Drive for Detroit: Week 6 Preview

October 3, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We’ve begun the second half of the football regular season, and predictably every week will include increasingly important games as league titles and playoff qualifiers are determined.

We’ve highlighted a number of matchups below that could end up deciding league title races. Meanwhile, four teams qualified last week for the 11-player playoffs after starting 5-0 with eight-game schedules. Another 64 can join the field with a win this weekend.

A total of 28 games will be streamed live tonight on, including eight highlighted below. Click for the full schedule.

"Drive for Detroit" is sponsored by MI Student Aid.

Bay & Thumb

Goodrich (4-1) at Lake Fenton (3-2)

The winner earns a share of the inaugural Flint Metro League Lower division championship. Both joined the league this fall after previously playing in the Genesee Area Conference Red – Goodrich won that league’s final title in 2018 after Lake Fenton was the champ in 2016 and 2017. Don’t be shocked if this is close. The Martians have hung on after opening this season with a one-point loss to Flint Powers, claiming wins over Linden and Ortonville Brandon by a touchdown or less. Lake Fenton similarly knows how to navigate a close game. The Blue Devils opened with losses to Cadillac by 10 and Ida by six, but won their next three games by six, two and one point. 

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Sanford Meridian (4-1) at Beaverton (5-0), Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (4-1), Essexville Garber (4-1) at Frankenmuth (5-0), North Branch (4-1) at Richmond (5-0).

Greater Detroit

Belleville (5-0) at Dearborn Fordson (5-0)

The annual meeting between these two – most recently in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East – eventually has decided three straight league titles, and there’s a chance that will be the case again when all is said and done this fall. These two and Livonia Franklin are all undefeated and tied for first in the East. Belleville is seeking its third straight league title, and hence third straight win over Fordson after prevailing 29-26 a year ago. Both are piling up points again, each averaging more than 40 per game. 

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Oak Park (4-1) at Birmingham Seaholm (4-1), Detroit Martin Luther King (3-2) at Detroit Denby (5-0), Southfield Arts & Technology (3-2) at Clarkston (2-3), Hartland (3-2) at Plymouth (5-0).


Midland (5-0) at Mount Pleasant (5-0)

The winner will move into first place alone in the Saginaw Valley League Red. The reigning champion Oilers have won 19 of their last 20 games going back to midway through 2017 and last season beat Midland 40-20 in the game that eventually decided the league title. This time they couldn’t be much more numerically even – the Oilers have scored 200 points and given up 38, and the Chemics have a 203-39 combined scoring margin. Midland also has beaten the only other team in the league with an overall winning record, Saginaw Heritage (3-2).

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Mason (5-0) at Fowlerville (5-0), Holt (3-2) at East Lansing (4-1), Remus Chippewa Hills (2-3) at Central Montcalm (5-0), New Lothrop (5-0) at Durand (3-2).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Johannesburg-Lewiston (5-0) at Charlevoix (4-1)

While this matchup means nothing toward a league title, it should serve as a measuring stick for some of the best small-school teams just south of the Mackinac Bridge. Both are undefeated in their leagues – Charlevoix in the Northern Michigan Football League Leaders and the Cardinals in the NMFL Legacy. The Rayders should have a little extra incentive as well as they continue their best season since 2016 and lost to Johannesburg-Lewiston by a combined 62-7 over the last two years.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Traverse City St. Francis (3-2) at Boyne City (2-3), Evart (3-2) at Houghton Lake (3-2), Oscoda (5-0) at Tawas (3-2), Frankfort (2-3) at Mancelona (3-2).

Southeast & Border

Hillsdale (5-0) at Blissfield (4-1)

This is another matchup of teams tied for first place in their league. Hillsdale is in a bit more familiar spot having shared the Lenawee County Athletic Association title last season with Brooklyn Columbia Central. But Blissfield already has beaten BCC (for the third straight season) and will try to continue its charge with a first win over the Hornets since 2016. Hillsdale won those last two meetings by 10 in 2018 and eight the year before.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Springport (3-2) at Jonesville (4-1), Sand Creek (4-1) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (3-2), Riverview (3-2) at Carleton Airport (4-1), Britton Deerfield (3-2) at Clinton (5-0).

Southwest Corridor

Cassopolis (5-0) at White Pigeon (5-0)

The co-leaders in the Southwest 10 Conference have taken vastly different paths on the way. Cassopolis is the reigning league champion and has clinched the conference titles three of the last four seasons. The 11 points Decatur scored last week were the first the Rangers have given up this fall. White Pigeon made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2009, which also was its first winning season since 2014. But the Chiefs have been similarly stellar on defense giving up only 40 points over five games, and the opportunity to take the league lead by breaking a nine-game losing streak to Cassopolis should further feed the team’s motivation. 

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Schoolcraft (5-0) at Constantine (4-1), Gobles (3-2) at Lawton (5-0), Coldwater (4-1) at Marshall (3-2), St. Joseph (5-0) at Portage Central (3-2).

Upper Peninsula

Iron Mountain (5-0) at Calumet (5-0)

This is the first of four straight league games for both, and a title won’t be decided tonight. But this has been one of the most highly-anticipated matchups in the Upper Peninsula since Week 1. Calumet won last season’s Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper title, and steadily earned a share of first place so far this fall with wins over Ishpeming Westwood and Negaunee sticking out. The Mountaineers gave notice as contenders quickly with wins over Negaunee and Westwood as well the first two weeks, and they haven’t allowed a point over the last three. Last year’s meeting ended with a 24-0 Calumet win, but it’s fair to expect a closer and yet still low-scoring result in the rematch.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Escanaba (4-1) at Menominee (4-1), Ishpeming Westwood (3-2) at Hancock (4-1), Negaunee (3-2) at L'Anse (4-1). SATURDAY West Iron County (4-1) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (3-2).

West Michigan

Hudsonville (4-1) at Grandville (5-0)

These two and Rockford are off to 2-0 starts in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red. Hudsonville is a one-point Week 2 loss to Holt from undefeated and earned perhaps its best win so far last week, 28-16 over Jenison. Grandville hung on for a one-point win over East Kentwood last week, but its body of work continues to look better and better with Week 3 opponent Forest Hills Central a contender in the O-K White and Week 2 opponent East Lansing arguably the top team in the entire Lansing area this fall. 

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at Cedar Springs (4-1), Ravenna (4-1) at Montague (4-1), Allendale (3-2) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (4-1), Ludington (4-1) at Muskegon Orchard View (5-0).


Martin (5-0) at Bridgman (5-0)

Just about everything about this is new. These two are both unbeaten in the first-year Southwest Michigan 8-Man Football League, both playing their first season of 8-player. They did play each other in 11-player last year for the first time, at least as far back as tracks for Bridgman (1957), with Martin a 13-8 winner.  The Clippers were 11-player playoff qualifiers last year, but the switch has really helped the Bees turn things around – they had gone a combined 1-16 over the last two seasons. Martin has played one more league game than Bridgman, so a win tonight would clinch the Clippers a share of the league title.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Gaylord St. Mary (5-0) at Suttons Bay (5-0), Cedarville (3-2) at Pickford (4-1), Climax-Scotts (4-1) at Tekonsha (3-2). SATURDAY Crystal Falls Forest Park (4-1) at Powers North Central (5-0).

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 and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTO: Mount Pleasant, here against Bay City John Glenn during a Week 3 win, is off to a 5-0 start and faces Midland in one of the state’s headlining games this weekend. (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.