Drive for Detroit: Week 5 in Review

September 24, 2018

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.

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.

Greater Detroit

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.

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.

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.

Southwest Corridor

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.

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.

Upper Peninsula

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).

West Michigan

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.

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.

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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.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)