By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Sometimes the “big games” that everyone’s talking about before Friday night don’t end up meaning as much as some of the surprises that take place during an unpredictable weekend of Michigan high school football.
Check out those 45 results and some of what they mean today and could mean down the road as we head into the middle week of the regular season.
“Drive for Detroit” is powered by MI Student Aid.
Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER: Cass City 36, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker 12 The Red Hawks broke their nine-game losing streak to the rival Lakers (3-1) in a big way and after falling to them twice last season. Heading into this season’s midpoint, Cass City (3-1) has a nice edge in the Greater Thumb Conference West race; all four of its final league opponents have at least one conference defeat. Click for more from the Huron Daily Tribune.
Also of note: Grand Blanc 42, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 14 The Bobcats (4-0) are continuing to impress in their move this fall to the Saginaw Valley League, this time extending a four-game winning streak over Carman-Ainsworth (2-2), last season’s SVL Red co-champion. This season both teams are in the Blue division; Grand Blanc formerly played in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association.
Remember this one: Flushing 59, Ortonville Brandon 39 Undefeated Swartz Creek leads the Flint Metro League race all alone with Brandon (3-1) suffering its first loss, and Fenton and Flushing (2-2) are also in the mix with one league defeat apiece.
More shoutouts: Goodrich 34, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 17 The Martians (3-1) added a third win over a 2017 playoff team in handing the Fighting Irish (3-1) their first defeat. Hemlock 42, St. Louis 0 The Huskies (3-1) moved into a tie for third in the Tri-Valley Conference West after knocking St. Louis (3-1) out of a tie for the top spot.
HEADLINER: Madison Heights Madison 21, Marine City 15 Reigning Macomb Area Conference Silver champion Madison (4-0) has a nice hold on the league lead again with wins over two of three teams tied for second place. Marine City (3-1), last season’s MAC Gold champion, is one of those three second-place teams. After a two-week break in league play, Madison can clinch a share of the title Week 7 against St. Clair Shores South Lake, which is also tied for second. Click for more from C&G Newspapers.
Also of note: Warren Michigan Collegiate 34, Harper Woods 33 It was easy to circle Week 6 against River Rouge as the most intriguing date coming up for Harper Woods (3-1) as it opened with three huge wins. But instead, Michigan Collegiate (4-0) earned one of the most impressive victories of its 21-game regular-season winning streak.
Remember this one: Riverview 38, Milan 20 Grosse Ile is the only team still undefeated in Huron League play, but reigning champion Riverview (3-1) looks ready to challenge again after taking down the Big Reds (3-1).
More shoutouts: South Lyon 31, Birmingham Seaholm 28 Both teams deserve one after both finished 1-8 a year ago; this close win moved South Lyon to 4-0 and left Seaholm at 3-1. Warren DeLaSalle 13, Birmingham Brother Rice 0 Three of the Detroit Catholic League Central’s four teams are 3-1, and reigning champion DeLaSalle has the first hold of first place this fall.
HEADLINER: East Lansing 30, Portage Northern 20 The Trojans (4-0) did everything they could’ve hoped heading into this week’s league showdown with DeWitt. East Lansing went on the road to defeat the Huskies (2-2), looking at this point like one of the better teams from the Kalamazoo area, and put up more points than Portage Northern had given up in its first three games combined (27). Click for more from East Lansing Info.
Also of note: St. Johns 34, Williamston 20 The Redwings (2-2) have come back nicely from an 0-2 start, especially by handing the impressive Hornets (3-1) their first loss.
Remember this one: Carson City-Crystal 14, Merrill 8 The Eagles held on to a share of first place in the Mid-State Activities Conference and continued their best start since enjoying a perfect regular season in 2013, while Merrill’s two losses have been both by six points.
More shoutouts: Haslett 41, Fowlerville 13 The Vikings’ Capital Area Activities Conference Red hopes will rest on back-to-back games against Williamston and St. Johns the next two weeks, but the Gladiators (2-2) were a dangerous spoiler in the making during a mostly even first half. Fowler 25, Laingsburg 21 The Eagles (3-1) kept pace with two other Central Michigan Athletic Conference leaders and after falling to the Wolfpack (1-3) the last two seasons.
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER: Roscommon 46, Clare 40 It’s a rare occurrence when Clare loses in the Jack Pine Conference – the Pioneers (3-1) were 49-2 in league games this decade before Roscommon (3-1) stirred up the league race, and after trailing by 12 at halftime. It was the Bucks’ first win in this series since 2006. Both teams are among four now tied for second behind league leader Beaverton.
Also of note: Traverse City West 21, Traverse City Central 14 The Titans (2-2) won another “Patriot Game” classic, making it two straight regular-season wins over the Trojans (3-1) while avenging last season’s playoff loss to their rival.
Remember this one: Maple City Glen Lake 28, Frankfort 14 The Lakers and Panthers, both 2-2 overall, have traded league titles the last two seasons, and this puts reigning champion Glen Lake in a nice spot in the Northern Michigan Football League Leaders division.
More shoutouts: Benzie Central 36, Elk Rapids 30 The Huskies (3-1) could benefit in a few ways from this win over the Elks (3-1) as they play for their first playoff berth since 2011. Traverse City St. Francis 43, Kingsley 8 Both were undefeated heading into the weekend, and St. Francis (4-0) earned a nice foothold in the NMFL Legends division.
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER: Ypsilanti Lincoln 26, Chelsea 16 The Railsplitters also defeated Chelsea last season but ended up third in the Southeastern Conference White as Chelsea went on to share the title. Lincoln (3-1) sits in a first-place tie with Jackson this time, while the Bulldogs (3-1) will be ready to pounce at another opening. Click for more from the Ann Arbor News.
Also of note: Blissfield 34, Brooklyn Columbia Central 28 The Royals (3-1) took a key step in what’s stacking up as another competitive Lenawee County Athletic Association race, especially after Columbia Central (3-1) handed Ida a defeat in Week 3.
Remember this one: Ida 20, Dundee 3 Continuing the LCAA conversation, this win over the much-improved Vikings (3-1) could end up being key if the Bluestreaks (3-1) find their way back to the top of the standings.
More shoutouts: Adrian Lenawee Christian 16, Detroit Edison 0 The Cougars are 4-0 for the first time in their 11 seasons of varsity football. Pittsford 44, Waterford Our Lady 6 The Wildcats (4-0) have now outscored their opponents by a combined 124-13, and this was arguably their best win yet as Our Lady is 2-2 but riding a six-year playoff streak.
HEADLINER: Schoolcraft 49, Saugatuck 48 (2OT) Schoolcraft stopped Saugatuck on a 2-point conversion attempt to seal perhaps the most intriguing back-and-forth game in the state Friday night. The teams were tied 14-14 at halftime. Both are 3-1 and possible champions of their respective divisions of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette and see below for highlights from JoeInsider.com.
— Wes Morgan (@JoeInsider) September 15, 2018
Also of note: Fennville 34, Watervliet 30 The Blackhawks are 3-1 for the first time since 2008 after holding Watervliet (2-2) to its fewest regular-season points in two years.
Remember this one: Stevensville Lakeshore 13, St. Joseph 10 (OT) If Lakeshore (2-2) comes back from an 0-2 start to make the playoffs for the 21ststraight season, this victory will almost assuredly be a major reason why. The Bears also are 2-2, with those two defeats by a combined 10 points.
More shoutouts: Portage Central 45, Battle Creek Central 35 These two, both 3-1 overall, are possible champs in their respective Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference divisions. Edwardsburg 51, Dowagiac 7 The Eddies (4-0) may have given up their first points of the season, but will take it after coming out on top of a much closer meeting with the Chieftains (2-2) in 2017.
HEADLINER: Ishpeming 44, Ishpeming Westwood 36 These teams are in different divisions of the newly-aligned Western Peninsula Athletic Conference, but this rivalry game has more relevance these days than perhaps ever – this was the closest game between the neighbors since 2009. Both are league title contenders, and they’ve also met for playoff rematches four of the last nine seasons. Ishpeming is 4-0; Westwood is 2-2. Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Also of note: Marquette 36, Escanaba 35 (OT) The Upper Peninsula definitely led the way in Week 4 rivalry excitement, with Marquette (2-2) holding on to beat the Eskymos (2-2) for the first time since 2015.
Remember this one: Calumet 43, Iron River West Iron County 6 The Copper Kings (4-0) avenged a 33-point loss to the Wykons (3-1) from a year ago.
More shoutouts: Gwinn 22, Hancock 21 The Modeltowners (4-0) have more wins than all of last season with their best start since 1998; Hancock fell to 2-2. Iron Mountain 35, Norway 7 The Mountaineers (3-1) also enjoyed a nice bounce-back after falling to Norway (2-2) last season by 36.
HEADLINER: East Kentwood 56, Holland West Ottawa 7 The Panthers (3-1) were one of the stories of the first third of the regular season; it’s time to make room for the Falcons (3-1). They now share the early lead in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red with Hudsonville and with their only loss to undefeated Muskegon Mona Shores in Week 1. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press and see highlights below from FOX 17.
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) September 15, 2018
Also of note: Muskegon Oakridge 42, Whitehall 14 Oakridge (4-0) held on to its share of first place in the West Michigan Conference by avenging last season’s 14-point loss to the Vikings (3-1).
Remember this one: Grand Rapids Christian 30, Grand Rapids West Catholic 14 The Falcons’ 15-year playoff streak is on the line with a 1-3 start, while the Eagles (3-1) definitely will enjoy a boost heading into the rest of the O-K Gold schedule.
More shoutouts: Muskegon Mona Shores 33, Rockford 14 The Sailors (4-0) made it three wins in four years over the Rams (1-3), who must win out to guarantee adding to a 23-year playoff streak. Zeeland West 46, Lowell 7 The Dux (3-1) had their best defensive game bottling up the Red Arrows (0-4), who must win out to have any at-large chance at making the playoffs for the 20thstraight season.
HEADLINER: Crystal Falls Forest Park 48, Stephenson 40 This was a much-needed stunner for the reigning 8-player Division 2 champion. The Trojans fell by 26 to Stephenson a year ago and were facing a possible 1-3 start. Instead, Forest Park (2-2) handed the Eagles (3-1) their lone loss in the first Great Lakes Conference West game for both. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.
Also of Note: Bellevue 35, Camden-Frontier 12 In three seasons of 8-player, Camden-Frontier (3-1) has lost only two regular-season games. Bellevue (3-1) did give the Redskins the latter’s closest win a year ago before taking the next step Friday.
Remember this one: AuGres-Sims 50, Hillman 12 AuGres-Sims (4-0) won the last two in 11-player between these old North Star League rivals, and extended the streak by handing the Tigers (3-1) their first 8-player defeat.
More shoutouts: Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 38, Suttons Bay 27 The Defenders (4-0) started league play with their closest game this fall, but against a Regional finalist from a year ago that also was off to a perfect start. Colon 43, Battle Creek St. Philip 12 The Magi (4-0), in their first season of 8-player, have doubled their win total of a year ago and now handed three opponents their first losses of this season.
Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau 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, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: Ishpeming players raise their helmets during the postgame huddle after Friday's win over rival Westwood. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.
“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”
Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.
“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.
Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.
As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.
He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.
“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.
Guillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.
“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.
Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.
At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.
“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”
Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.
In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.
Gribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.
“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”
Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.
“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”
In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.
“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.
“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”
Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.
“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”
Big shoes to fill
As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.
Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.
Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.
Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.
“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.
As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”
His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.
He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.
“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”
Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.
“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.
“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Pam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)