Drive for Detroit: Week 4 in Review
September 19, 2016
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
A pair of game-winning field goals. Gutsy calls to go for two. Three significant streaks broken and a pair of MHSAA records set, and on top of it all a scene to draw a tear from even the most macho fan.
What more could we ask for from one weekend of high school football?
Our Week 4 review touches on a lot of these stories and more. But also check out this Observer & Eccentric piece how two teams came together to make a special night for Novi's "hydration engineer" and his mother, who is fighting cancer for the second time. A piece by WXYZ-TV also is at the bottom of this report.
Bay & Thumb
Freeland 12, Alma 6
The Falcons (4-0) added to a 16-game regular-season winning streak and kept hold on their lead in the Tri-Valley Conference Central, but just barely thanks to a defense that locked down an Alma offense that averaged 36 points per game over its first three. Freeland had three interceptions to stay ahead of the Panthers, who have given up only 26 points on the year. Click for more from the Midland Daily News.
Croswell-Lexington 48, Almont 28 – The Pioneers (3-1) are a three-point loss to Richmond from perfection, but are keeping themselves in the Blue Water Area Conference conversation thanks to this win over Almont (2-2).
Flint Carman-Ainsworth 41, Flint Powers Catholic 7 – A tough opening schedule made it tough to gauge the Cavaliers (2-2), but downing Powers (2-2) said plenty and kept them undefeated in the Saginaw Valley League Blue.
Midland 31, Mount Pleasant 28 – Gavin Archbold drilled a 40-yard field goal as the final seconds ticked off the clock to give Midland (3-1) the edge over the Oilers (1-3) in a series that has seen the last five games decided by eight points or fewer.
Montrose 29, Flint Beecher 15 – What’s generally a three-team race in the Genesee Area Conference Red now has two favorites with Montrose (3-1) and Lake Fenton both downing Beecher (2-2) over the last two weeks.
Farmington Hills Harrison 28, West Bloomfield 0
Harrison (3-1) avenged last season’s Week 9 loss by dealing West Bloomfield (2-2) its first shutout since 2010. Both could emerge as eventual league champions; Harrison is 2-0 in the Oakland Activities Association White, and the Lakers have two strong opening wins in the OAA Red. Click for more from the Detroit Free Press.
Birmingham Brother Rice 13, Warren DeLaSalle 3 – The Warriors (3-1) are back after their first sub-.500 season in 30 years, with this win over DeLaSalle (2-2) giving them more victories than in all of 2015.
Oak Park 44, Rochester Adams 43 (OT) – The Knights (2-2) went for the two-point conversion in overtime and made it five straight over Adams (3-1) and stay in the mix in the OAA White.
Detroit Catholic Central 28, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Ohio, 21 (OT) – This was the first close game for both teams, with the Shamrocks (4-0) emerging as the still-undefeated by winning overtime.
Warren Fitzgerald 24, St. Clair Shores South Lake – The Spartans (4-0) are in a slightly more comfortable position in the Macomb Area Conference Silver thanks to this win and an earlier victory by South Lake (3-1) over 2015 champion Madison Heights Madison.
Portland 36, Lansing Catholic 35
The Lansing area’s most anticipated game was as good as expected, coming down to a made two-point conversion with 25 seconds to play that kept Portland (4-0) atop the Capital Area Activities Conference White. Lansing Catholic (3-1), which beat Portland in a Division 5 District Final last season after losing their regular-season matchup, led the entire game until that go-ahead score. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.
Stockbridge 70, Leslie 32 – This wasn’t just another 100-point game involving Stockbridge (3-1); Mason Gee-Montgomery threw eight touchdown passes, reportedly breaking the MHSAA career record in the category after entering this season needing 21 to do so.
Greenville 35, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 34 – The Yellow Jackets (3-1) now have one more win than all of last season after handing Forest Hills Central (3-1 also after going 2-7 a year ago) its first loss.
Ithaca 45, Pinconning 0 – The Yellowjackets’ third straight shutout also put them at 4-0 and 97-3 over their last 100 games, the best 100-game winning percentage in MHSAA history.
DeWitt 47, Mason 0 – The Panthers (3-1) finish with a couple tough nonleague matchups, but beating Mason (3-1) this well makes it look like they won’t have many more challenges in the CAAC Red.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Traverse City Central 38, Portage Central 22
Storms pushed the end of this one past midnight Friday, but Traverse City Central left its home field with a big-time statement win against one of the southwest corner's top teams. The Trojans finished on a 21-7 second-half run to remain undefeated at 4-0 and hand the Mustangs (3-1) their first loss while scoring the most points Portage Central has given up since a 2013 Division 2 Semifinal. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Johannesburg-Lewiston 47, Central Lake 14 – The Cardinals’ five-year playoff streak looked to be in jeopardy, but getting to 2-2 with this win over Central Lake (1-3) will help significantly with a tough slate ahead.
Lincoln Alcona 58, AuGres-Sims 20 – Alcona (3-1) is all alone atop the North Star League standings with the second-place Wolverines (3-1) now needing some help and two others only a win back.
Maple City Glen Lake 42, Onekama 7 – The Lakers (3-1) kept pace in the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders division and are the only team to beat the Portagers (3-1) during the last two regular seasons, having done so last year as well.
Roscommon 20, Beaverton 14 – Another week, another important win for upstart Jack Pine Conference co-leader Roscommon (4-0), which dealt the Beavers (2-2) a second straight loss.
Southeast & Border
Saline 26, Temperance Bedford 24
There’s a chance this season’s Southeastern Conference Red championship will come down to the field goal kicked by Vinnie Patteri with three seconds to play against Bedford (3-1) after he missed an extra point earlier in the game and was injured the week before when Saline (4-0) also won on a late field goal. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.
Sand Creek 38, Morenci 36 – The Aggies are continuing to enjoy their best start since 2006, making themselves a Tri-County Conference contender by beating a Morenci team (2-2) that has been the last two seasons.
Ann Arbor Skyline 35, Monroe 22 – After a tough start, Skyline (1-3) lost to Saline by only three last week and now has its first win over a Monroe team that while 2-2 has made the playoffs four of the last five seasons.
Ida 58, Brooklyn Columbia Central 34 – The matchup of last season’s top two in the Lenawee County Athletic Association went Ida’s way again, with the Bluestreaks (4-0) now tied atop the league with Dundee and Columbia Central (2-2) needing to chase.
New Boston Huron 7, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 6 – The Chiefs (3-1) may be a win behind in the Huron League standings but kept themselves in the conversation – with much more to celebrate – by beating the Falcons (2-2) for the first time since 1986.
Cassopolis 28, Berrien Springs 21
The Rangers secured their first 4-0 start since 2009 in avenging a 7-0 loss from a year ago. Cassopolis mounted the winning the drive with three minutes to play and handed the Shamrocks (1-2) their second defeat by seven or fewer points this fall. Both won nine games a year ago. Click for more from the Niles Daily Star.
Comstock 26, Bronson 16 – The Colts’ 40-game losing streak is history as they won for the first time since 2011 to go to 1-3 this fall.
Vicksburg 24, Plainwell 8 – The Bulldogs (3-1) will need some help in the Wolverine Conference after falling to favorite Edwardsburg two weeks ago, but getting past perennial playoff team Plainwell (1-3) was big for postseason hopes.
Stevensville Lakeshore 31, St. Joseph 12 – A week after a big loss to Portage Central, Lakeshore (3-1) bounced back quickly and well in handing the Bears (3-1) their first defeat.
Portage Northern 24, Niles 21 – Portage Northern (2-2) got a needed victory as it hopes to get back to the playoffs after missing last fall; it’s worth noting that the Vikings (3-1) do have one more win already than all of last season.
Negaunee 35, Iron Mountain 13
The Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference title is hardly wrapped up, but Negaunee (4-0) has now handed the only losses this season to two teams – Iron Mountain and Calumet – and has to feel pretty confident with nemesis Ishpeming coming up in three weeks. Iron Mountain (3-1) handed the Hematites their lone loss this fall and now will be rooting for them. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.
St. Ignace 46, East Jordan 8 – This meeting of early contenders in the NMFC Legacy didn’t stay close for long, as St. Ignace (3-1) kept its spot among favorites by handing East Jordan (3-1) a first defeat.
Newberry 22, Felch North Dickinson (20) – The Indians (4-0) stood up to their first challenge of the season to remain atop the Mid-Eastern Conference with North Dickinson (2-2) falling into a tie for third.
Gwinn 28, Bark River-Harris 14 – Save for a Week 2 loss to Iron Mountain, Gwinn (3-1) already has had a memorable fall with as many wins as in any season since going 4-5 in 2001 – and now a victory over last season’s Mid-Eastern Conference co-champion Broncos (2-2).
Kingsford 36, Sault Ste. Marie 14 – The Flivvers (3-1) lined themselves up nicely for this week’s matchup against Great Northern Conference power Menominee, while dropping first-year league member Sault Ste. Marie to 1-3 overall.
Hudsonville Unity Christian 24, Zeeland West 22 (OT)
Unity Christian (4-0) has strung together a pair of nice finishes over the last two seasons, but both included big regular-season losses to West including 52-6 in Week 9 last season. However, the Crusaders looked like they might have figured out the Dux (3-1) a bit, falling only 28-21 in a Division 4 Regional Final a few weeks later – and this time handed the reigning Division 4 champion its first regular season loss since Week 2 of 2013. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 24, East Kentwood 23 – The Huskies (2-2) squeaked past what’s been considered one of the contenders in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red; East Kentwood’s two losses the last two weeks were by a combined eight points.
Grandville Calvin Christian 36, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 33 – The Squires (2-2) have come back from opening losses to bigger teams with a pair of wins against O-K Silver opponents, this one over a NorthPointe team (3-1) that played in MHSAA Semifinals the last two years.
Grandville 36, Hudsonville 6 – The Bulldogs (4-0) now look like the clear favorites in the O-K Red with a combined 185-28 score on their four opponents including an Eagles team (3-1) that looked like the other likely contender.
Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 39, Muskegon Mona Shores 34 – Reeths-Puffer (3-1) had lost to Mona Shores by a combined score of 97-18 over the last two seasons, but this time dealt the Sailors (1-3) their third straight defeat of the fall.
Deckerville 38, Peck 0
These were two of the top three in the North Central Thumb 8-Man League, but Deckerville stands alone and impressively – the Eagles have given up 20 points this season and no more than eight in any game. Click for more from the Port Huron Times Herald.
Rapid River 48, Ontonagon 36 – One of the closer games statewide in 8-player saw Rapid River win its third straight to move to 3-1, with Ontonagon 2-2 after two straight losses to top Western Eight Conference teams.
New Haven Merritt 36, Hale 32 – The Mustangs are off to their first 4-0 start in their five-year program's history but only after just surviving an Eagles team that at 3-1 has as many wins this season as the last three combined.
PHOTO: Ithaca improved to 97-3 over its last 100 games with a win over Pinconning. (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.)