By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Friday night football this past week gave us improbable scores like 6-4 and 6-2.
But they only foreshadowed some of the unexpected we’re celebrating in this week’s Drive for Detroit review – including big-time performances by Jenison, Houghton and newly-clinched league champion Manistee, to name just a few.
See below for our look at 45 results from the weekend that particularly stood out. Some are as you’d expect – significant tilts like Davison/Grand Blanc, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley/Macomb Dakota and Brighton/Canton. But many more will become more noteworthy as well as these next four weeks determine league champions and 288 teams that continue into the playoffs.
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Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER Davison 49, Grand Blanc 7 The Saginaw Valley League Blue race, at least for now, is down to Davison and Lapeer after the Cardinals (5-0) came up big in a matchup of previously undefeated teams. It was Davison’s first regular-season matchup with the Bobcats (4-1) since 2011, but extended a winning streak over the new league foe to two including a 2016 playoff victory. Click for more from the Flint Journal and see below for highlights from WJRT.
Davison scores 49 straight points to shock Grand Blanc in the battle of unbeatens in the Saginaw Valley League. @DavisonMade @DavCardFootball @DavisonSchools @grandblancath @GB_Bobcat_FB @cannonbhall14 @MichaelJamers17 @caleb_smith17)https://t.co/0GJcxqSPwk
— ABC12WJRT (@ABC12WJRT) September 22, 2018
Also of note: Flint Hamady 46, Swartz Creek 28 The Hawks (5-0) earned some pride for the Genesee Area Conference Blue with a nice win over the Flint Metro League-leading Dragons (4-1).
Remember this one: Beaverton 21, Harrison 0 The Beavers (4-1) held on to first place in the Jack Pine Conference with second-place Clare coming up in two weeks; Harrison (2-3) must win out to guarantee a fifth straight playoff berth.
More shoutouts: Almont 60, Croswell-Lexington 26 The Raiders (5-0) remain tied for first in the Blue Water Area Conference with Richmond after a nice win over the playoff-hopeful Pioneers (3-2). Harbor Beach 36, Ubly 28 The Pirates (4-1) beat Ubly (3-2) for the third time in two seasons (they also met in a playoff opener a year ago) to stay within striking distance of Greater Thumb Conference East leader Sandusky, which they’ll see in Week 8.
HEADLINER: Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 24, Macomb Dakota 17 The Big Reds (5-0) are holding down a first-place tie in the Macomb Area Conference Red with Romeo after handing Dakota (4-1) its first defeat. Chippewa Valley broke free in the third quarter and held off the Cougars in the fourth. Click for more from the Macomb Daily and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.
— STATE CHAMPS! (@statechampsnet) September 22, 2018
Also of note: Detroit Catholic Central 21, Birmingham Brother Rice 0 It looks like the Shamrocks (4-1) and Warren DeLaSalle will determine the Detroit Catholic League Central title with a solid Brother Rice team taking losses from both in back-to-back weeks to fall to 3-2.
Remember this one: Riverview Gabriel Richard 57, Macomb Lutheran North 54 (4OT) The Pioneers (3-2) set themselves up to play for the Catholic League Intersectional 1 title by outlasting the Mustangs (4-1), who already have more wins than all of last year.
More shoutouts: Detroit Mumford 28, Detroit Cody 22 The Mustangs (3-2) stayed atop the Detroit Public School League Green with a Week 7 matchup with Cass Tech likely to decide the champ – but Cody (4-1) gets a chance against the Technicians first next week. Livonia Churchill 41, Livonia Franklin 35 The Chargers (3-2) avenged last season’s playoff loss to Franklin (3-2), which eventually went on to the Division 2 Semifinals after winning that District title meeting by two.
HEADLINER: Brighton 23, Canton 17 (OT) Brighton quarterback Will Jontz (also a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council) is piling up highlights this season, and a few Friday might eventually lead to his team locking down the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West title. Jontz threw a touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs (4-1) ahead in the fourth quarter and another one in overtime as Brighton stayed atop the league and sent Canton (3-2) into a tie for second. Click for more from the Observer & Eccentric.
Also of note: Portland 16, Lansing Catholic 8 The Capital Area Activities Conference White lead belongs to the Raiders (5-0), who followed Jacob Veale’s 200 yards rushing and a defense that is giving up four points per game. Lansing Catholic (4-1) was strong defensively as well – a great sign especially if these teams meet again in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
Remember this one: DeWitt 37, East Lansing 0 The potential “game of the year” in the Lansing area didn’t turn into a titanic battle this time. DeWitt (5-0) moved into first place alone in the CAAC Blue, but East Lansing (4-1) could have another opportunity if these teams meet in the playoffs as was the case in 2016.
More shoutouts: New Lothrop 28, Ovid-Elsie 10 The Hornets (5-0) have solid footing in the first-year Mid-Michigan Activities Conference after sending the Marauders (3-2) into a tie for second, and having already defeated the other second-place team, Byron. Williamston 28, Haslett 14 The Hornets (4-1) seemed on the outside of the CAAC Red race after falling to St. Johns in Week 4, but might be back in after handing Haslett (4-1) its first loss and with the Vikings taking on the Redwings this week.
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER: Manistee 35, Muskegon Orchard View 20 The Chippewas (5-0) clinched a share of the Lakes 8 Conference title as they continue to reverse from last season’s 2-7 finish. The title is Manistee's first in reportedly decades. Click for more from the Manistee News Advocate and see highlights below from MI Sports Now.
— MISportsNow (@MISportsNow) September 22, 2018
Also of note: McBain 12, Leroy Pine River 7 The Ramblers (3-2) fell to reigning champion Lake City 14-12 in Week 3, but are still affecting the Highland Conference race. With this win, McBain knocked Pine River (4-1) out of a tie with Lake City for first place, but the Bucks can take back a share of the top spot this week against the Trojans.
Remember this one: Oscoda 16, Rogers City 0 Since falling to Houghton Lake 30-22 in Week 1, Oscoda hasn’t given up more than eight points in game – and shutting out Rogers City (4-1) put the Owls (4-1) in first place alone in the North Star League.
More shoutouts: Cheboygan 40, Benzie Central 36 The Chiefs (3-2) have won three straight as they seek their first winning record since 2013, and tripping up improved Benzie Central (3-2) should provide additional boost. Traverse City Central 28, Gaylord 0 The Trojans (4-1) bounced back from a seven-point Week 4 loss to Traverse City West by handing Gaylord (4-1) its first defeat.
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER: Adrian Lenawee Christian 14, Athens 12 The Indians (3-1) still have given up only 14 points this season. But the Cougars (5-0) will take posting a season low to earn a key win in a Southern Central Athletic Association that is particularly strong defensively this fall – three teams are giving up fewer than six points per game and the fourth a respectable 22. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.
Also of note: Jackson 29, Chelsea 20 The Vikings (5-0) are off to their best start at least in modern history, with more wins already than all of last season and now one of their best over reigning Southeastern Conference White champion Chelsea (3-2). Jackson plays league co-leader Ypsilanti Lincoln this week.
Remember this one: Clinton 28, Sand Creek 27 The Redskins (4-1) are back in Tri-County Conference contention for the first time since winning the league four straight seasons from 2012-15. Sand Creek (3-2) can still make some noise as well as both have undefeated Ottawa Lake Whiteford coming up.
More shoutouts: Blissfield 14, Dundee 9 The Royals (4-1) have won four straight to move into a first-place tie in the Lenawee County Athletic Association with Hillsdale, this week’s opponent. Dundee (3-2), however, continued to look capable of earning its first playoff berth since 2012 despite tough competition over the next four weeks. Pittsford 17, Climax-Scotts 16 The other SCAA matchup this week saw Pittsford (5-0) also gain a valuable win against a Panthers team that is 1-3 but with two defeats by a touchdown or less.
HEADLINER: Schoolcraft 45, Delton Kellogg 21 Five of six teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley have winning records, but Schoolcraft (4-1) knocked Delton Kellogg (4-1) from among the undefeated in their league opener. The Panthers were averaging 42 points per game before Schoolcraft held them to half that. Click for more from FOX 17.
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) September 22, 2018
Also of note: Battle Creek Central, 27, Benton Harbor 26 The Bearcats (4-1) bounced back from a tough Week 4 loss to guarantee their best finish since 2015 and edge closer to their first playoff berth since 2008. Benton Harbor fell to 1-3 but can earn a fourth straight playoff berth by winning their last four regular-season games.
Remember this one: Decatur 6, Hartford 0 The Raiders (3-2) avenged a one-point loss from last year and made this one particularly painful as Hartford (4-1) was looking like one of the new contenders in the Southwest 10 Conference.
More shoutouts: Kalamazoo United 77, Watervliet 20 Kalamazoo (5-0) upped its scoring average to nearly 64 points per game in this big win over reigning Valley champ Watervliet (2-3). White Pigeon 18, Mendon 8 White Pigeon (3-2) defeated the Hornets (3-2) for the first time since 1998.
HEADLINER: Houghton 38, Gwinn 0 This might have caught some off-guard; Gwinn (4-1) was undefeated and Houghton opened this fall 0-3. But with two straight wins, the Gremlins have one more than all of last season – and a chance to keep building heading into the second half of their league schedule. Click for more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.
Also of note: Gladstone 28, Maple City Glen Lake 8 The Braves (3-2) broke through last season for their first playoff berth since 2008, and to earn a return needs wins like this one over Glen Lake (2-3). With only eight games on the regular-season schedule this fall, Gladstone must win two of the next three to secure a repeat bid.
Remember this one: Munising 24, Hancock 21 The Mustangs (2-3) looked headed toward a third straight season without playoffs, but started a potential bounce back by handing Hancock (2-3) another tough defeat. The Bulldogs’ three losses came over the last three weeks and by a combined six points.
More shoutouts: Lake Linden-Hubbell 34, L’Anse 8 It’s been a tough start for the Lakes (1-4), but breaking L’Anse’s three-game winning streak was a nice way to begin a rebound. Ishpeming 36, Negaunee 26 The Hematites (5-0) broke a two-game losing streak against the longtime rival Miners (2-3).
HEADLINER: Jenison 20, Hudsonville 12 This wasn’t a league game – but it was a massive win for the Wildcats (4-1). After two straight 5-4 finishes, Jenison is two wins from earning its first playoff berth since 2003 – and after handing a first loss this season to Ottawa-Kent Conference Red contender Hudsonville, the first time Jenison has defeated the Eagles since 2003 as well. Click for more from WOOD TV and see additional highlights below from WZZM.
— 13 On Your Sidelines (@13OYSL) September 22, 2018
Also of note: East Kentwood 37, Grandville 30 Back in the O-K Red, the Falcons (4-1) continued to look like the other team to beat in edging Grandville (2-3). East Kentwood faces Hudsonville in Week 8.
Remember this one: Grand Rapids Northview 33, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 0 This was among the weekend’s surprises as Forest Hills Central (2-3) had won the last two meetings between these teams by 28 and 35 points. Northview (3-2) has more wins this fall than in its last two seasons combined.
More shoutouts: Hopkins 58, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 21 The Vikings (4-1) sit atop the O-K Silver after avenging last season’s 14-point loss to NorthPointe (3-2). Hudsonville Unity Christian 38, Grand Rapids South Christian 14 Also a nonleague game, but downing the Sailors (3-2) was a great way for the Crusaders (5-0) to get ready for the toughest of their O-K Green matchups.
HEADLINER: Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 28, Onekama 26 If Tri-unity Christian wins the Midwest Central Michigan Conference West, this one will be looked back upon frequently. The Defenders (5-0) have handed first losses of the season in back-to-back weeks to Suttons Bay and now Onekama (4-1), respectively, and next up get reigning 8-player Division 1 champion Central Lake. Click for more from the Manistee News Advocate.
Also of note: Deckerville 38, Kingston 20 The North Central Thumb League Blue has five teams with winning records out of six total, and Deckerville (3-2) is tied for first after handing Kingston (4-1) its lone defeat.
Remember this one: Engadine 39, Cedarville 26 The Eagles (4-1) already have lost to Great Lakes Conference East leader Pickford, but will be waiting if the undefeated Panthers trip up – especially against the Trojans (3-2) in Week 9.
More shoutouts: Bellevue 48, Portland St. Patrick 35 The Broncos (4-1) made it two straight over the Shamrocks (3-2), last season’s 8-player Division 2 runners-up. Camden-Frontier 42, Battle Creek St. Phillip 20 The Redskins (4-1) had little time to be disappointed after a Week 4 loss to Bellevue, and came back quickly to hand the Tigers (3-2) their second straight defeat.
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: Petoskey's Mason Doe-Nimphie (5) is surrounded by Marquette’s Brady Wright (34), Ethan Hayes (44), and Beau Zorza (56) during the Northmen’s win Saturday. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)
Five showdowns of undefeated teams highlight this week's Michigan high school statewide schedule as we begin our second-half buildup toward the end of the regular season.
If you're not watching in person, check out most of the matchups highlighted below, and several others, on MHSAA.tv. Check in as well with the MHSAA Scores page for all of them as they come in. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)
Bay & Thumb
Croswell-Lexington (5-0) at Almont (5-0) - Watch
Just past halfway through the Blue Water Area Conference schedule, half the teams are 3-1 or 4-0 in league play – with these the co-leaders. Croswell-Lexington hasn’t played a game closer than 19 points this fall, but did lose last year’s meeting with Almont 37-26. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won the last two weeks by seven and one point, respectively – but opened the season with three straight shutouts as the stifling defense they’ve become known for has given up only 34 points total.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (3-2) - Watch, Linden (4-1) at Fenton (4-1) - Watch, Birch Run (4-1) at Freeland (5-0) - Watch, Madison Heights Lamphere (4-1) at Marine City (4-1).
Westland John Glenn (5-0) at Belleville (5-0) - Watch
Belleville’s 42-3 victory over Livonia Franklin last week was the team’s 30th straight, and the Tigers now own the state’s longest active winning streak with Powers North Central’s coming to an end at 41 on the same night. Belleville’s next challenger is John Glenn, which under second-year coach Jason Mensing has as many victories this fall as the last two combined and has nearly guaranteed its first winning season since 2014. Mensing guided his former team Ottawa Lake Whiteford through several memorable moments, and this will be the Rockets’ biggest so far under his leadership.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gibraltar Carlson (4-1) at Trenton (4-1) - Watch, Romeo (3-2) at Macomb Dakota (4-1) - Watch, Lake Orion (5-0) at Rochester Adams (3-2) - Watch, Marine City Cardinal Mooney (3-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (3-2) - Watch.
Goodrich (5-0) at Corunna (5-0) - Watch
The winner of this matchup clinches a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship, similar to last season when Goodrich won the league and Corunna was second thanks to the Martians’ 42-7 win in their Week 5 matchup. Both arguably have been even better this fall. Goodrich has handed the only losses this season to Frankenmuth and Linden, and Corunna has given up only 31 points this season and no more than 17 in a game while scoring at least 38 every time out.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Evart (4-1) at Beal City (5-0) - Watch, Grand Ledge (5-0) at DeWitt (2-2) - Watch, Fowler (5-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-1) - Watch, Montrose (4-1) at New Lothrop (4-1) - Watch.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Charlevoix (4-1) at Elk Rapids (2-3)
There’s more riding here than the initial glance my indicate. Charlevoix, with a win, would clinch a share of the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title – its first since 2020 and after finishing second to Boyne City both of the past two seasons. The Rayders haven’t had a game closer than 13 points since falling to Traverse City St. Francis by one in their season opener. Elk Rapids got off to a tough start but has won two straight – both in shutouts – and is looking for its first win over Charlevoix since 2018.
Southeast & Border
Jackson (4-1) at Adrian (4-1) - Watch
Jackson has a chance to set up a Week 7 winner-take-all matchup with Chelsea for the Southeastern Conference White championship – a nice jump after finishing third last season. The Vikings haven’t defeated Chelsea since 2018 but lost by a respectable 17-0 last fall. But they can’t overlook Adrian, still enjoying its best season since 2016 despite falling to Chelsea 28-18 last week. The Maples would love to hand Jackson a loss tonight and cheer for the Vikings next week with a title share possible.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Michigan Center (4-1) at Grass Lake (4-1) - Watch, Flat Rock (4-1) at Milan (3-2) - Watch, Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Saline (5-0) - Watch, Hudson (5-0) at Blissfield (3-2) - Watch.
Parma Western (5-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-1)
We’re halfway through the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference schedule, and this has emerged as an important matchup with Parma Western tied with Hastings for first and Harper Creek only a game back after falling to the Saxons 34-6 last week. The Beavers struggled to 3-6 a year ago but already have avenged 2022 losses to Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central and Marshall – and Western defeated them 34-0 last season before Harper Creek went 2-1 to finish the fall. Western’s defense is a notable strength again, giving up only 37 points total this season despite taking on Dearborn Divine Child and Detroit Country Day over the first two weeks.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-0) at Edwardsburg (3-2) - Watch, Constantine (4-1) at Allegan (4-1) - Watch, St. Joseph (3-2) at Portage Northern (5-0) - Watch, Muskegon Catholic Central (3-2) at Schoolcraft (4-1) - Watch.
Gladstone (4-1) at Menominee (5-0)
This is the first of three games that will tell a lot about Menominee’s season as the Maroons enter this stretch alone atop the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper at 4-0 but with Gladstone, Week 7 opponent Negaunee and Week 8 opponent Kingsford all 3-1 in league play. While this is a new conference for the Maroons this season, they have plenty of history with Gladstone as both came from the Great Northern Conference – and Menominee had won three straight in the series before Gladstone’s 28-6 victory last fall. Gladstone’s lone defeat this year came Week 3 to Kingsford, 35-12.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (3-2) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-2) - Watch, Manistique (3-2) at Iron Mountain (5-0) - Watch, Marquette (2-2) at Escanaba (1-4) - Watch, Houghton (2-3) at Calumet (1-4) - Watch.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at East Grand Rapids (5-0)
We’ve been watching East Grand Rapids’ rejuvenation this fall with this among games circled for special attention, and Forest Hills Central’s 15-14 loss to Byron Center last week hardly lessens the intrigue. The Rangers are still among favorites statewide in Division 3, ranked No. 2, and East Grand Rapids is right behind them this week at No. 3 (while Byron Center is No. 2 in Division 2). The Ottawa-Kent Conference White title won’t be decided with this matchup, but it surely will be impacted – and the Rangers have defeated EGR all three times they’ve met since the Pioneers rejoined the division in 2020.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Allendale (5-0) at Spring Lake (4-1), Lowell (4-1) at Byron Center (5-0), Caledonia (4-1) at Hudsonville (4-1) - Watch, Zeeland East (4-1) at Muskegon (3-2).
Mendon (5-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0) - Watch
Movement on the overall 8-player enrollment list have made this a matchup we’ll see just this once this fall, as Mendon – last year’s Division 2 runner-up – has moved to Division 1 and is ranked No. 2, while Lenawee Christian is top-ranked in Division 2 after winning Division 1 titles in 2020 and 2021 and reaching a Regional Final last year. Still, many 8-player eyes will be watching. The Cougars have given up just 32 points this season and no more than 12 in a game, and that defense should be part of the key matchup within the matchup because Mendon is scoring 52 per contest and coming off an 80-point performance.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Carson City-Crystal (5-0) at Coleman (4-1) - Watch, Brown City (5-0) at Mayville (5-0) - Watch, St. Ignace (5-0) at Newberry (4-1), Norway (4-1) at Ontonagon (4-1) - Watch.
Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning 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. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.
PHOTO Muskegon Catholic Central and Orchard View players reach to get a hand on the ball during their meeting this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)