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. 

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly 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:

8-Player Football

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.)