Drive for Detroit: Week 5 Preview

September 26, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

With 600 high school teams in Michigan and good games always to be found, just about any week could be called “Rivalry Week” as the term is often hyped at the college and pro levels.

But this week in this state is a little more special this fall.

A number of the best rivalries – longtime or emerging – will be played out over the next two days, and we offer a glance at a number of those games below. You’ll have a chance to check out a bunch, as seven of the games mentioned in this preview are among the 32 that will be broadcast live on click here for the schedule.  

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Bay & Thumb

Grand Blanc (4-0) at Davison (4-0)

These teams entered this game last season under almost identical circumstances – and Davison exited with a 49-7 win on the way to finishing second to Lapeer in the Saginaw Valley League Blue. Those three appear to be the main title contenders again, and Davison has won its first two Blue games by a combined 104-0 while Grand Blanc also opened league play last week with a shutout. Last season’s loss started a rough finish for the Bobcats, and they face a tough regular-season second half again with Lapeer, Flint Powers Catholic and Saline coming up. Obviously, a win tonight would provide a sizable lift heading into that string.  

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Harbor Beach (4-0) at Ubly (4-0), Saginaw Swan Valley (3-1) at Frankenmuth (4-0), Fenton (3-1) at Flint Kearsley (4-0), Breckenridge (3-1) at Merrill (3-1).

Greater Detroit

Macomb Dakota (3-1) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (4-0)

One of the best rivalries in the state again matches up the teams tied for first in the Macomb Area Conference Red. Chippewa Valley is riding an 18-game winning streak after claiming last season’s Division 1 championship and has won four straight over Dakota – with victories over the Cougars during the playoffs as well the last two seasons. Dakota’s only slip-up this fall came Week 1 against still-unbeaten Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, and it will be interesting to see how this meeting shakes out. The Big Reds won by only seven, 24-17, the first time they played in 2018 but 51-10 in the District Final rematch.  

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY West Bloomfield (3-1) at Lake Orion (4-0), Brownstown Woodhaven (4-0) at Allen Park (3-1), North Farmington (4-0) at Auburn Hills Avondale (3-1), Warren De La Salle Collegiate (2-2) at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (4-0).


Portland (4-0) at Lansing Catholic (4-0)

This one gets top billing by just a smidge over East Lansing/DeWitt, as Portland can claim supremacy in the Lansing area so far thanks to its two-point Week 2 win over the Panthers. The Raiders have otherwise dominated coming off last year’s Division 5 runner-up finish, but Lansing Catholic surely has been looking forward to this opportunity. Not only will tonight’s game likely eventually decide the Capital Area Activities Conference White champion, but Portland handed the Cougars their only two losses last season – by a combined 12 points.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY East Lansing (3-1) at DeWitt (3-1), Sanford Meridian (4-0) at Clare (4-0), St. Johns (3-1) at Mason (4-0), Laingsburg (3-1) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Johannesburg-Lewiston (4-0) at Tawas (3-1)

The Cardinals are tied for first in the Northern Michigan Football League Legacy division after winning the title outright a year ago, and they’ve dominated for most of 2019 so far. But this nonleague meeting starts a string of games against four straight playoff hopefuls. Tawas was a qualifier last season and this fall is just a two-point opening-night loss to Alcona from a perfect start as well.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Charlevoix (3-1) at Frankfort (2-2), Mancelona (2-2) at Elk Rapids (2-2). SATURDAY Alpena (2-2) at Traverse City West (2-2), Gaylord (2-2) at Traverse City Central (3-1).

Southeast & Border

Marshall (3-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (4-0)

By nature of this kind of success, as Lumen Christi’s state-best 27-game winning streak continues to grow, every matchup will be scrutinized that much more. The Titans have beaten Marshall in three straight but scored a season low in last year’s 21-0 shutout of the Redhawks. And this is a better Marshall team; after three straight seasons winning three or four games, Marshall is a one-point opening-night loss to Freeland from 4-0. Meanwhile, another win could just about seal up the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title for Lumen – its final three league opponents are a combined 3-9.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Chelsea (4-0) at Jackson (3-1), Britton Deerfield (3-1) at Sand Creek (3-1), Hillsdale (4-0) at Hudson (2-2), Brooklyn Columbia Central (3-1) at Onsted (2-2).

Southwest Corridor

Battle Creek Lakeview (4-0) at Kalamazoo Central (2-2)

Lakeview has had a nice run through the 2010s with five playoff appearances in a row from 2012-16. But last season the Spartans won two games, their fewest since 2002 – although that should be fading from memory with this start. A win tonight would bury it further, as defeating reigning champion Kalamazoo Central would earn Lakeview a share of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East title – its first since 2015. But making it happen might take the Spartans’ best performance so far. The Maroon Giants have suffered their two losses by just a combined seven points, and the last three meetings with Lakeview all have been decided by eight points or fewer.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Cassopolis (4-0) at Decatur (2-2), Portage Central (2-2) at Stevensville Lakeshore (2-2), Benton Harbor (2-2) at Battle Creek Central (1-3). SATURDAY Delton Kellogg (3-1) at Schoolcraft (4-0).

Upper Peninsula

Lake Linden-Hubbell (3-1) at L'Anse (3-1)

These teams are enjoying similar jumpstarts this fall but with this nonleague matchup key to their postseason hopes. The Lakes were 10-1 as recently as 2016, but won just two games last season. A two-point Week 2 loss to Ishpeming is all that’s kept them from 4-0, but their next two games are against the leaders of their Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Iron division. Despite opening with a loss to Hancock, the Purple Hornets have equaled their win total from all of last season as they pursue a first playoff berth since 2013 – but with a tough slate of West PAC Copper games coming up to finish the regular season.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Escanaba (3-1) at Kingsford (2-2), Iron Mountain (4-0) at Bark River-Harris (3-1), Boyne City (2-2) at Menominee (3-1), Ogemaw Heights (3-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-1).

West Michigan

Muskegon Oakridge (4-0) at Montague (4-0)

This has as much claim to being Michigan’s best matchup of the weekend as any listed above or below, after Montague won last year’s meeting 25-24 on a touchdown and 2-point conversion with no time left. Oakridge went on to win out before falling by three to eventual Division 5 champion Hudsonville Unity Christian in the District Final – meaning the Eagles’ two defeats were by a combined four points to teams that ended up at Ford Field. Montague was runner-up in Division 6 and opened 2019 by avenging last season’s loss to Reed City.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Hudsonville Unity Christian (3-1) at Grand Rapids South Christian (3-1), Byron Center (4-0) at Zeeland West (4-0), East Kentwood (3-1) at Grandville (4-0), Manistee (3-1) at Muskegon Orchard View (4-0).


Colon (4-0) at Climax-Scotts (4-0)

As expected, things got a little more competitive last week for Climax-Scotts as it continued to march through its first season of 8-player. But a 16-12 win over Camden-Frontier set the Panthers up to take on reigning Southern Central Athletic Association A champion Colon with an opportunity to win a share of the league title. The Magi have outscored their opponents by a combined 197-18 and have a few reasons to be amped. Not only does this stack up as one of the top 8-player matchups of the regular season statewide, but Climax-Scotts beat Colon in 11 straight 11-player games from 2008 through 2017.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Vestaburg (4-0) at Portland St. Patrick (4-0), Mio (3-1) at Hillman (4-0), Cedarville (2-2) at Brimley (4-0), Martin (4-0) at St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (2-2).

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PHOTO: Portland edged DeWitt 29-27 in Week 2. Both play this weekend in games that eventually could decide their leagues’ champions. (Click for more from

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.