Drive for Detroit: Week 5 Preview

September 22, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

There are 100 undefeated Michigan high school football teams at the midpoint of this season. Another 136 teams have only one loss heading into Week 5, which will be played out in most places tonight.

Eventually every fall, the elite emerge from all of those with great starts. And this looks like it's going to be that week for the 2015 season. 

A number of our undefeated teams take on those from the group with one loss. Many of those matchups are mentioned below in this week’s Drive for Detroit preview, powered by MI Student Aid. Many more may be discussed in Monday's review of the weekend; be sure to tune back in then. 

To see the weekend's full schedule, check out the MHSAA Score Center. All games below are Friday unless noted.

Bay & Thumb

Millington (4-0) at Frankenmuth (4-0)

A year doesn’t go by when this isn’t one of the must-see games from the Saginaw Bay area. There’s just too much history between the two; Millington has handed Frankenmuth its only two Tri-Valley Conference East losses over the last five seasons, and three of the Cardinals’ five league losses over the last five seasons came to the Eagles. Frankenmuth owns the most recent victory, 28-7 last year, and has outscored four opponents by a combined 150-20 this fall. Millington’s margin so far is 182-28 – and this one could see more offense than defense with standout quarterbacks Jared Davis and Bryce Bearss leading the Eagles and Cardinals, respectively.  

Others that caught my eye: Brighton (3-1) at Grand Blanc (4-0), Croswell-Lexington (3-1) at Algonac (4-0), Montrose (3-1) at Lake Fenton (4-0), Midland Dow (4-0) at Flint Powers Catholic (2-2).

Greater Detroit

Detroit Catholic Central (4-0) at Birmingham Brother Rice (3-1)

What gives this an edge over the many other 4-0 vs. 3-1 matchups in the Detroit area this week is a few-fold. The winner certainly has an upper hand in the Detroit Catholic League Central, annually one of the state’s most competitive leagues. But it’s also intriguing because of Brother Rice’s bounce-back from 2-7 a year ago – its first sub-.500 finish since 1985. The Warriors’ lone loss this fall was to Indiana power Mishawaka Penn; DCC handed previously-undefeated Cleveland St. Ignatius a first loss last week and also owns an always-impressive win over Toledo Whitmer. The Shamrocks’ 35-7 win over Brother Rice in 2015 was their first against the rival after three straight losses; Rice surely will be looking to start a new streak.

Others that caught my eye: Romulus (4-0) at Dearborn (3-1), Detroit East English (3-1) at Detroit Cass Tech (4-0), Romeo (3-1) at Utica Eisenhower (4-0), Dearborn Fordson (4-0) at Redford Thurston (3-1).

Mid-Michigan

Stockbridge (3-1) at Lake Odessa Lakewood (4-0)

These two have combined to score 73 and then 103 points in their most recent meetings, respectively, and Stockbridge quarterback Mason Gee-Montgomery is coming off throwing eight touchdown passes to pass 100 for his career last week. Lakewood hasn’t scored fewer than 37 points this fall, and both teams are giving up their share as well. In addition to the obvious entertainment factor, this is a big one because it could decide the eventual Greater Lansing Athletic Conference champion. The Vikings are reigning champs, and with Stockbridge and Olivet are 2-0 in league play with two more league games left after this weekend.  

Others that caught my eye: Laingsburg (4-0) at Fowler (3-1), East Lansing (2-2) at Holt (2-2), Flint Hamady (2-2) at Durand (4-0), New Lothrop (4-0) at Byron (3-1).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix (4-0) at Maple City Glen Lake (3-1)

The Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders division standings could clear up a little bit this week with this result; the winner will join Frankfort (which plays a crossover) as the only undefeated teams left in league play. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Rayders; they finished second in the Leaders in 2014. Glen Lake hasn’t been in contention since the formation of the NMFC that fall – but looks early more like the 2012 and 2013 teams that won Northwest Conference titles. The Lakers’ loss this season was by a mere eight points to powerhouse Traverse City St. Francis, and they beat 3-1 Onekama 42-7 a week ago. Charlevoix has an impressive win though too, by eight over NMFC Legends co-leader Boyne City in Week 2.

Others that caught my eye: Johannesburg-Lewiston (2-2) at Frankfort (4-0), Traverse City Central (4-0) at Gaylord (2-2), Houghton Lake (3-1) at Roscommon (4-0), Lincoln Alcona (3-1) at Whittemore-Prescott (3-1).

Southeast & Border

Adrian Madison (3-1) at Sand Creek (4-0)

Six of eight teams in the Tri-County Conference are .500 or better so far, and the league has a couple of significant matchups this week. Sand Creek gets a chance to prove it will stick in contention with also-undefeated Clinton and Ottawa Lake Whiteford. The Aggies have more wins than they’ve totaled in an entire season since 2011, but Madison – which lost to Clinton by only eight in Week 3 – is halfway to earning its first playoff berth since 2009.

Others that caught my eye: Tecumseh (2-2) at Chelsea (4-0), Springport (4-0) at Homer (2-2), Dundee (2-2) at Ida (4-0), Grand Ledge (3-1) at Jackson (2-2).

Southwest Corridor

Lawton (4-0) at Gobles (4-0)

This rivalry has been on, and then off, and now on again a few times over the last 15 years, but this edition might be the most meaningful in a while – and not just because Lawton won a nail-biter 30-27 a year ago. Both are staring down reigning champion Schoolcraft in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Central, with Lawton getting the Eagles next week and Gobles getting them in Week 7. Both are contenders to take the title away; Gobles has scored at least 50 points three weeks in a row, and Lawton has given up 12 – total – in four games.

Others that caught my eye: Battle Creek Lakeview (3-0) at Portage Central (3-1), Edwardsburg (4-0) at Dowagiac (2-2), Parchment (3-1) at St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (4-0), Bark River-Harris (2-2) at Climax-Scotts (4-0) on Saturday.

Upper Peninsula

Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-0) at Newberry (4-0)

The Mid-Eastern Conference has seen the share of top games in the Upper Peninsula so far, and this one could finish the sorting for this season. Newberry, in fact, can clinch a share of the league title, which would its first since 2005 in the Straits Area Conference. The Lakes won the final Great Western Conference title last fall but have played only one Mid-Eastern game so far. They need to win this one to not only take the lead, but keep alive a 13-game regular-season winning streak that this fall included handing Hancock its only loss so far.  

Others that caught my eye: Calumet (3-1) at Hancock (3-1), Norway (4-0) at Ishpeming (2-1), Menominee (4-0) at Kingsford (3-1), Gwinn (3-1) at Negaunee (4-0).

West Michigan

Whitehall (4-0) at Montague (4-0)

This is a rematch of one of the classics from the Muskegon area a year ago; Montague won 29-28 in Week 5, which ended up contributing significantly to the Wildcats winning the West Michigan Conference championship. Comparing results against the same first four opponents from a year ago, Montague has been far more dominant this fall, outscoring those teams by a combined 173-24. Whitehall earned an impressive 50-47 win over much-improved Wyoming Kelloggsville in Week 1 and hasn’t slowed, running for 402 yards against Hart last week.

Others that caught my eye: Zeeland West (3-1) at Byron Center (3-1), Grand Rapids Christian (4-0) at Cedar Springs (3-1), Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (3-1) at Muskegon (3-1), Lowell (4-0) at Greenville (3-1).

8-Player

Battle Creek St. Philip (4-0) at Camden-Frontier (3-0), Saturday

Camden-Frontier made its 8-player debut Week 1 by breaking a 19-game losing streak and has absolutely dominated, outscoring its first three opponents by a combined 194-8 – although two of those wins came against the same team. Regardless, the Redskins will find out Saturday where they might sit when it comes to the state’s elite. St. Philip has had a couple of closer-than-usual wins, two by 10 or fewer points. But the reigning MHSAA runner-up has won 16 of its last 17 games.

Others that caught my eye: Deckerville (4-0) at Rudyard (3-1), Pickford (3-1) at Posen (2-2).

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews 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: Flint Hamady (blue helmets) downed Byron in Week 2 and takes on Durand this week; Byron takes on New Lothrop, which with Durand is tied for first in the Genesee Area Conference Blue. (Click to see more from Varsity Monthly.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“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.

John GuilleanGuillean 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.”

Great anticipation

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.

Derek GriblerGribler 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 ShebestPam 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 pamkzoo@aol.com 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.)