By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
In case you missed it: The rain showed up again this weekend, turning the Week 5 football schedule into a two-day trudge for about 200 teams across Michigan.
The midpoint of this regular season was filled with great rivalry matchups, many decided by only a few points and one that finished with a 3-2 score. We also saw marathons that had nothing to do with thunderstorms – like Livonia Franklin navigating three overtimes to get past rival Churchill and West Bloomfield needing a fourth to edge Lake Orion.
All of it served to set up what’s next to come – a raft of teams clinching league championships over the final month, and a number of teams this week joining our first playoff qualifiers of 2019: Berrien Springs Farmington, Flint Hamady and Jackson Lumen Christi.
"Drive for Detroit" is sponsored by MI Student Aid.
Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER Frankenmuth 23, Saginaw Swan Valley 20 For the second straight week the Eagles (5-0) sent another Tri-Valley Conference East co-leader into second place, this time Swan Valley with a win that took two days to complete. The Eagles now sit alone atop the East standings with Freeland, Swan Valley (3-2) and this week’s opponent Essexville Garber all tied for second with one league loss. Click for more from the Saginaw News and see below for highlights from WJRT.
— ABC12WJRT (@ABC12WJRT) September 28, 2019
Watch list Harbor Beach 29, Ubly 14 The Pirates (5-0) pulled within a win of claiming a piece of the Greater Thumb Conference East title after sharing it last season and winning it outright in 2017. Harbor Beach is putting up numbers like its MHSAA title contending days of last season and earlier this decade, outscoring opponents by a combined 226-31. Ubly (4-1) hadn’t given up more than 19 in a game until this one and was averaging 40.5 ppg.
Remember this one Goodrich 32, Ortonville Brandon 26 The Martians (4-1) set up a title-deciding matchup with Lake Fenton this week in the Flint Metro League “Lower” division by handing Ortonville Brandon (4-1) its first defeat. Brandon shared last year’s Metro title when the league was still unified for football before adding schools (including Goodrich) and splitting into divisions for this fall.
More shoutouts Fenton 35, Flint Kearsley 13 The Tigers have emerged as the lone first-place team in the Metro League “Upper” after sending Kearsley (4-1) into a tie for second with Linden and Flushing, Fenton’s opponents over the next two weeks, respectively. Saginaw Heritage 50, Midland Dow 15 The Hawks (3-2) just missed last season making the playoffs for the first time since 2007, but breaking a decade-long losing streak to Dow (2-3) might be the difference-maker this time.
HEADLINER West Bloomfield 59, Lake Orion 52 (4OT) The Oakland Activities Association Red has three teams at 4-1 midway through the season, and these are two of them after West Bloomfield prevailed in a matchup that tied for ninth highest-scoring overtime game in MHSAA history. The Lakers moved into first place alone in the league standings after coming back from a 10-point halftime deficit and with quarterback CJ Harris throwing for more than 200 yards and running for more than 190. Click for more from the Oakland Press.
Watch list Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 27, Macomb Dakota 21 The Big Reds (5-0) won their fifth straight over rival Dakota (3-2) and hold the top spot alone in the Macomb Area Conference Red as they look to continue their 19-game winning streak.
Remember this one Detroit Catholic Central 7, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 3 The Detroit Catholic League Central season is only a week old for DCC and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, but those teams now have a one-game lead with the Shamrocks (3-2) handing Rice (4-1) its first defeat and the Eaglets edging Warren De La Salle Collegiate 16-14.
More shoutouts Brownstown Woodhaven 21, Allen Park 20 The Warriors (5-0) shared the Downriver League title last season despite losing to eventual third-place Allen Park (3-2), and now sit atop the league alone by avenging that defeat. Grosse Pointe South 35, Port Huron 0 Since falling Week 1 to Birmingham Groves, South (4-1) hasn’t lost – or given up a point – and handed Port Huron (4-1) its first defeat this week.
HEADLINER Portland 21, Lansing Catholic 20 The Raiders (5-0) extended their Capital Area Activities Conference White winning streak to 24 in part by blocking an extra point during the final minutes that would’ve tied this game with the rival Cougars (4-1). The win also ran Portland’s streak in the series to five – something to keep in mind later as these two have met again in the playoffs the last two seasons. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.
Watch list East Lansing 21, DeWitt 2 The Trojans (4-1) followed up their impressive Week 4 win over Portage Northern with another that could eventually earn them a league title. DeWitt (3-2) was the reigning CAAC Blue champ and downed East Lansing 37-0 last season. But the Trojans now sit alone atop the standings after just two league games, having ended a DeWitt league winning streak that stretched back to 2008 and across the Panthers’ time in the CAAC Blue, Red and Gold.
Remember this one Clare 3, Sanford Meridian 2 It’s a good guess those involved will not soon forget being part of such a low-scoring game that also meant a ton in the Jack Pine Conference standings. Clare (5-0) now sits tied with Beaverton for first place after stopping two drives by Meridian (4-1) deep into Pioneers territory during the final 10 minutes.
More shoutouts Mason 46, St. Johns 7 The Bulldogs are 5-0 for the first time since 2009 and set up a CAAC Red decider this week against Fowlerville by shutting down the Redwings (3-2). Breckenridge 38, Merrill 0 Since falling to Beaverton in Week 1, Breckenridge also is unbeaten and has outscored its last four opponents by a combined 178-8. Merrill (3-2) was averaging 32 ppg entering the weekend.
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER Charlevoix 37, Frankfort 15 With four wins this season, Charlevoix (4-1) has equaled their totals from the last two years combined. This week’s victory over Frankfort (2-3) was the first since 2014 and kept the Red Rayders tied for first in the Northern Michigan Football League Leaders title race with Week 8 opponent Maple City Glen Lake. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
Watch list Johannesburg-Lewiston 26, Tawas 14 The Cardinals (5-0) earned arguably the best win of a fast start and got some final prep for back-to-back games with Charlevoix and NMFL Legacy leader Harbor Springs. Tawas (3-2), playing eight games, must win two of the next three to guarantee a return to the playoffs.
Remember this one Houghton Lake 34, Lake City 14 The Bobcats (3-2) fell to Highland Conference leader Beat City in their Week 2 league opener, but kept pace in second place by getting past the Trojans (2-3).
More shoutouts Cadillac 26, Lake Odessa Lakewood 6 Like Charlevoix discussed above, Cadillac (3-2) has won as many games this fall as the last two combined and has a chance to make a run at a playoff spot. Mancelona 46, Elk Rapids 6 The Ironmen (3-2) are in position to make a run at their best finish and first playoff appearance since 2014.
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER Jackson Lumen Christi 21, Marshall 14 The Titans (5-0) took a big step toward wrapping up the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title, bumping the Redhawks (4-1) out of a tie for first and with their final three league opponents a combined 4-11. Marshall kept pace for most of the game, with Lumen scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter before the teams held each other scoreless during the fourth.
Watch list Chelsea 13, Jackson 0 The Bulldogs (5-0) drew a step closer to clinching the Southeastern Conference White title by shutting out the reigning champion Vikings (3-2), which won the 2018 meeting 29-20. Chelsea’s final three league opponents are a combined 2-13.
Remember this one Hillsdale 10, Hudson 6 The Hornets (5-0) remain tied with Blissfield atop the Lenawee County Athletic Association standings after downing what has to be one of the state’s top 2-3 teams in Hudson, which has lost those games by a combined 32 points to teams a combined 13-2 this fall.
More shoutouts Pinckney 40, Ypsilanti Lincoln 14 The Pirates avenged last season’s loss to Lincoln to move to 4-1, eclipsing last year’s three victories while sending the Railsplitters to 2-3. Adrian Lenawee Christian 49, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 8 Lenawee Christian (4-1) handed NorthPointe (4-1) its first defeat, and aside from a Week 2 loss to Sand Creek has outscored its other four opponents by a combined 201-8.
HEADLINER Battle Creek Lakeview 35, Kalamazoo Central 7 The Spartans (5-0) clinched a share of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East title, avenging last season’s 21-13 loss to last season’s league champion Kalamazoo Central (2-3). Lakeview can finish an outright title run Week 8 against Kalamazoo Loy Norrix. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.
Watch list Portage Central 14, Stevensville Lakeshore 13 Both are chasing co-leaders Portage Northern and St. Joseph in the SMAC West and may not catch them. But both also are trying to extend playoff streaks – Central has made the postseason seven straight, and Lakeshore must win out to guarantee running their streak to 22 seasons. The Lancers are tied with Lumen Christi for the third-longest active playoff streak and sixth longest all-time.
Remember this one Schoolcraft 67, Delton Kellogg 14 The Eagles (5-0) are averaging nearly 60 points per game and turned up the offense to start the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley season against a playoff regular the last few seasons in Delton (3-2).
More shoutouts Benton Harbor 28, Battle Creek Central 21 After three straight playoff seasons and a run of state and national recognition, Benton Harbor fell to 3-5 last fall – but has bounced back and improved to 3-2 with this win. Cassopolis 33, Decatur 11 The Rangers (5-0) gave up their first points of the season, but against a Decatur team that despite falling to 2-3 has a solid chance to earn its seventh playoff berth in nine seasons.
HEADLINER L’Anse 14, Lake Linden-Hubbell 0 The Purple Hornets (4-1) will have to win at least one more game to have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2013, and their final four opponents are a combined 16-4. But L’Anse has set itself up for success just about as well as possible, this shutout its first in two seasons and against a Lakes team that at 3-2 is in a similar boat as it works to get back to the postseason. Click for more from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette.
Watch list Menominee 35, Boyne City 0 Last season was the rarest of rare for the Maroons, who finished below .500 and didn’t make the playoffs both for the first time since 1995. But Menominee has rebounded substantially, its only loss to a Kaukauna, Wis., team that is 5-1. Boyne City fell to 2-3, but is tied for the lead in the NMFL Legends division.
Remember this one Negaunee 40, Ishpeming 20 After a pair of losses to still-unbeaten Iron Mountain and Calumet to start the fall, Negaunee (3-2) has won three straight with its largest margin yet coming against the Hematites (3-2).
More shoutouts Sault Ste. Marie 24, Ogemaw Heights 12 The Blue Devils (4-1) are a win shy of equaling last year’s 5-4 finish and a candidate to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015, while Ogemaw Heights remains in the hunt for its first postseason berth since 2013. Escanaba 31, Kingsford 8 The Eskymos (4-1) bounced back from a painful loss to Marquette with their second-best defensive performance of the season in locking down the Flivvers (2-3).
HEADLINER Muskegon Oakridge 15, Montague 13 (OT) One of the best rivalries in Michigan just keeps getting better. This time, Oakridge (5-0) emerged victorious by stopping Montague’s 2-point conversion try to tie in overtime. This close finish follows Montague’s one-point win a year ago and is the fourth meeting over the last five between these two to be decided by seven points or fewer. Oakridge and Ravenna now sit atop the West Michigan Conference standings, with Montague (4-1) one game back. Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.
— STATE CHAMPS! (@statechampsnet) September 28, 2019
Watch list Byron Center 23, Zeeland West 22 We’ve talked up Byron Center (5-0) a bit in the early going this fall, but this win over Ottawa-Kent Conference Green powerhouse Zeeland West (4-1) is another major sign this could be a special season. This was the Bulldogs’ first win over the Dux since 2016, when Byron Center finished 10-2.
Remember this one Grandville 22, East Kentwood 21 The Bulldogs’ star continues to rise, and winning close against reigning O-K Red champion East Kentwood (3-2) could end up one the most important wins of the season as Grandville (5-0) looks to contend.
More shoutouts Zeeland East 42, Holland Christian 39 (OT) The two-time reigning champion Chix (4-1) just got past Holland Christian (2-3) to also remain undefeated in O-K Green play. Sparta 48, Grand Rapids West Catholic 7 The Spartans (4-1) took a serious step toward making the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and also can eye winning more than five games for the first time since 2011. Additionally, they hampered West Catholic’s hopes of extending its 16-year playoff streak. The Falcons (1-4) will have to win out to have the opportunity.
HEADLINER Colon 42, Climax-Scotts 0 This was our featured 8-player matchup in Friday’s preview, and as noted then Climax-Scotts (4-1) had beaten Colon in 11-straight 11-player games before Colon switched to 8-player beginning with the 2018 season. The Magi (5-0) showed their superiority in this format, leaping a major hurdle as they run for a second straight Southern Central Athletic Association A championship. Click for more from JoeInsider.com.
Watch list Mio 32, Hillman 14 The Thunderbolts have gone from 17 straight losses in 11-player to a 4-1 start in 8-player and handing Hillman (4-1) its first defeat of this fall. The Tigers had beaten Mio in four straight before they took a year off when Hillman moved to 8-player a year ago.
Remember this one Cedarville 48, Brimley 6 The Trojans (3-2) kept themselves in the mix in what looks like a strong Great Lakes Conference East, bouncing back from a loss to Rapid River by handing Brimley (4-1) its lone defeat.
More shoutouts Bellevue 30, Camden-Frontier 12 The Broncos gave themselves a chance in the SCAA A with a second-straight big win heading into this week’s matchup with Colon. Camden-Frontier (3-2) gets Colon in two weeks. Tekonsha 56, Waldron 54 (OT) Tekonsha (3-2) held on to stay on top in the SCAA B as it looks to repeat, with Week 7 opponent Burr Oak the only other team unbeaten in league play.
Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews 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 Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: Muskegon Oakridge's Leroy Quinn (20) breaks through the line during his team's 15-13 win over rival Montague. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)
We have our first league champions of the 2023 football season, and setups for several deciding matchups to come over the next week or two.
Explanations of many of those make up most of our “Week 6 Review” – but with playoff selection now just three weeks away, you’ll notice our attention has become focused as well on those races for the 32 qualifying spots in our MHSAA 11-player divisions and top 16s that make the 8-player brackets.
The state rankings mentioned frequently below are Michigan High School Football Coaches Association polls. The playoff-point averages are tracked by the MHSAA and used to determine the postseason fields – and discussion of movement on those lists will be prevalent through the rest of the regular season.
Bay & Thumb
HEADLINER Almont 30, Croswell-Lexington 20 Almont set itself up to clinch a share of the Blue Water Area Conference title this week or next by moving into first place alone in this matchup of co-leaders heading into the weekend. The Division 6 No. 2 Raiders (6-0) also tied their win totals of both of the last two seasons as they made another move toward potentially their best finish since 2019. Croswell-Lexington (5-1), No. 8 in Division 4, will be rooting for Richmond this week and Yale next to deal Almont a loss that would set up a possible shared league title. Click for more from the Port Huron Times Herald.
— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) September 30, 2023
Watch list Fenton 40, Linden 32 After sharing the Flint Metro League Stripes title with Linden and Swartz Creek last season, Fenton (5-1) clinched a share of this season’s championship and left Linden (4-2) holding out hope for a share if Flushing can upset the Tigers this week.
On the move Chesaning 28, Ovid-Elsie 19 Chesaning (5-1) can clinch a share of the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference title this week or next after stopping Ovid-Elsie (3-3) in its attempt to reset the standings. Marine City 36, Madison Heights Lamphere 13 Marine City (5-1) clinched a share of the Macomb Area Conference Silver championship with one more league game to play, sending Lamphere to 4-2. Grand Blanc 44, Lapeer 26 The Saginaw Valley Red is a two-team race with Grand Blanc (4-2) and Davison the only teams left undefeated in league play, and Lapeer (4-2) joining Saginaw Heritage with a second league loss and tied for third.
HEADLINER Macomb Dakota 31, Romeo 19 The Macomb Area Conference Red is one of the most monitored leagues in the state every season because of the powerful Division 1 contenders that traditionally emerge – and four have a chance to emerge as league champion this month. Romeo entered the weekend alone in first, but now four teams are 3-1 in league play with one game to go and co-champions guaranteed with those four teams facing off across two matchups this week. Click for more from the Macomb Daily.
Watch list Gibraltar Carlson 28, Trenton 23 Carlson (5-1) lined itself up to face Allen Park in Week 8 for some piece of the Downriver League title, as those two teams are left as undefeated in league play – although Trenton (4-2) could break things up a bit as the Trojans face Allen Park this week.
On the move Belleville 35, Westland John Glenn 8 Belleville (6-0) and Week 8 opponent Dearborn Fordson remain alone atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East after the Tigers dealt John Glenn (5-1) this first loss. Clarkston 44, West Bloomfield 36 After an 0-2 start, Clarkston (4-2) has won four straight and set itself up to face Lake Orion this week for a winner-take-all matchup in the Oakland Activities Association Red. The win also pushed the Wolves from 10 spots behind West Bloomfield (4-2) to three ahead on the Division 1 playoff points list. Detroit Voyageur 34, Detroit Edison 32 The Cougars (4-2) bounced back from a Week 5 loss to deal a second straight to Edison (4-2), which entered the week ranked No. 9 in the Division 6 coaches poll. The win also brought Voyageur back into the Division 6 playoff picture at No. 25 on the playoff points list after it had fallen back to No. 34.
HEADLINER Corunna 35, Goodrich 7 This has to rank at or near the top of the wins Corunna (6-0) has piled up over its recent resurgence, as it not only guaranteed the Cavaliers a share of the Flint Metro League Stars title but also handed the first loss to the No. 2-ranked team in Division 4. Corunna, ranked No. 5 in Division 5, led 28-0 at halftime on the way to its first win over the Martians (5-1) since 2016. Click for more from the Flint Journal.
A Flint Metro League-Stars collision! Both teams came in undefeated on the season, but Goodrich had a number on the Cavs since 2016.
Corunna would dominate on home turf, and take first place in the league. Final score, 35-7. pic.twitter.com/SSLb3VkGZz
— Miriam Bingham (@MiriamBingham) September 30, 2023
Watch list Pewamo-Westphalia 27, Fowler 14 After losing its opener to still-undefeated North Muskegon, P-W has won its last five and sits atop the Central Michigan Athletic Conference standings with two league games to play. Fowler (5-1) had defeated the Pirates last season to create a three-way CMAC shared title between those two and Laingsburg.
On the move DeWitt 41, Grand Ledge 38 The last two meetings between these two have come down to seven points or fewer, with last year’s Grand Ledge win helping the Comets (5-1) share the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title and this year’s DeWitt win knocking Grand Ledge out of first place while keeping the Panthers (3-2) in the mix. Beal City 30, Evart 16 The matchup for first place in the Highland Conference went to Beal City (6-0), which can clinch with another win over the next two weeks while second-place Evart (4-2) will need help to get a share. New Lothrop 34, Montrose 8 New Lothrop’s MMAC title hopes dimmed with a Week 2 loss to Chesaning, but the Hornets (5-1) are up to No. 9 in Division 8 playoff-points average with two wins over Division 6 schools and this one over the Division 7 Rams (4-2).
Northern Lower Peninsula
HEADLINER Charlevoix 30, Elk Rapids 7 The Division 7 No. 9 Rayders (5-1) continued to roll through Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders play, clinching a share of the league title with their fifth-straight win overall this season. Charlevoix can finish the championship outright in Week 8 at Tawas, and its final three regular-season opponents are combined 3-15 – making a fourth-straight season reaching eight wins look like a growing possibility. Click for more from the Petoskey News-Review.
Watch list Petoskey 36, Cadillac 21 There’s definitely work to do over the next three weeks for Petoskey (4-2) to make the playoffs, but the Northmen have guaranteed their best finish since 2018 – the last time they’d defeated Cadillac (3-3). They sit No. 23 on the Division 3 playoff points list.
On the move Benzie Central 31, Boyne City 24 The Huskies (3-3) will need Tawas’ help to catch a share of that Leaders title, but in avenging last season’s 51-35 loss to Boyne City (2-4) they’ve moved closer to possibly earning their best finish since 2018. Lake City 28, McBain 22 (2OT) The Trojans (4-2) defeated McBain (4-2) by six points for the second-straight season, this time helping them hold steady at the No. 23 spot on the Division 6 playoff points list. Ogemaw Heights 47, Flint Powers Catholic 9 Ogemaw Heights (5-1) ran its winning streak to five as it heads into this week’s NMFC Legends decider against Kingsley.
Southeast & Border
HEADLINER Michigan Center 32, Grass Lake 27 Michigan Center’s next two weeks will be massive, but the Cardinals earned that billing. By avenging last season’s 36-29 loss to Grass Lake (4-2), Michigan Center (5-1) upped what’s at stake in this week’s matchup with Napoleon as those share the lead in the Cascades Conference East – and with third-place Manchester waiting in Week 3 with its only loss to Napoleon. Click for more from JTV.
Watch list Parma Western 21, Battle Creek Harper Creek 6 The Panthers (6-0) also have set up a matchup of league co-leaders, downing third-place Harper Creek (4-2) on the way to this week’s meeting with Hastings for first in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference.
On the move Jackson Northwest 23, Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard 14 Northwest (3-3) has made massive strides the last two seasons, and this win has to rank up there as AAGR (5-1) had dominated its first five opponents. Adrian 22, Jackson 9 This Adrian win, along with Chelsea’s over Tecumseh, gave Chelsea a share of the Southeastern Conference White title – although if Jackson (4-2) defeats Chelsea this week, those two and possibly Adrian all could share the championship. Saline 43, Ann Arbor Huron 7 Saline (6-0) held onto its one-game lead in the SEC Red and sent Huron (3-3) into a third-place tie. The Hornets finish the league schedule with the seventh and eighth-place teams as they look to claim what would be a ninth Red title over the last decade but after finishing second a year ago.
HEADLINER Constantine 50, Allegan 14 Five of six teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore are .500 or better, and Constantine is leading the way at 5-1 and as one of three contenders that have started league play 2-0. The Division 6 No. 7 Falcons scored their season high in bringing some separation to the league standings by sending Allegan to 4-2. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) September 30, 2023
Watch list Niles Brandywine 30, Dowagiac 7 Brandywine may be only 2-4, but the Bobcats moved up from No. 46 to 33 on the Division 7 playoff-points list by stunning Division 5 Dowagiac (4-2). Brandywine has another Division 5 opponent next in Benton Harbor.
On the move Berrien Springs 35, Buchanan 14 This win, combined with Brandywine’s over Dowagiac, put Berrien Springs (3-2) alone in first place in the Lakeland Conference – and after a 20-14 loss to Buchanan (3-3) last season cost the Shamrocks the league title. Richland Gull Lake 27, Benton Harbor 16 Gull Lake (4-2) already has bettered its record from a year ago, and with two wins over the next three weeks would post its best finish since 2009. Paw Paw 35, Edwardsburg 0 The Red Wolves (6-0) ended a 15-game losing streak against the rival Eddies (3-3) sending them out of first place in the Wolverine Conference while maintaining a tie for the top spot with Niles.
HEADLINER Menominee 44, Gladstone 26 One down, two to go as Western Peninsula Athletic Conference leader Menominee began a difficult three-game run against the three teams that entered the weekend tied for second in the league. Following Landan Bardowski among others, the Maroons (6-0) scored the most points Gladstone had given up in a game since 2017 – although Gladstone (4-2) also did some fine work offensively against a Menominee defense that had allowed just six points total over the first five weeks. Click for more from RRN Sports.
Trevor Theuerkauf passes to Aaron Brunelle for the Menominee touchdown tonight against Gladstone. pic.twitter.com/u1XZ8PGE4I
— Jack Hall (@JackHall600) September 30, 2023
Watch list Marquette 38, Escanaba 20 After playing an old rival as part of a new league, Marquette (3-2) is tied for second in the Big North Conference but more notably has equaled last season’s win total and sits among the top 32 on the Division 3 playoff-points list for the second-straight week.
On the move Calumet 17, Houghton 16 The Copper Kings (2-4) broke a three-game losing streak and now have 10 spots to climb to qualify for the Division 6 playoffs, but with some valuable opportunities to do so. Iron Mountain 55, Manistique 14 The Mountaineers (6-0) clinched a share of the West-PAC Iron championship with another big performance; they have won all of their games by at least 40 points. Sault Ste. Marie 50, Maple City Glen Lake 7 Sault Ste. Marie (4-2) bounced back from a Week 5 loss to Marquette to hold steady among the top 32 on the Division 4 playoff-points list, while Glen Lake (3-3) remains among the qualifying group in Division 8.
HEADLINER Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 20, East Grand Rapids 0 There was notable reshuffling in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White over the weekend, as the league has six teams 4-2 or better and four tied for first thanks in part to FHC’s shutout of the Pioneers. The Rangers (5-1), No. 2 in Division 3, now share the top spot with EGR (5-1), Lowell and Byron Center. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Check out the moments from Forest Hills Central's win over East Grand Rapids on September 29th, 2023! JT Hartman's performance led to a rushing touchdown and an fumble return for a touchdown in the 20-0 victory. Powered by @lawrencetechu. Visit https://t.co/Uq6Fmk66eG pic.twitter.com/1Yp6eDpknW
— STATE CHAMPS! Michigan (@statechampsmich) October 1, 2023
Watch list Spring Lake 35, Allendale 28 The O-K Blue has five teams at 4-2 or better, with Grand Rapids West Catholic alone at the top after Spring Lake (5-1) rebounded from a Week 5 loss to GRWC to hand Allendale (5-1) this defeat. But Spring Lake also just became Allendale’s biggest fan – Allendale gets West Catholic this week.
On the move Lowell 38, Byron Center 28 Matching Forest Hills Central, Lowell also fought back into the O-K Blue race as these two join FHC and EGR as 3-1 in the league and 5-1 overall. Muskegon 49, Zeeland East 14 The Big Reds (4-2) have won four straight to start the O-K Green schedule and set up this week’s meeting with co-leader Zeeland West. Impressive as well, Muskegon’s last three opponents, including East, are 4-2. Caledonia 30, Hudsonville 0 Division 2 top-ranked Caledonia (5-1) has followed up its loss to Rockford two weeks ago with two power-packed wins, in this one handing Hudsonville (4-2) its first shutout since 2012.
HEADLINER Adrian Lenawee Christian 73, Mendon 20 Lenawee Christian (6-0) put up 63 of those points in the first half, fully justifying its top ranking in Division 2 – and the Cougars could be considered the top team in all of 8-player as Division 1 top-ranked St. Ignace joined No. 2 Mendon (5-1) in losing for the first time over the weekend. Sam Lutz ran for four touchdowns and threw for four more for the Cougars, while Jack McCaw ran for 210 yards and three scores for Mendon. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.
Watch list Newberry 46, St. Ignace 40 Newberry (5-1) has won a playoff game each of the last three seasons and is hardly an unknown – but St. Ignace (5-1) had won all but one of its games this fall by double digits, making this an even more impressive result.
On the move Brown City 60, Mayville 0 This was another matchup of undefeated teams, and Brown City now sits alone atop the North Central Thumb League Stars with Mayville (5-1) and Kingston a game back. Crystal Falls Forest Park 36, Lake Linden-Hubbell 28 With Lake Linden-Hubbell (3-3) dealing Powers North Central a loss two weeks ago, the Great Lakes Eight Conference West has a different look at the top for the first time in a while with Norway leading the way but Forest Park (5-1) also in the mix if the Knights trip up. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 25, Fulton 18 The Irish (6-0) have a one-game lead on Portland St. Patrick in the Mid-State Activities Conference with this win over Fulton (4-2) joining a Week 3 one-pointer over the Shamrocks as key reasons why.
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.
PHOTOS (Top) Grand Blanc's Jimmy Lacy (13) applies pressure as Lapeer takes to the air Friday. (Middle) Negaunee's Ian Engstrom (5) tries to catch a pass just a little bit out of his reach. (Top photo by Terry Lyons, middle photo by Cara Kamps.)