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.)

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.)