Drive for Detroit: Week 4 in Review

September 21, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

If Week 4 was an indication, there will be a few new leaders of their packs by the end of this football regular season. 

This weekend's highlights included the end of one of the most impressive league winning streaks in the state, a few more headlining upsets and the emergence of a handful of other teams that haven't made the "Drive" in a few seasons. 

Bay & Thumb

Midland 21, Mount Pleasant 14

Five of the last six meetings between these Saginaw Valley League Red rivals have been decided by eight points or fewer, with Midland running its streak to three straight over the Oilers. Both are considered playoff contenders this fall, lining up potentially in Division 2 – and if that happens, it’s a strong possibility they could meet again. The Chemics (4-0) also equaled last season’s win total, while Mount Pleasant fell to 3-1. Click for more from the Midland Daily News.

Also noted:

Sanford Meridian 32, Clare 10 – After falling to Clare (1-3) by only two points a year ago, Meridian (4-0) this time ended the Pioneers’ 33-game Jack Pine Conference winning streak that went back to 2010.

Flint Beecher 26, Goodrich 9 – The reigning champion Bucs (4-0) are in the Genesee Area Conference Red driver’s seat again after downing last season’s league runner-up, Goodrich (2-2).

Flint Powers Catholic 10, Davison 0 – After falling to Flushing on opening night, the Chargers (3-1) have given up seven points total in three games, with Davison (2-2) the second to be held scoreless.

Ubly 36, Marlette 12 – The Bearcats equaled their win totals of each of the last two seasons in moving to 3-1 for the first time since 2011, while beating Marlette (3-1) for the first time since 2012.

Greater Detroit

Warren DeLaSalle 30, Birmingham Brother Rice 6

Reigning Division 2 champion DeLaSalle (3-1) had fallen to Brother Rice by seven points or fewer both of the last two seasons, but got past the Warriors for the first time since 2011 to start the Detroit Catholic League schedule off with a key victory. The Warriors (1-3) had three losses combined from 2012-14, but also opened this fall with three tough out-of-state opponents. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

Also noted:

Lincoln Park 18, Wyandotte Roosevelt 15 – The Railsplitters (3-1) are for real, this week equaling last season’s win total to tie for their best finish already since 2005, while downing annual Downriver League contender Roosevelt (3-1).

St. Clair Shores South Lake 34, Clinton Township Clintondale 8 – The Cavaliers (4-0) continued their nice comeback from 2-7 a year ago and can now circle Oct. 16 against Madison Heights Madison as the possible decider in the Macomb Area Conference Silver, although Clintondale (3-1) remains in the chase facing Madison the week before.

Dearborn Heights Robichaud 49, Redford Thurston 21 – Playoff regular Thurston (2-2) presented a new league challenge to Robichaud (4-0), but not enough as the Bulldogs moved to 2-0 in the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue.

Plymouth 24, Livonia Churchill 16 – The Wildcats (3-1) owed this rival some big payback after last season’s 42-0 loss to the Chargers (2-2) that broke a string of three straight games between the two decided by a touchdown or less.


Portland 28, Lansing Catholic 6

Consider Portland’s comeback complete. Not only the Raiders beat their third 2014 playoff team already this fall, and not only did they equal last season’s win total after just four games. But Portland (4-0) also took a major step ahead in the Capital Area Activities Conference White, downing the reigning Division 5 runner-up and holding the usually high-powered Cougars (3-1) to their fewest points since 2009. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Brighton 35, Grand Blanc 12 – The Bulldogs (4-0) also equaled their win total from last season, beating Grand Blanc (3-1) during the regular season for the first time in their seven recent meetings as part of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association.

St. Johns 34, Haslett 32 – The Redwings (3-1) just keep looking more impressive and held off a late charge by Haslett (3-1) to become DeWitt’s biggest obstacle in the CAAC Red.

Lake Odessa Lakewood 61, Stockbridge 42 – There were few defensive stops as Lakewood (4-0) not only equaled its 2014 win total but pulled into lead position ahead of the Panthers (3-1) in the Greater Lansing Activities Conference.

Jackson 35, Lansing Sexton 34 – The Vikings (3-1) bounced back from last week’s seven-point loss by beating Sexton (0-4) for the first time since 2006; the Big Reds’ defeats this season are by a combined 24 points.  

Northern Lower Peninsula

Alpena 21, Cadillac 18

Alpena (2-2) has had its share of football struggles over the last decade, but is showing signs of a team on the rise – including this first win over Cadillac since 2007. The Wildcats opened with two losses by 14 and then nine points, respectively, but are 2-0 in the Big North Conference for the first time since their last playoff season of 2004. Cadillac (0-4) owns two three-point losses this season, contributing to its toughest start since 2003 – but could make a run to the finish and hope to reach the postseason at 5-4. Click for more from the Alpena News.

Also noted:

Boyne City 55, Kingsley 28 – The Ramblers (4-0) gave up their most points this season but also scored their most since Week 9 of 2014 against a Kingsley team (2-2) that hadn’t given up more than 14.

Grayling 48, Charlevoix 36 – The Vikings (3-1) pulled within a win of matching last season’s success by extending their streak over the Red Rayders (2-2) to seven straight.

Hillman 22, Rogers City 6 – While never in the same division of the North Star League, this two have played each other for 12 consecutive years; the Tigers (3-1) made it five in a row over Rogers City (2-2), which opened the series with seven straight wins.

Traverse City Central 28, Whitehall 21 – The Trojans (4-0) continued their surge, following up a close win over rival West last week with an impressive victory over previously-undefeated Whitehall (3-1). 

Southeast & Border

Brooklyn Columbia Central 21, Hudson 0

The Golden Eagles (4-0) have made a 180-degree turn from last season’s 0-6 start, which included a 43-7 loss to Hudson. Columbia Central won a combined seven games over the last three seasons but looks like the favorite in the Lenawee County Athletic Association after downing the reigning champion Tigers (2-2) and also 2014 runner-up Hillsdale in Week 3. Click for more from the Brooklyn Exponent.

Also noted:

Manchester 23, Grass Lake 13 – The Dutchmen (3-1) have taken control of this Cascades Conference rivalry with three straight wins over the Warriors (2-2).

Petersburg-Summerfield 38, Ottawa Lake-Whiteford 18 – The Bulldogs (3-1) succeeded in bouncing back quickly after losing last week to Morenci, and now will root for Whiteford (3-1) to beat Morenci in Week 7.

Monroe 41, Ann Arbor Skyline 6 – The Southeastern Conference Red is loaded this fall, making this a key win for the Trojans (3-1) over improved Skyline (2-2).

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 27, New Boston Huron 7 – The Falcons (4-0) could be headed for a second straight Huron League title after beating New Boston Huron (2-2), last season’s runner-up.

Southwest Corridor

Berrien Springs 7, Cassopolis 0

This matchup of former Lakeland Conference rivals might turn out to be a meeting between eventual Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference champions. Berrien Springs scored near the end of the first quarter, and hung on through a weather delay to hand Cassopolis (3-1) its first loss. The Shamrocks (4-0) are one of four teams in the BCS White, while the Rangers are one of four in the BCS Red and frontrunners in that league thanks to a Week 2 win over Mendon. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

Also noted:

Stevensville Lakeshore 28, St. Joseph 14 – Lakeshore (3-1) remains in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference West race thanks to this win, necessary after a one-point loss to Portage Central in Week 3; St. Joseph (3-1) gets Portage Central in Week 9.  

Hartford 32, Gobles 29 – The Indians (1-3) struggled at the start this season, but handed Gobles (3-1) its first loss of the fall.

Edwardsburg 26, Paw Paw 6 – The new-look Wolverine B Conference is filled with contenders, but Edwardsburg (4-0) remains at the top after downing playoff regular Paw Paw (2-2).

Battle Creek Lakeview 48, Mattawan 14 – After two straight losses and with two tough league crossovers ahead, the Spartans (2-2) needed a stand against a Mattawan team (2-2) in a similar spot.

Upper Peninsula

Newberry 31, Munising 14

It's early, of course. But at 3-1 and with a win over Munising, Newberry could be setting up for its best season in more than a decade. The Indians will have a tough time winning the Mid-Eastern Conference after losing to Bark River-Harris in Week 3, but are two wins off last season’s total and haven’t won six games since 2005. The Mustangs (3-1), last season’s Division 8 runners-up, had won 17 straight regular-season games and can create an interesting scenario at the top of the league standings when they face Bark River-Harris in Week 7.

Also noted:

Marquette 28, Escanaba 21 – The Redmen (1-3) loaded their nonleague slate and got off to a tough start, but are in first in the Great Northern Upper Peninsula Conference with Escanaba (2-2) dropping its second straight.

Crystal Falls Forest Park 28, Felch North Dickinson 20 – The Trojans (2-2) have had three games decided by eight points or fewer, and this was the first in their favor; it also dropped the Nordics to 1-3.

Negaunee 28, Iron Mountain 14 – Negaunee (4-0) avenged a three-point loss to the Mountaineers (2-2) from last season to move to 2-0 in the Mid-Peninsula Conference.

Ishpeming 46, Ishpeming Westwood 6 – The Hematites (4-0) continue to own this rivalry with 20 straight wins over the Patriots (2-2). 

West Michigan

Zeeland West 38, Comstock Park 28

This was one of the most challenging wins of the Dux’ 20-game regular-season winning streak, and certainly a different story than last season’s 57-7 win over Comstock Park. The Panthers (3-1) jumped out to a two-touchdown lead before the punishing running game and defense caught stride for West (4-0). Both are favorites in their divisions of the Ottawa-Kent Conference, with play beginning this week. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Muskegon Mona Shores 30, Caledonia 7 – The offense gets the praise, but the defense definitely was most impressive in this one for the Sailors (4-0), who have given up only 31 points this season; Caledonia (2-2) hadn’t scored in single digits since its last meeting with Mona Shores a year ago.  

Muskegon 56, East Grand Rapids 28 – The Big Reds (3-1) got four touchdowns from quarterback Kalil Pimpleton after the teams were tied 21-21, and the Pioneers (3-1) were unable to keep pace.  

Grand Rapids Christian 24, Zeeland East 20 – While nonleague, this was key for the Eagles (3-1) with the Chix (3-1) one of a number of tough teams dotting the final two thirds of the schedule.

Grand Rapids West Catholic 45, Hudsonville Unity Christian 28 – Handing the Crusaders (3-1) their first loss should provide a nice confidence boost for a West Catholic team (2-2) that had won 23 straight games before dropping two of three to start this fall. 


Cedarville 18, Onaway 12

Few have given Cedarville (3-1) a regular-season challenge during the 8-player era, but Onaway (2-2) didn’t make the move to 8-player until this season – and was a solid 4-5 a year ago playing 11-player in the Ski Valley Conference. Onaway’s other loss this season was to Rapid River – which gave Cedarville its only defeat.

Also noted:

Posen 42, Bellaire 6 – The Vikings (4-0) are looking like contenders in Bridge Alliance Conference after arguably their most impressive win since also beating Bellaire (2-2) in 2013.

Burton Madison 38, Akron-Fairgrove 16 – Madison (2-1), in only its eighth game every of 8-player, handed a first loss this season to the much more experienced Vikings (3-1).

PHOTO: Montrose, on defense, stopped Durand 69-0 on Friday to bounce back from two straight losses and improve to 2-2. 

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)