Drive for Detroit: Week 7 in Review

October 9, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Two Michigan communities are celebrating football success like never before. 

Swartz Creek two weeks ago and Grand Rapids Northview on Friday became two of three teams this season to earn MHSAA playoff berths for the first time. Both also are in first place in their respective conferences.

The third to earn a first-time berth is Detroit East English, although that comes with a bit of an asterisk. The school is made up mostly of students from the now-closed Detroit Crockett and Finney, and the former in particular was a frequent playoff qualifier of late. Still, it's an incredible way to begin a new legacy, as East English won its division of the Detroit Public School League and is one of four teams playing in a PSL Semifinal on Friday.

Following are a number of other significant results from Week 7 as the regular season stares down its final two weeks.

Thumb and Bay

Flint Powers Catholic 32, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 7

This might be the most impressive of victories so far for the reigning MHSAA Division 5 champion, which moved to 7-0 and a win away from claiming a share of the Saginaw Valley Association South title. Carman-Ainsworth (6-1) was riding two straight shutouts and hadn't give up more than 12 points in a game this fall, but a combination of five turnovers and Powers quarterback Garrett Pougnet made for a tough night. Click to read more from the Flint Journal.

Also noted:

Akron-Fairgrove 22, Owendale-Gagetown 20 – Owendale-Gagetown (5-2) won the first game beteween these two, but the second matchup counts toward the league title; Akron-Fairgrove (5-2) now owns the edge in the Mid-Michigan 8-Man League.

Hemlock 21, Freeland 7 – The Huskies (6-1) claimed the Tri-Valley Conference Central title, their first league championship since 1977; Freeland fell to 5-2.

Marine City 34, Marysville 13 – Marine City moved to 6-1 and remained tied for first in the Macomb Area Conference Gold, while Marysville fell to 5-2.

Bay City Western 34, Mount Pleasant 26 – Western improved to 7-0 to remain tied for first with Midland in the SVA North, and might’ve knocked Mount Pleasant (3-4) out of playoff contention.


Lansing Everett 22, Grand Ledge 21 (OT)

It took overtime and a gutsy call by Everett coach Marcelle Carruthers to follow his players’ request and run instead of pass for a two-point conversion to win. But the Vikings (7-0) need just one more victory to claim a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue championship, which would be their first league title since 1986. The second-place Comets (5-2) are now faced with beating East Lansing or Holt, playoff contenders both, to earn that sixth win. Click to read more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Fowler 14, Pewamo-Westphalia 0 – Both rivals made MHSAA Finals last season; Fowler (6-1) earned a share of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title by beating the second-place Pirates (5-2).

Lansing Catholic 41, Portland 32 – Locally, Portland (6-1) seemed like the favorite, but Lansing Catholic (6-1) made it two CAAC White titles in a row.

Hartland 34, Grand Blanc 22 – The Eagles (7-0) continued their best season in at least two decades by beating second-place Grand Blanc (4-2) to win the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West title.

Haslett 35, St. Johns 32 – Both finished tied for second in the CAAC Red. But this had greater meaning for Haslett (4-3), which found itself in a must-win against the Redwings (5-2) as both pursue playoff berths.

Greater Detroit

Oak Park 26, Farmington Hills Harrison 21

Oak Park (7-0) won a share of the Oakland Activities Association White championship, its first league title since 1998, and did so coming off four straight losing seasons. The Knights can clinch outright this week against Oxford. Harrison, meanwhile, fell to 4-3 and finds itself needing to win out to guarantee a playoff berth. Click to read more from the Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Dearborn Heights Robichaud 34, Garden City 7 – Robichaud (7-0) avoided a three-way Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red title by winning it outright; Garden City (4-3) tied for second.

Detroit Loyola 28, Waterford Our Lady 18 – Loyola (7-0) claimed a share of the title in the Detroit Catholic League Intersectional, which still has five teams including Our Lady (5-2) up for automatic playoff berths.

Grosse Pointe South 17, Grosse Pointe North 15 – South (6-1) claimed a share of the Macomb Area Conference Blue title by edging the rival Norsemen (4-3).

Birmingham Seaholm 35, Bloomfield Hills Lahser 33 – Seaholm (6-1) edged a win closer to a league title by winning this battle of formerly first-place teams in the OAA Blue; Lahser remains in second place and is 5-2 overall.

Upper Peninsula

Negaunee 20, Ishpeming 8

These were two of the six undefeated teams left in the Upper Peninsula; Negaunee remains now at 7-0 and owns a share of the Mid-Peninsula Conference title. The victory also improved on a recent run of six losses in seven meetings against Ishpeming (6-1). Click to read more from the Marquette Mining Journal.

Also noted:

Calumet 26, L'Anse 6 – The Purple Hornets (6-1) still own their destiny, and with a win over Northland Pines this week can earn a share  of the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title. Now, however, Calumet (4-3) also can earn a share too.

St. Ignace 39, Pickford 6 – The Saints (6-1) earned a share of the Ski Valley Conference North title, while Pickford (5-2) fell a game back.

Rapid River 30, Eben Junction Superior Central 27 – Cedarville likely won’t slip up in the Bridge Alliance 8-Man Conference, but if so Rapid River (6-1) can earn a share of the title. Superior Central fell to 4-2.

Kingsford 10, Iron Mountain 0 – The Flivvers (6-1) earned a playoff berth and remain in first  place in the Great Northern U.P. Conference; Iron Mountain, at 4-3, must win out.

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Northview 34, Cedar Springs 14

Northview (6-1) became one of three teams so far this fall to earn a playoff berth for the first time, and remains tied for first in the O-K Bronze thanks to this win. With another this week, the Wildcats could face Grand Rapids West Catholic in Week 9 for the league title – unless Cedar Springs (4-3) gives some help by beating West Catholic this week. Click to read more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 37, Grand Rapids South Christian 17 – The Cougars (7-0) set up an O-K Gold-deciding game against Hastings this week by defeating the third-place Sailors (4-3).

Caledonia 28, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 6 – The Fighting Scots (6-1) earned a playoff berth, while Forest Hills Central (4-3) lost its third game in four weeks and needs to win out.

Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 35, Muskegon Mona Shores 26 – Kenowa Hills (4-3) kept its playoff hopes alive while dealing a blow to Mona Shores (4-3) as it plays for a first berth ever.

Muskegon Oakridge 20, Shelby 9 – Oakridge (7-0) earned a share of the West Michigan Conference title; Shelby (5-2) needs to win one of its next two to earn a playoff berth.

Lower Up North

Traverse City St. Francis 13, Saginaw Nouvel 7

St. Francis’ state-best playoff berth streak of 22 straight seasons isn’t sure to continue yet, but the Gladiators (4-3) stayed alive with a big win over the reigning Division 7 champion Panthers (5-2). St. Francis must win out against Kingsley and Muskegon Catholic Central to earn an automatic berth, while Nouvel must beat either Detroit Edison or Freeland to do so. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Maple City Glen Lake 15, Frankfort 12 – Glen Lake (7-0) edged Frankfort (3-4) to finish perfect in the Northwest Conference and continue its best season since 2001.

Traverse City Central 9, Detroit U-D Jesuit 7 – The Trojans (6-1) earned their first playoff berth since 2008 and their first automatic berth since 2005; Jesuit is 2-5 after a 2-1 start.

Cheboygan 28, Sault Ste. Marie 27 (OT) – Cheboygan (5-2) moved a win closer to its first playoff berth in three seasons, and Sault Ste. Marie (4-3) remains alive as well.

Grayling 33, Kalkaska 6 – The Ramblers (7-0) kept pace with Boyne City atop the Lake Michigan Conference, while pushing Kalkaska (5-2) into fourth place.

Southwest and Border

Mattawan 35, Portage Central 34

Mattawan (7-0) has won 13 straight games in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference East, going back more than two seasons, but nearly lost the opportunity to face Stevensville Lakeshore this week to win another league championship. Portage Central (5-2) took advantage of two late on-side kick recoveries to put a scare into the Wildcats. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Stevensville Lakeshore 28, St. Joseph 24 – Lakeshore (7-0) also had to escape rival St. Joseph (3-4) to keep next week’s SMAC West decider alive.

Climax-Scotts 34, Bellevue 18 – The Panthers improved to 7-0 and Bellevue fell to 3-4, but this got headlines because C-S earned its 100th win over the last 10 seasons.

Dowagiac 31, Three Rivers 28 – Dowagiac (7-0) will face Edwardsburg this week to decide the Wolverine B South title, but nearly tripped up against Three Rivers (4-3) on the way.

Edwardsburg 26, Berrien Springs 20 – The Eddies (6-1) also caught a scare before this week’s big matchup, needing to outlast the Shamrocks (1-6).

Trophy Games

Every week, the MHSAA highlights trophy games played throughout the state. Here are three from Week 7:

  • Baseline Jug – This trophy contested by Northville and Novi dates back to 1988, and this season Northville surivived a close call to claim it again, plus a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central title. Final: Northville 21, Novi 14 (OT).
  • The Bell – The Bell was first awarded to the winner of Reading/Quincy in 1975, and the Rangers made it six straight over their rival. Final: Reading 34, Quincy 6.
  • Skipper's Oar – Not only did Waterford Kettering celebrate getting this trophy back after a year in Mott's hands, but also the Captains earned their first win this fall. Final: Kettering 42, Mott 14.

PHOTO: Flint Powers senior Nick Sullivan blocks a punt by Carman-Ainsworth junior Connor Storms during the Chargers' 32-7 win Friday. (Click to see more at Terry McNamara Photography.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)