Drive for Detroit: Week 6 in Review

October 6, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Less than a month remains in the MHSAA football regular season, and 21 percent of the 11-player playoff field is filled after 53 teams earned qualifying wins during Week 6.

A number of others must turn their attention solely to the postseason after the whittling over the weekend of many league races to only a few remaining favorites. 

See below for some of the most significant stories we watched unfold during Week 6: 

Greater Detroit

Detroit Cass Tech 21, Detroit East English 16

Usually it’s the Cass Tech offense that gets the headlines. But in its toughest Detroit Public School League game of this season to date, the team’s defenders were the eventual heroes after the Technicians (6-0) went up two touchdowns early. East English (4-2) held Cass Tech to a season-low in points and scored the most the Technicians had given up since Oak Park put up 26 on opening night, but the Technicians held strong late to remain tied for first. Click for more from MLive-Detroit.

Also noted:

Walled Lake Central 38, Waterford Mott 20 – After two seasons of sub-.500 records, Walled Lake Central claimed a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association North title for the first time since 2010 while dropping second-place Mott to 4-2.

Birmingham Brother Rice 28, Orchard Lake St. Mary's 20 – The Warriors (6-0) claimed a share of their third straight Detroit Catholic League Central title in handing St. Mary’s (5-1) its lone loss.

Canton 40, Livonia Churchill 35 – Canton (5-1) claimed a share of its second straight KLAA South championship by dealing 2012 champ Churchill (5-1) its first loss.

Clinton 28, Morenci 26 – Clinton (6-0) stopped a 2-point conversion attempt during the final minute to extend its 24-game regular-season winning streak and deal Morenci (5-1) its first loss after its best start since 1997. 

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming 20, Beal City 0

These Ford Field regulars have played in different divisions in recent trips, but met in Gaylord for one of the most intriguing games of 2014. The good news for Beal City is the Aggies held Ishpeming (6-0) to its fewest points since 2012. But the Hematites also notched their second straight shutout, holding Beal City (5-1) scoreless for the first time since 2010. Ishpeming’s winning streak is up to 27 straight. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun.

Also noted:

Iron River West Iron County 40, Calumet 26 – West Iron (6-0) pulled within a win of a second-straight West Peninsula Athletic Conference title by escaping improved Calumet (3-3), which is tied for second place.

Crystal Falls Forest Park 36, Felch North Dickinson 14 – This rivalry game was a little less fierce than usual, as the Trojans (4-1) made it three straight over the Nordics (3-3).

Marquette 13, Kingsford 8 – The Redmen (5-1) kept pace in the Great Northern U.P. Conference to set up a Week 9 championship game with undefeated Menominee.

Sault Ste. Marie 28, Gladstone 22 – The Blue Devils (3-3) have stormed back from an 0-3 start, while Gladstone (3-3) has gone the opposite after starting 3-0. 


DeWitt 16, St. Johns 10

The Panthers’ run of 32 straight league wins (dating to 2008) was on the line midway through the fourth quarter as DeWitt trailed by a point. But back-up quarterback Chase McPhee – in for injured starter and Division I college prospect Jacob Johnson – led the Panthers (6-0) on a go-ahead touchdown drive that helped them clinch a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Red title while handing the rival Redwings (5-1) their lone loss. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Olivet 69, Stockbridge 48 – The Eagles (5-1) are at least partial owners of the inaugural Greater Lansing Activities Conference championship, with second-place Stockbridge (4-2) now needing help from Maple Valley to gather a share.

Jackson Lumen Christi 35, Coldwater 24 – Lumen Christi (6-0) pulled within a win of claiming the inaugural Interstate 8 Athletic Conference title while dropping Coldwater (5-1) into a tie for second place.

Clare 43, Gladwin 36 (OT) – Clare (4-2) hasn’t had too many scares in winning seven straight Jack Pine Conference championships, but survived one from the Flying G’s (4-2) to hold on to a tie for first.

Stanton Central Montcalm 28, Remus Chippewa Hills 27 – The Hornets (4-2) broke open the Central State Activities Association Gold race by handing formerly first-place Chippewa Hills (5-1) its first loss. 

Southwest and Border

Three Rivers 25, Vicksburg 12

The Wildcats’ 0-2 start is becoming a distant memory as they work deeper into the Wolverine B Conference East schedule. Three Rivers (4-2) has won four straight and set itself up to play Plainwell this week to possibly decide the eventual league champion. Vicksburg (4-2), meanwhile, was one of the hottest teams in the state to start the season and beat Three Rivers in 2013, but has now lost two straight. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Berrien Springs 26, Paw Paw 8 – The Shamrocks (4-2) suddenly are in the Wolverine B West conversation, having now won more games this fall than in each of the last two and with this impressive victory over Paw Paw (3-3).

Portage Central 35, Niles 13 – Reigning champion Portage Central (4-1) remains in striking distance in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West if first-place Stevensville Lakeshore falters, while Niles (4-2) remains in position to make the playoffs with a couple solid wins down the stretch.

Stevensville Lakeshore 21, Portage Northern 13 – This was key for the Lancers (5-1), who fell to Northern (4-2) by two points last season.

Union City 18, Jonesville 16 – The Chargers (6-0) have bounced back nicely from last season’s 3-6 finish and are tied for first in the Big 8 Conference. 

Lower Up North

Cadillac 21, Gaylord 20

The Big North Conference race opened up a bit last week (see next result below), but nearly got a lot more interesting with Gaylord (4-2) continuing to push the traditional favorites. Reigning champion and first-place Cadillac hadn’t had alcall this close (except, perhaps, needing a goalline stand in 2013 against Traverse City Central) over its two-season run atop the standings. Click for more from the Cadillac News

Also noted:

Petoskey 16, Traverse City Central 13 – The Northmen (5-1) now get Gaylord, but look best to benefit in the Big North if Cadillac falters; Central (4-2) also is tied for second and gets Cadillac in Week 9.

Boyne City 50, Maple City Glen Lake 0 – Boyne City (6-0) looks good to not only win the inaugural Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title, but also finish the regular season perfect for the first time since 2001.

Oscoda 21, Lincoln Alcona 16 – The Owls (3-3) are in position for their best finish since at least 2000 after delivering Alcona (3-3) its third straight loss.

Whittemore-Prescott 26, Tawas 16 – Although not a league game, this was a good measuring stick locally for the Cardinals (6-0), who continued their surge against solid Tawas (4-2). 

West Michigan

Holland West Ottawa 28, East Kentwood 21

While solid, these two haven’t been much in the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red title discussion in a while – but West Ottawa (5-1) has earned the opportunity to match favorite Rockford for the championship in Week 9 if it can survive Grandville and Hudsonville over the next few weeks. East Kentwood (5-1), still off to its best start since 2004, has a similarly tough road as it seeks a sixth win for the first time since that season. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.  

Also noted:

Hudsonville 27, Grand Haven 24 – After two straight one-point losses, Hudsonville (4-2) got on the positive end of a close finish and handed Grand Haven (3-3) its third straight defeat.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 44, Greenville 36 – Forest Hills Northern (6-0) earned the opportunity to face league co-leader Cedar Springs this week by dispatching another O-K Bronze contender in Greenville (4-2).

Hopkins 35, Grandville Calvin Christian 27 – Hopkins (5-1) paid back Calvin Christian (2-4) for a one-point loss in 2013 to remain in line for a fifth-straight O-K Silver title.

Lowell 20, Grand Rapids Christian 12 – The Red Arrows (6-0) continued to impress by claiming a close one over another O-K White power in Grand Rapids Christian (4-2). 

Bay and Thumb

Saginaw Swan Valley 14, Freeland 7

In what was and remains likely to be Swan Valley’s toughest regular-season game, the Vikings (6-0) showed plenty of mettle. The defense continues to rank among the most stellar in Michigan this season after giving up only one score to push this fall’s total points allowed to a mere 29 (Freeland, now 5-1, hadn’t scored fewer than 42). And of course standout running back Alex Grace showed, with 261 yards rushing and both of his team’s touchdowns. Click for more from The Saginaw News.

Also noted:

Burton Bendle 41, Flint Hamady 36 – The Tigers (3-3) have bounced back nicely from a 1-3 start, although Hamady (4-2) – itself impressive after going 0-8 a year ago – didn’t make this easy.

Frankenmuth 21, Birch Run 14 – The Eagles (5-1) likely now need help from Birch Run (5-1) against first-place Millington if the three are to share the Tri-Valley Conference East title.

Fenton 41, Clio 20 – The Tigers (6-0) remain tied for first in the Flint Metro League despite a challenge from much-improved Clio (3-3), which hadn’t won a game since 2009 before opening night.

Davison 34, Bay City Western 28 (OT) – The Cardinals kept their playoff hopes alive and also sit just a win back in the Saginaw Valley Association Blue standings. 


Rapid River 20, Cedarville 19

These two have built quite a rivalry in the Bridge Alliance Conference – Rapid River handed Cedarville its only regular season loss last season, beat Cedarville during the 2012 playoffs after losing to the Trojans by 60 five weeks earlier, and suffered their only regular-season loss to Cedarville during the 2011 season. Add this to the classics. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Also noted:

Lawrence 52, Deckerville 20 – Lawrence (6-0) is again looking like a strong possibility to drive to at least the MHSAA Semifinals; Deckerville (5-1) also had entered undefeated.

Engadine 28, Posen 26 – The Eagles (3-3) got a needed boost, especially with undefeated Bellaire up next.  

PHOTO: Detroit Cass Tech improved to 6-0 with a 21-16 win over Detroit East English in Detroit Public School League play. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit PSL.)

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.)