Drive for Detroit: Week 6 in Review

October 2, 2012

In coachspeak, it's referred to as "sense of urgency."

And the numbers back up why that phrase is thrown around frequently when the calendar turns to October.

After Week 6, there are 57 teams qualified for the MHSAA football playoffs – out of 73 total that had opportunities last weekend to earn automatic berths. And 101 can join that fortunate group with victories Friday or Saturday.

Those totals together would make up more than half of this season's playoff field, and with chances running out for teams sitting on the edge. Here's a look at how some of those teams kept their destinies in their own hands, with only three games to play before the postseason begins.

Greater Detroit

Orchard Lake St. Mary 24, Birmingham Brother Rice 14

Make that wins the last two weeks over the reigning Division 1 (Detroit Cass Tech) and Division 2 (Brother Rice) champions by the reigning MHSAA Division 3 champ Eaglets. Running back Grant Niemiec continues to build on that strong championship performance, and ran for three scores in this Detroit Catholic League Central clash. Click to read more from the Detroit Free Press.

Also noted:

Ann Arbor Pioneer 14, Temperance Bedford 13 – The Pioneers took a solid step toward repeating as Southeastern Conference Red champions with their second one-point win in league play.

Saline 20, Monroe 13 – Saline had lost all three games against Monroe since they both moved into the SEC Red, and looks good for its best season since 2008.

Brownstown Woodhaven 64, Wyandotte Roosevelt 36 – Although not massive, call this an upset nonetheless as the Warriors had lost six straight to their Downriver League foes, who were 5-0.

Romeo 21, Port Huron 20 – Romeo stayed alive for an automatic playoff berth at 3-3 by beating the Macomb Area Conference White co-leader.

Thumb and Bay

Flint Powers 42, Davison 28

The Chargers won a big one in the wake of retired coach Jack Pratt’s recent death; his funeral was Friday morning. These two and Carman-Ainsworth were all undefeated in the Saginaw Valley Association South heading into the night, and Powers’ win set up this week’s game against FCA as the league title decider. Click to read more from the Flint Journal.

Also noted:

Lake Fenton 34, Goodrich 7 – The Blue Devils continue to roll in the Genesee Area Conference Red, outscoring league opponents 190-21.

Bay City Western 28, Midland Dow 20 – The Warriors needed this one to keep pace with that other Midland team, the Chemics, with whom Western is tied atop the SVA North.

Lapeer West 27, Holly 21 (OT) – Lapeer West moved to 4-1, just barely, and remains a game behind Swartz Creek in the Flint Metro League standings.

Hemlock 19, Saginaw Swan Valley 7 – The Huskies have emerged as tops in the Tri-Valley Conference Central, just in time to play second-place Freeland this week to decide the title.


Hartland 35, Brighton 14

The Eagles are quickly becoming one of the best stories in the state this fall, and are off to a 6-0 start for the first time since, well, potentially ever (at least since 1950, the start of the team’s records at They are tied for first in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West, with co-leader Grand Blanc up next. Click to read more from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

Also noted:

Ithaca 33, Carrollton 21 – Make it 34 straight wins for the Yellowjackets, tied for sixth in MHSAA football history, and with no one else likely to slow them during the regular season.

Lansing Everett 6, East Lansing 0 – The Vikings are one game through a tough three-game string that will determine if they go 9-0 and win the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue.

Lansing Sexton 21, Holt 7 – Sexton’s playoff hopes appeared done and Holt’s revived, but both are now 3-3 although still facing tough must-win games down the stretch.

Beal City 43, Lake City 8 – Both were undefeated coming into the weekend, but it appears the Aggies will cruise to the Highland Conference title.

West Michigan

Lowell 42, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 24

Forest Hills Central carried a lead into the fourth quarter, but Lowell intercepted four passes during the final period to remain tied for first atop the O-K White. Circle the Week 9 game against Grand Rapids Christian as the likely decider of this league’s title. Click to read more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Hopkins 34, Grandville Calvin Christian 21 – The Vikings are 6-0 and clinched a share of the O-K Silver by beating the second-place Squires.

Montague 22, Shelby 15 (OT) – Shelby had the highest playoff point average among likely Division 6 teams, and Montague was 13th; this should change that up dramatically.

Fruitport 21, Grant 14 – The Trojans also are 6-0 and now owners of a share of the Lakes Eight Conference title thanks to this win over second-place Grant.

Rockford 24, Holland West Ottawa 14 – The Rams have seemingly laid low after a 1-2 start, but of course you shouldn't forget about them; Rockford is 4-2 and tied for first in the O-K Red.

Lower Up North

Traverse City Central 42, Traverse City West 28

Central took one more giant step toward winning its first league title since these schools were still one, in 1996. The Trojans now sit atop the Big North Conference, needing only a victory over winless Gaylord in Week 8 to clinch a share of the title. This win also earned Central the Nowak-Olson Memorial Trophy. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Grayling 41, Elk Rapids 22 – This helped sort out the top of the Lake Michigan Conference, with Grayling moving to 6-0 to stay tied for first with Boyne City.

Mancelona 36, Pickford 8 – These teams were both 5-0 entering this nonconference matchup, but Mancelona’s defense kept to its eight-points-given-up per-game average.  

Maple City Glen Lake 29, Kingsley 7 – Glen Lake is in line for its first league title since 2001 after knocking off the proposed favorite in 4-2 Kingsley.

West Branch Ogemaw Heights 24, Cadillac 21 – Ogemaw Heights needed a win to get to 3-3 and stay alive for an automatic playoff bid, and for all intents and purposes knocked Cadillac (4-2) out of contention for a possible share of the Big North Conference title.  

Southwest and Border

Schoolcraft 19, Battle Creek Pennfield 16

Schoolcraft’s first win over Pennfield since 2009 possibly lines it up for a first 9-0 regular season since 2001, and nearly assures the Eagles will win the Kalamazoo Valley Association title as they’ve now beaten all three teams tied for second place. Schoolcraft didn’t take the lead in this one until 1:34 remained in the fourth quarter. Click to read more in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Buchanan 28, Niles Brandywine 22 – The Bucks look good to finish first in the Lakeland Conference with one league game to play.

Hartford 27, Lawton 24 – Not much has cleared up in the Southwestern Athletic Conference South, where these two are among four tied for second in a league that has five teams 5-1 or better overall.

Climax-Scotts 7, Pittsford 6 – These two are the best in the Southern Central Athletic Association, with Climax-Scotts just one point better in this game that should eventually decide the champion.

Mattawan 49, St. Joseph 14 – The Wildcats moved to 6-0 and kept pace with Stevensville Lakeshore atop the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference West; circle Oct. 12, the night they meet.

Upper Peninsula

Cedarville 72, Rapid River 12

For the second straight week, Cedarville downed in a big way another contender in the Bridge Alliance 8-Man Conference, this time reigning MHSAA 8-Player runner-up Rapid River. Todd Hecht scored on two runs, two catches and a fumble return. Click to read more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Also noted:

Iron Mountain North Dickinson 55, Crystal Falls Forest Park 27 – No league standing was at stake as they play in difference conferences, but North Dickinson did end an eight-game losing streak against the Trojans.

L’Anse 36, Ironwood 28 (OT) – Only 2-7 a year ago, the Purple Hornets are 6-0 and contending for the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title with Eagle River Northland Pines (Wis.).

Iron Mountain 12, Manistique 7 – Both are still alive for the playoffs, but this was key; Iron Mountain moved to 4-2 while Manistique fell to 3-3.

Kingsford 21, Marquette 14 – The Flivvers have won both of their first two Great Northern Upper Peninsula Conference games by seven or fewer points, but look like the favorites with two to go.

Trophy Games

Every week, the MHSAA highlights Trophy Games from around the state. Here are a few more to join the Traverse City West/Central matchup above:

Friendship Trophy: This replaced the Oil Can, which originated in 1930, as the award played for annually by Sparta and Coopersville. Final: Coopersville 35, Sparta 14.

Bobcat-Bulldog Award: Petersburg-Summerfield had claimed this the last four seasons against rival Ottawa Lake Whiteford. Final: Whiteford 40, Petersburg-Summerfield 26.

Hinker Bell: Menominee has now held onto this trophy against Escanaba for 14 straight seasons. Final: Menominee 42, Escanaba 17.

PHOTO: Orchard Lake St. Mary running back Parker McInnis pulls away from Brother Rice defenders Jason Alessi (4) and Lucas Cherocci (46) during this weekend's 24-14 Eaglets win. (Click to see more at Terry McNamara Photography.)

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)