpeming. A win tonight would give them not only a great measuring stick as they look to match up with another undefeated Hematites team in league play, but also would put West Iron at 4-0 for the first time since 2014.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Marquette (1-2) at Escanaba (3-0), Ishpeming Westwood (1-2) at Ishpeming (3-0), Kingsford (1-2) at Gladstone (2-1), Petoskey (0-3) at Sault Ste. Marie (2-1).

West Michigan

Rockford (3-0) at Muskegon Mona Shores (3-0)

Even with some of their opponents’ struggles, it’s always going to be impressive how Rockford has opened with wins over Grand Rapids Christian, Lowell and Holland West Ottawa. Mona Shores actually was even better this time against early opponents East Kentwood, Bay City Central and Reeths-Puffer than a year ago, when the Sailors also started 3-0 and then went on to beat Rockford 33-14 in Week 4 and eventually finish 12-2 and Division 2 runner-up. The Rams have some added motivation, as reportedly longtime and legendary coach Ralph Munger is slated to return to the sideline for the first time this fall after undergoing heart surgery just before practice began.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Holland Christian (2-1) at Byron Center (3-0), Sparta (3-0) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (2-1), Zeeland West (3-1) at Lowell (2-1), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (2-1) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (1-2).


Climax-Scotts (3-0) at Camden-Frontier (3-0)

While the Panthers’ early run during their inaugural season of 8-player has been impressive, Camden-Frontier might present a next-level challenge. The Redskins have made the playoffs all three seasons they’ve played 8-player, and this fall they’ve sandwiched a nice eight-point win over Burr Oak between 50+ scoring weeks. The last time these teams played, Climax-Scotts won 60-0 in a 2015 11-player game – but it’s a good assumption the move to 8-player for both will prove to be a bit of an equalizer as they meet again.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Suttons Bay (3-0) at Onekama (3-0), Rudyard (2-1) at Brimley (3-0), Colon (3-0) at Burr Oak (2-1). SATURDAY Pickford (2-1) at Eben Junction Superior Central (2-1).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning 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. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Norway quarterback Nathan Paulitch (7) gains several yards during the second quarter of last week's game against Ishpeming before Hematites Ben Pruett (14), Dawson Delongchamp (17) and Tanner Romback (80) catch up to him. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

1st & Goal: 2023 Week 6 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 28, 2023

Five showdowns of undefeated teams highlight this week's Michigan high school statewide schedule as we begin our second-half buildup toward the end of the regular season. 

MI Student AidFour shoud heavily impact league championship races, and the fifth merely will tell us how two more of the top 8-player teams in the entire state stack up among the elite.

If you're not watching in person, check out most of the matchups highlighted below, and several others, on Check in as well with the MHSAA Scores page for all of them as they come in. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)

Bay & Thumb

Croswell-Lexington (5-0) at Almont (5-0) - Watch

Just past halfway through the Blue Water Area Conference schedule, half the teams are 3-1 or 4-0 in league play – with these the co-leaders. Croswell-Lexington hasn’t played a game closer than 19 points this fall, but did lose last year’s meeting with Almont 37-26. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won the last two weeks by seven and one point, respectively – but opened the season with three straight shutouts as the stifling defense they’ve become known for has given up only 34 points total.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (3-2) - Watch, Linden (4-1) at Fenton (4-1) - Watch, Birch Run (4-1) at Freeland (5-0) - Watch, Madison Heights Lamphere (4-1) at Marine City (4-1).

Greater Detroit

Westland John Glenn (5-0) at Belleville (5-0) - Watch

Belleville’s 42-3 victory over Livonia Franklin last week was the team’s 30th straight, and the Tigers now own the state’s longest active winning streak with Powers North Central’s coming to an end at 41 on the same night. Belleville’s next challenger is John Glenn, which under second-year coach Jason Mensing has as many victories this fall as the last two combined and has nearly guaranteed its first winning season since 2014. Mensing guided his former team Ottawa Lake Whiteford through several memorable moments, and this will be the Rockets’ biggest so far under his leadership.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gibraltar Carlson (4-1) at Trenton (4-1) - Watch, Romeo (3-2) at Macomb Dakota (4-1) - Watch, Lake Orion (5-0) at Rochester Adams (3-2) - Watch, Marine City Cardinal Mooney (3-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (3-2) - Watch.


Goodrich (5-0) at Corunna (5-0) - Watch

The winner of this matchup clinches a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship, similar to last season when Goodrich won the league and Corunna was second thanks to the Martians’ 42-7 win in their Week 5 matchup. Both arguably have been even better this fall. Goodrich has handed the only losses this season to Frankenmuth and Linden, and Corunna has given up only 31 points this season and no more than 17 in a game while scoring at least 38 every time out.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Evart (4-1) at Beal City (5-0) - Watch, Grand Ledge (5-0) at DeWitt (2-2) - Watch, Fowler (5-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-1) - Watch, Montrose (4-1) at New Lothrop (4-1) - Watch.

Northern Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix (4-1) at Elk Rapids (2-3)

There’s more riding here than the initial glance my indicate. Charlevoix, with a win, would clinch a share of the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title – its first since 2020 and after finishing second to Boyne City both of the past two seasons. The Rayders haven’t had a game closer than 13 points since falling to Traverse City St. Francis by one in their season opener. Elk Rapids got off to a tough start but has won two straight – both in shutouts – and is looking for its first win over Charlevoix since 2018.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grayling (3-2) at Kingsley (4-1) - Watch, McBain (4-1) at Lake City (3-2), Ludington (3-2) at Manistee (4-1) - Watch, Cadillac (3-2) at Petoskey (3-2) - Watch.

Southeast & Border

Jackson (4-1) at Adrian (4-1) - Watch

Jackson has a chance to set up a Week 7 winner-take-all matchup with Chelsea for the Southeastern Conference White championship – a nice jump after finishing third last season. The Vikings haven’t defeated Chelsea since 2018 but lost by a respectable 17-0 last fall. But they can’t overlook Adrian, still enjoying its best season since 2016 despite falling to Chelsea 28-18 last week. The Maples would love to hand Jackson a loss tonight and cheer for the Vikings next week with a title share possible.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Michigan Center (4-1) at Grass Lake (4-1) - Watch, Flat Rock (4-1) at Milan (3-2) - Watch, Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Saline (5-0) - Watch, Hudson (5-0) at Blissfield (3-2) - Watch.

Southwest Corridor

Parma Western (5-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-1)

We’re halfway through the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference schedule, and this has emerged as an important matchup with Parma Western tied with Hastings for first and Harper Creek only a game back after falling to the Saxons 34-6 last week. The Beavers struggled to 3-6 a year ago but already have avenged 2022 losses to Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central and Marshall – and Western defeated them 34-0 last season before Harper Creek went 2-1 to finish the fall. Western’s defense is a notable strength again, giving up only 37 points total this season despite taking on Dearborn Divine Child and Detroit Country Day over the first two weeks.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-0) at Edwardsburg (3-2) - Watch, Constantine (4-1) at Allegan (4-1) - Watch, St. Joseph (3-2) at Portage Northern (5-0) - Watch, Muskegon Catholic Central (3-2) at Schoolcraft (4-1) - Watch.

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (4-1) at Menominee (5-0)

This is the first of three games that will tell a lot about Menominee’s season as the Maroons enter this stretch alone atop the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper at 4-0 but with Gladstone, Week 7 opponent Negaunee and Week 8 opponent Kingsford all 3-1 in league play. While this is a new conference for the Maroons this season, they have plenty of history with Gladstone as both came from the Great Northern Conference – and Menominee had won three straight in the series before Gladstone’s 28-6 victory last fall. Gladstone’s lone defeat this year came Week 3 to Kingsford, 35-12.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (3-2) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-2) - Watch, Manistique (3-2) at Iron Mountain (5-0) - Watch, Marquette (2-2) at Escanaba (1-4) - Watch, Houghton (2-3) at Calumet (1-4) - Watch.

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at East Grand Rapids (5-0)

We’ve been watching East Grand Rapids’ rejuvenation this fall with this among games circled for special attention, and Forest Hills Central’s 15-14 loss to Byron Center last week hardly lessens the intrigue. The Rangers are still among favorites statewide in Division 3, ranked No. 2, and East Grand Rapids is right behind them this week at No. 3 (while Byron Center is No. 2 in Division 2). The Ottawa-Kent Conference White title won’t be decided with this matchup, but it surely will be impacted – and the Rangers have defeated EGR all three times they’ve met since the Pioneers rejoined the division in 2020.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Allendale (5-0) at Spring Lake (4-1), Lowell (4-1) at Byron Center (5-0), Caledonia (4-1) at Hudsonville (4-1) - Watch, Zeeland East (4-1) at Muskegon (3-2).


Mendon (5-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0) - Watch

Movement on the overall 8-player enrollment list have made this a matchup we’ll see just this once this fall, as Mendon – last year’s Division 2 runner-up – has moved to Division 1 and is ranked No. 2, while Lenawee Christian is top-ranked in Division 2 after winning Division 1 titles in 2020 and 2021 and reaching a Regional Final last year. Still, many 8-player eyes will be watching. The Cougars have given up just 32 points this season and no more than 12 in a game, and that defense should be part of the key matchup within the matchup because Mendon is scoring 52 per contest and coming off an 80-point performance.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Carson City-Crystal (5-0) at Coleman (4-1) - Watch, Brown City (5-0) at Mayville (5-0) - Watch, St. Ignace (5-0) at Newberry (4-1), Norway (4-1) at Ontonagon (4-1) - Watch.

Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning 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. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Muskegon Catholic Central and Orchard View players reach to get a hand on the ball during their meeting this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)