Drive for Detroit: Week 6 in Review

October 2, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

New powers continued to rise all over Michigan during Week 6 of the football regular season. 

A few did so with spectacular upsets, while others broke streaks that had grown to include multiple seasons – or in one case, stretched nearly two decades.

The Drive for Detroit report powered by MI Student Aid details the most intriguing 11-player results from eight regions across our state plus the best from 8-player every week – and this week’s headliners are the most riveting, as a group, so far in 2017. 

Bay & Thumb

Midland 39, Davison 25

Among the state’s elite in the near past, Midland entered this fall with two 4-5 finishes over the last three seasons (surrounding a 7-3 in 2015). But this win made lots of noise as Davison (5-1) hadn’t lost a regular-season game since 2015 and shut out the Chemics 20-0 last fall. Midland (5-1) and Lapeer now sit atop the Saginaw Valley League Blue standings and meet Week 8. Click for more from the Midland Daily News.

Also noted:

Goodrich 41, Corunna 27 – The Martians (5-1) held onto their chance to grab a share of the Genesee Area Conference Red title and will cheer for Corunna (3-3) this week as the Cavaliers take on leader Lake Fenton.

Richmond 17, Almont 7 – The Blue Water Area Conference is down to a two-team race as Richmond (6-0) and Algonac are in first and Almont (4-2) has lost to both; the leaders meet in Week 8.

Flint Carman-Ainsworth 41, Bay City Central 31 – These Cavaliers (4-2) have won three straight to move into first place alone in the SVL Red, with Central (3-3) and Week 8 opponent Midland Dow a win back.

Unionville-Sebewaing 30, Reese 14 – USA (4-2) put itself in position to create a two or even three-way tie for the Greater Thumb Conference West title with leader Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker up next; Reese (3-3) is fighting for a playoff spot. 

Greater Detroit

Belleville 35, Dearborn Fordson 7

Belleville not only clinched a share of the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red title and earned a playoff berth by downing the co-leading Tractors (5-1), but the Tigers (6-0) make an even louder statement as a contender in Division 1. They are 6-0 for the first time since 2002 after also making the playoffs the last two seasons, and they’ve now given up just 13 points over their last five games. Fordson hadn’t given up more than 14 in a game this season. Click for more from the Detroit News.

Also noted:

Detroit Martin Luther King 27, Detroit Denby 6 – The Crusaders (5-1) earned a share of the Detroit Public School League Black division title while handing Denby (4-1) its first loss in league play and overall.

Rochester Adams 38, Southfield Arts & Technology 14 – The Highlanders (5-1) remain part of a three-team first-place tie in the Oakland Activities Association Red after handing this loss to what has to be one of the best 3-3 teams in the state in the Warriors.

Warren DeLaSalle 52, Dearborn Divine Child 14 – Both could finish first in their respective Detroit Catholic League divisions, and DeLaSalle (5-1) if it wins out would have little argument as the overall best after handing Divine Child (5-1) its only loss so far.

Romulus 31, Redford Thurston 22 – The Eagles (4-2), which finished second in the WWAC Red last year, clinched a share of the WWAC Blue title while sending Thurston (4-2) into a tie for second place


Olivet 34, Lake Odessa Lakewood 6

Lakewood (5-1) had won 15 straight league games and the last two championships after Olivet won the first-ever Greater Lansing Activities Conference title in 2014. The Eagles (6-0) have been on the verge though, with their only league losses the last two seasons to the Vikings. Olivet can clinch the championship outright this week against Stockbridge. Click for more from FOX17.

Also noted:

Alma 21, Freeland 7 – The Panthers (6-0) broke a four-game losing streak to the Falcons (4-2), keeping alive a Tri-Valley Conference Central title showdown possibility against Saginaw Swan Valley in Week 8.

Belding 35, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 21 – The Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver race got whittled down this weekend and Belding (5-1) remains one of two co-leaders, while NorthPointe (5-1) is poised to claim a share if both falter over the final three games.

Breckenridge 27, Carson City-Crystal 26 – The Huskies (5-1) remain perfect in the Mid-State Activities Conference since joining the league last season; a win by Carson City-Crystal (3-3) would’ve created a three-way tie for first.

Pewamo-Westphalia 32, Laingsburg 11 – The Pirates (5-1) got one win away from clinching a third straight Central Michigan Athletic Conference title by upending the second-place Wolfpack (4-2).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Maple City Glen Lake 48, Frankfort 34

A five-point loss to Frankfort cost Glen Lake (3-2) the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title in 2016, even as the Lakers went on to play at Ford Field and finish runner-up in Division 6. But they clinched a share of the 2017 league title with this victory, and with only winless Mancelona standing in the way of an outright championship. Frankfort (4-2) had won 11 straight league games dating to the start of the 2014 NMFC schedule. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Boyne City 34, Kalkaska 13 – The Ramblers (6-0) held on to a share of first place in the NMFC Legends division by handing Kalkaska (3-3) its third straight defeat.

Traverse City St. Francis 49, Grayling 22 – The Gladiators (6-0) kept pace with Boyne City, handing Grayling (4-2) a second straight loss as the leaders continued to point to a possible league decider in Week 9.

AuGres-Sims 54, Whittemore-Prescott 14 – The Wolverines (6-0) clinched a share of the North Star League title after finishing second a year ago, and may also have dealt the blow to end the Cardinals’ 10-year playoff streak; Whittemore-Prescott is 2-4 and must win out for a chance at an at-large bid.

Traverse City West 30, Benton Harbor 13 – The Titans (6-0) equaled their win total from last season and already their most victories since 2004, while also putting Benton Harbor (2-4) in a position where it must win out to have a hope of a third straight playoff berth. 

Southeast & Border

Reading 36, Union City 12

The Rangers, coming off back-to-back 3-6 seasons, are one win from claiming a share of the Big 8 Conference title after downing second-place Union City. Reading (5-1) hasn’t lost this season since opening night, and its final two league opponents are a combined 2-10. Union City also is 5-1 and enjoying a great rebound after going 2-7 last fall and 4-5 in 2015. Click for more from the Hillsdale Daily News.

Also noted:

Ottawa Lake Whiteford 51, Morenci 8 – Whiteford turned away what looked to be its most formidable challenge so far in the Tri-County Conference, sending Morenci to 3-3 overall and second place in the standings.

Clinton 28, Petersburg-Summerfield 24 – Clinton (4-2) is tied for second in the TCC and stayed in line for a Week 8 title-deciding date with Whiteford by jumping above the Bulldogs (4-2), who fell to fourth place.

Pinckney 35, Tecumseh 10 – The Pirates (5-1) held on to a tie for first in the Southeastern Conference White while putting Tecumseh (3-3) in a spot to win out to guarantee a playoff berth for the first time since 2014.

Saline 42, Monroe 14 – The Hornets (5-1) clinched a share of the SEC Red title and face co-second place Ann Arbor Pioneer this week; Monroe (3-3) is aiming to win out to make it back to the playoffs after missing a year ago.  

Southwest Corridor

Stevensville Lakeshore 30, Portage Northern 27

In its closest Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West game so far this season, Lakeshore clinched a share of the league title and avenged last season’s three-point loss to the Huskies. The Lancers also moved to 6-0 for the first time since 2012 and secured a 20th straight playoff berth. Northern (2-4) continued a heart-breaking string, with three of their losses by a combined nine points. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

Also noted:

Climax-Scotts 60, Adrian Lenawee Christian 29 – The Panthers (5-1) remained tied for first in the Southern Central Athletic Association by handing Lenawee Christian (4-2) its second loss in three weeks.

Berrien Springs 59, Parchment 6 – The Shamrocks (5-1) clinched a share of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph White title with their third game of 50 or more points; Parchment (4-2) remains two wins from guaranteeing its first playoff berth since 2013.

Schoolcraft 35, Constantine 8 – This rivalry win by the Eagles (5-1), combined with the result below, helped put Schoolcraft into a first-place tie with only Watervliet in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley; Constantine (3-3) must win out to guarantee adding to its 18-year playoff streak.

Kalamazoo United 28, Coloma 27 – After falling to Watervliet in Week 5, United (5-1) dealt a disappointing blow to the much-improved Comets (4-2). 

Upper Peninsula

Escanaba 42, Menominee 21

The streak is over; the Eskymos (5-1) downed Menominee for the first time since 1998 in the 122nd meeting between the Great Northern Conference rivals. And the win was impressive – the reigning champion Maroons hadn’t given up 42 points in a league game since 2008. Although it was the GNC opener for Menominee, Escanaba had already played two league games and with this win set up a potential league title matchup with Kingsford in Week 9 – although the Flivvers, 2-0 in GNC play, must first face the Maroons in Week 8. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.

Also noted:

Iron River West Iron County 53, Calumet 20 – The Wykons (5-1) remain the only team undefeated in West Peninsula Athletic Conference play, while reigning champ Calumet (3-3) has lost three of four and needs to win out to extend a three-year playoff streak.

Bessemer Gogebic 26, L'Anse 7 – The first half of this season was tough for the Miners (2-4), but they’ve doubled last season’s win total and still have a playoff shot after stunning the Purple Hornets (4-2).

Negaunee 21, Ishpeming 14 – What a turnaround for these Miners; after opening 0-3, Negaunee is 3-3 and put Ishpeming (2-4) in a position of needing to win out for a chance at an at-large playoff bid.

Lake Linden-Hubbell 24, Bark River-Harris 12 – The Lakes also are riding a comeback wave; they opened 0-3, but after having no game Week 4 have won two straight and this time put Bark River-Harris (3-3) into a must-win playoff situation.  

West Michigan

East Grand Rapids 28, Grand Rapids Christian 7

Reigning champion East Grand Rapids (6-0) took command of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold again by beating the Eagles by an identical score as in last year’s game, which also ended up deciding the league title. EGR lowered its points allowed average to 8.2 per game this fall. Still, this may not be over. Christian (5-1) is one of three teams one win behind in the league standings, and the Pioneers still must play the other two. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Rockford 27, Grandville 0 – The Rams lined up an O-K Red battle for first place this week against Holland West Ottawa by handing Grandville (4-2) its first league loss; depending on how this week goes, all three could end up sharing the title after Rockford and Grandville did so with Hudsonville in 2016.

Cedar Springs 28, Lowell 14 – It’s odd to call this an upset when Cedar Springs is 4-2, but Lowell (also 4-2) hadn’t lost an O-K White game since 2014 and this season has wins over leaders of two other leagues.  

Kent City 28, Morley Stanwood 0 – The Eagles (6-0) not only won a matchup of undefeated teams, but in doing so clinched a share of the Central State Activities Association Silver title against the now second-place Mohawks (5-1); the teams shared the title in 2016.

Wyoming Kelloggsville 21, Wyoming Godwin Heights 20 – This was the other half of the paring down in the O-K Silver; both entered undefeated, but Kelloggsville (6-0) is now tied with Belding atop the standings while Godwin Heights (5-1) fell a game back in a league with four of seven teams at 5-1 or better. 


Morrice 33, Deckerville 32

Deckerville, last season’s 8-player MHSAA runner-up, has been considered a championship favorite all fall and still may be. But the Orioles (6-0) are in position to claim the North Central Thumb 8-Man League Stars division title after scoring a last-minute touchdown and converting a two-point conversion to hand the Eagles (5-1) their first league loss since 2014. Morrice must beat either Kingston this week or Lawrence in Week 8 to clinch a share NCTL Stars championship. Click for more from the Owosso Argus-Press.

Also noted:

Camden-Frontier 30, Bellevue 26 – The Redskins (6-0) have turned away both second-place teams in the Southern Central 8-Man Football League and can clinch a share of the title this week against Burr Oak; Bellevue (5-1) and Battle Creek St. Philip will be back in the mix with an upset.

Flint International Academy 78, Lawrence 74 – This set the MHSAA record for most points in an 8-player game when both teams score at least 40; Flint International (5-1) is tied for second in the NCTL Stars, but Lawrence (3-3) has scored the most points of any league team this season.

Kinde-North Huron 36, New Haven Merritt Academy 18 – The Warriors (5-1) held on to a first-place tie in the NCTL Stripes with Bay City All Saints; the Mustangs (3-3) have lost to both over the last three weeks.

Rudyard 30, Engadine 20 – The Bulldogs (5-1) still trail leaders Cedarville and Pickford in the Bridge Alliance Conference, but put themselves in position to earn a share of the league title if both falter over the next three weeks; Engadine (4-2) fell to fourth place but gets Cedarville next.

Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau 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, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid. 

PHOTO: Davison defenders chase a Midland ball carrier during Friday's Chemics win. (Photo by Terry Lyons.) 

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.)