Drive for Detroit: Week 4 in Review
September 22, 2014
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
A total of 93 teams remain undefeated after the fourth week of this MHSAA football season.
A number of them had to overcome major challenges last week to remain flawless.
Read on for last week's most significant results from every corner of the state, kicked off by a bit of the story behind one of the surprise 4-0 teams of 2014.
Southwest and Border
Vicksburg 25, Paw Paw 20
This wins out as the biggest result from a weekend of many from this part of the state for a few reasons, including its contribution to Vicksburg's overall body of work. The Bulldogs won four games last season and three in 2012, but improved to 4-0 this fall by beating the reigning Wolverine B East champion after beating reigning West champion Edwardsburg a week ago. Paw Paw (3-1) has lost only four regular-season games since the start of 2010. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Edwardsburg 24, Plainwell 22 – The Eddies (3-1) bounced back from a two-point loss to Vicksburg by beating a Plainwell (3-1) team that had outscored its first three opponents by a combined 105-19.
Decatur 28, Gobles 14 – Decatur (4-0) has won 12 straight nonleague games over the last four seasons, including two over the always-solid Tigers (3-1).
Stevensville Lakeshore 17, St. Joseph 7 – The Lancers (4-0) are already starting to separate in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West having now beaten the Bears (3-1) in addition to reigning champion Portage Central in successive weeks.
Coldwater 35, Parma Western 28 – Coldwater is 4-0 for the first time since 1983 and got there by holding off a Parma Western (2-2) team that has lost two games by a combined eight points.
Rockford 28, Hudsonville 27
This was everything it was billed, the Rams winning for the fifth straight time but the matchup returning to “classic” status after a few one-sided contests. Hudsonville (3-1) scored late in the fourth quarter to pull within a point of the lead, but went for a 2-point conversion and the lead – and Rockford (4-0) made the stop. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Grand Rapids West Catholic 35, Hudsonville Unity Christian 21 – Unity Christian (2-2) has impressed early, but West Catholic (4-0) remains the elite of small Class B programs on this side of the state.
East Kentwood 39, Grandville 38 – The Falcons (4-0) are off to their best start since 2004, and Grandville (2-2) is only 11 points over two losses from the same record.
Whitehall 41, Mason County Central 27 – Whitehall (4-0) is off to its best start since 2006 thanks to avenging last season’s 14-point loss to Mason County Central (2-2).
Muskegon 37, East Grand Rapids 7 – Few prepared for league play like Muskegon (4-0), which opened with wins over Detroit Catholic Central, Grand Rapids Christian, Grandville and now the Pioneers (2-2).
Bay and Thumb
Millington 27, Frankenmuth 13
The rivalry remains revved, with Millington ending Frankenmuth’s 17-game Tri-Valley Conference East winning streak and on the Eagles’ home field. Frankenmuth (3-1) had last lost a league game in 2011, also to the Cardinals (4-0). Click for more from The Saginaw News.
Flint Beecher 32, Goodrich 13 – The Bucs (4-0) look like early favorites to push reigning champion Montrose in the Genesee Area Conference Red, although Goodrich (3-1) gets the Rams first, this week.
Coleman 29, Carson City-Crystal 26 – A pair of two-point losses kept Coleman (3-1) from last season’s Mid-State Activities Conference title, making this three-point win over the reigning champion Eagles (3-1) that much sweeter.
Grand Blanc 13, Brighton 10 – The Bobcats (3-1) are off to a great start toward repeating as champions of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West, with Brighton (2-2) last season’s runner-up.
Mount Pleasant 24, Midland 21 – This has turned into a Saginaw Valley Association rivalry, with four of the last five between the two decided by eight points or fewer; Mount Pleasant (3-1) has beaten Midland (2-2) four of those last five.
Ypsilanti Community 20, Chelsea 14
Coming off its first sub-.500 season in the last 16, Chelsea (3-1) has looked so far much more like its usual playoff team self. That makes this arguably the most impressive win of the new Ypsilanti Community’s first two seasons – and gives the Grizzlies (3-1) a nice edge in the tough Southeastern Conference White. Click for more from annarbor.com.
Dearborn Heights Robichaud 36, Saginaw Nouvel 13 – The Bulldogs (4-0) are off to another impressive start as they play for a fourth-straight playoff berth, while Nouvel (1-3) finds itself in a rare position of needing to win out to guarantee a return.
Oxford 21, Lake Orion 14 – What better way for Oxford (4-0) to prepare for reigning Division 1 champion and league favorite Clarkston than by beating last season’s Oakland Activities Association Red co-runner-up Lake Orion (2-2).
Birmingham Brother Rice 28, Warren DeLaSalle 21 – Rival Detroit Catholic Central is up next for Brother Rice (4-0), but the Warriors first had to survive a second-straight close one against the Pilots (3-1).
Warren Michigan Collegiate 20, Detroit University Prep 0 – Not only did the Cougars (4-0) avenge last season’s two-point loss to University Prep (3-1), but they also continued a now three-game shutout streak.
Battle Creek Harper Creek 52, Charlotte 45 (3 OT)
This has been the best game of the four-week history of the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference, with Harper Creek rebounding from a Week 3 loss to league favorite Jackson Lumen Christi by surviving against the Orioles (1-3). Harper Creek (2-2) led by three scores at one point before Charlotte surged back and tied the score with less than a minute left in regulation. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Lansing Everett 42, Holt 41 (OT) – These are two of five Capital Area Activities Conference Blue teams that look capable of making the playoffs, and Everett (2-2) can breathe just a bit easier while Holt (1-3) has its work cut out to stay alive.
Grand Ledge 20, Okemos 7 – The Chieftains (2-2) clearly are improved and another CAAC Blue playoff contender, but Grand Ledge (2-2) remains a step ahead.
St. Johns 42, Mason 21 – This solidified the Redwings (4-0) as DeWitt’s top competition in the CAAC Red, and left Mason (1-3) needing to win out against a manageable group after starting with four strong opponents.
Williamston 32, Eaton Rapids 13 – The Hornets (4-0) are back among the best in the Lansing area, off to their best start since their Finals runner-up season of 2010 after soundly defeating the Greyhounds (2-2).
Negaunee had outscored Iron Mountain (2-2) by a combined score of 64-14 the last two seasons dominating this matchup while the Mountaineers worked through a couple of middling seasons. Iron Mountain looks up to one of the toughest schedules in the U.P., while the Miners (2-2), coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons, must rebound from two straight losses with a tough second half of the schedule looming. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.
Ishpeming 38, Ishpeming Westwood 14 – Make that 17 straight over Westwood (3-1) for the Hematites (4-0), who by way of their eight-game schedule need one more win to become the first team this season to qualify for the playoffs.
Menominee 49, Gladstone 6 – The Braves (3-1) remain off to a strong start, but Menominee (4-0) remains the team to beat in the Great Northern U.P. Conference.
Marquette 24, Escanaba 22 – The Redmen (3-1) kicked off the Great Northern U.P. Conference schedule by breaking a three-game losing streak to the Eskymos (1-3).
Lake Linden-Hubbell 28, Bessemer 20 – The Lakes improved to 3-1 while dropping Bessemer to the same in a battle of 2013 playoff teams.
Lower Up North
Tawas 34, Lincoln Alcona 20
Tawas looked like it might be on the upswing with a 2-1 start after winning a combined five games over the last two seasons. Beating a Lincoln Alcona team that had won 15 straight regular-season games made the point loud and clear. The Tigers (3-1) beat Tawas by 20 in 2013 and 36 points in 2012. Click for more from the Bay City Times.
Petoskey 42, Traverse City West 21 – Despite falling to favorite Cadillac last week, Petoskey (3-1) stayed in the Big North Conference mix by doubling up the Titans (1-3).
Cadillac 41, Alpena 28 – Make that 15 wins in 16 games for Cadillac (4-0), although Alpena (2-2) deserves a mention for its improvement.
Elk Rapids 38, Maple City Glen Lake 12 – Despite a 1-2 start, don’t forget the Elks (2-2), who beat solid Glen Lake (2-1) in impressive fashion.
Hillman 34, Rogers City 32 (2 OT) – The Tigers are figuring out every way to win, now doing so twice by more than 40 points and twice by a touchdown or less; Rogers City (1-3) is better than its record.
Peck 53, Dryden 6
The way both had outscored their first three opponents, this looked like it could be higher scoring. But the reigning MHSAA champion Peck (4-0) impressed as much on defense as offense, scoring at least 48 points for the fourth time this fall while giving up its first score of the season. Dryden (3-1) hadn’t given up a point since opening night. Click for more from the Port Huron Times-Herald.
Deckerville 54, Morrice 26 – The Eagles (4-0) continued to shine against the Orioles (2-2), who playing 8-player for the first time after some success at the 11-player level.
Posen 30, Ewen-Trout Creek 24 – After opening with two losses, Posen (2-2) has bounced back well in pursuit of a second-straight playoff berth.
PHOTO: Mount Pleasant has won four of its last five against Midland, including 24-21 on Friday. (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.)