Drive for Detroit: Week 7 in Review

October 13, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Just as things are finishing up this MHSAA football regular season, plenty is getting started.

The 11-player playoff field is nearly half full with two weeks to play – 126 teams have earned automatic berths, with 66 more one win from joining them.

Two leagues – the Kensington Lakes Activities Association and Detroit Public School League – finished their league schedules over the weekend but will play one and two weeks of playoff games, respectively, to finish the regular season. The Detroit Catholic League will finish its league schedule this week in advance of its Prep Bowl games during Week 9.

And there's plenty more to come. Read on for some of the results that helped further shape the scene all over the state last week.  

Mid-Michigan

The deciding game in the Capital Area Activities Conference White didn’t end up much of one after halftime. Cougars junior quarterback Tony Poljan averaged 20 yards a completion in throwing for 404 total with four touchdowns, and he also ran for a score as Lansing Catholic (7-0) broke away with a 22-0 third-quarter run. Williamston is 6-1 and has a slim chance of seeing the Cougars again in the playoffs if both fall into Division 4. Click for more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted:

Hartland 29, Grand Blanc 26 – The Eagles (6-1) battled back from a loss in the league opener to take a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West title from co-champ Grand Blanc (5-2) in the final league game of the season.

Okemos 27, Holt 20 – The Chieftains (4-3) reached four wins for the first time since 2011 and should make the playoffs for the first time since that season with their final two opponents owning a combined two wins this fall.

Lansing Everett 38, Grand Ledge 24 – The Vikings (5-2) set themselves up to face Sexton this week with a chance to share the CAAC Blue title, while knocking third-place Grand Ledge (4-3) out of contention.

Charlotte 39, Battle Creek Pennfield 36 – A 39-yard field goal by Sy Barnett with 20 seconds to play kept Charlotte (4-3) in the hunt for a third straight playoff berth. 

Greater Detroit

Walled Lake Western 31, Walled Lake Central 14

Western, Central and Waterford Mott all split the KLAA North championship thanks to the Warriors (6-1), who earned a fourth-straight win over their local rivals. Western scored 21 unanswered second-half points to earn the opportunity to play Hartland this week for the Lakes Conference championship. Click for more from the Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Berkley 32, Birmingham Groves 29 – Berkley dealt Groves (6-1) a painful blow heading into Groves' game this week against Oakland Activities Association Blue leader Farmington that could decide the league title; Berkley (6-1) will now root for Groves to win and make all three teams co-champions.

Canton 30, Plymouth 20 – Canton (6-1) outlasted the rival Wildcats (5-2) to claim the KLAA South championship for the second straight season.

Hudson 12, Ida 7 – The Tigers (6-1) avenged last season’s loss to Ida (6-1) that led to a shared Lenawee County Athletic Association title to keep pace with co-leader Hillsdale, Hudson’s Week 9 opponent.  

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 26, Lutheran Westland 6 – The Knights (6-1) finished off their fourth Michigan Independent Athletic Conference title in five seasons by defeating second-place Westland (5-2).

Bay and Thumb

Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker 32, Bad Axe 30

The Lakers (7-0) needed a second-half comeback to keep their best start since 2002 alive, but also came away with a share of the Greater Thumb Conference West championship and can clinch it outright next week against 1-6 Reese. The Lakers, league runners-up to Reese last season, rode more than 300 yards rushing by Dustin Kady to edge Bad Axe (4-3) – which has already guaranteed its best finish since 2001. Click for more from The Saginaw News.

Also noted:

Goodrich 37, Lake Fenton 36 – After claiming a nail-biter over Lake Fenton (1-6), second-place Goodrich (6-1) will be rooting for Montrose this week as the Rams face Genesee Area Conference Red leader Flint Beecher in the final game on the league schedule.

Harrison 57, Beaverton 28 – Harrison (7-0) avoided a potential Jack Pine Conference spoiler in Beaverton (4-3) and now will face reigning champion Clare for the league championship.

Bay City John Glenn 33, Saginaw Nouvel 6 – The Bobcats (5-2) have more wins this fall than in 2012 and 2013 combined and need one more to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011; Nouvel has a slim postseason hope at 3-4 but will need to win out including a big win over Freeland in Week 9.

St. Clair 25, Warren Woods Tower 21 – St. Clair (6-1) knocked Woods Tower (6-1) out of a tie for first place with Marine City in the Macomb Area Conference Gold, but will root for the Titans to beat the Mariners this week and make all three teams co-champions. 

Lower Up North

Cadillac 17, Traverse City West 12

The Big North Conference was the source of most of the north's significant action this weekend, although by Sunday leader Cadillac remained atop the league standings and with a share of the championship – after its second straight win by a less than a touchdown. Cadillac (7-0) got up 17-0 in the third quarter before West (3-4) – playing to remain in the playoff hunt – took advantage of Vikings turnovers to pull within striking distance. Click for more from the Cadillac News.

Also noted:

Traverse City Central 14, Alpena 7 (OT) – Central (5-2) kept its shared Big North Conference title hopes alive by a sliver, edging Alpena (3-4) to remain one win back with Cadillac coming up in Week 9.

Gaylord 49, Petoskey 42 – The Blue Devils (5-2) scored twice during the fourth quarter to ruin Petoskey’s chances at remaining in Big North contention while inching closer to a first playoff berth since 2007; Petoskey (5-2) can earn a return to the postseason for the first time since 2011 against Alpena this week.

Manton 30, Leroy Pine River 27 – The Rangers may be out of the Highland Conference title chase, but they secured their best record since 2005 and need one more win for a first playoff berth since 1994; Pine River (4-3) has its best record since 2007 and by winning out can make the postseason for the first time since 2005.

Elk Rapids 70, Grayling 26 – The Elks (4-3) remain alive for the playoffs although they’ll next face undefeated Boyne City; at 3-4, Grayling will need help to grab an at-large bid. 

West Michigan

Cedar Springs 14, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 8

Most of Cedar Springs’ last 15 seasons have ended in the 4 to 6-win range with a hint of league title contention on occasion. But this one is shaking up as special for the Red Hawks (6-1), who sit alone atop the Ottawa-Kent Conference Bronze after sending Forest Hills Northern (6-1) into a second place tie with Grand Rapids Northview. Cedar Springs can clinch a share of the league title next week against Greenville (4-3) or in Week 9 vs. Forest Hills Eastern (3-4). Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

East Kentwood 35, Hudsonville 28 – The Falcons (6-1) scored with less than two minutes to play to remain a game behind Rockford in the O-K Red and drop Hudsonville (4-3) out of title contention.

Rockford 27, Grand Haven 21 (OT) – The Rams (6-1) needed overtime against a Grand Haven (3-4) team trying to stay alive for the postseason and now playing for an at-large bid.

Grandville 54, Holland West Ottawa 14 – Grandville (3-4) kept a small playoff hope alive by winning big over former O-K Red co-leader West Ottawa (5-2).

Muskegon Oakridge 50, Whitehall 22 – Oakridge (6-1) regained a share of the West Michigan Conference title and can clinch outright this week; Whitehall (6-1), now tied for second with Ravenna, needs Mason County Central to come through with an upset. 

Upper Peninsula

Marquette 35, Constantine 10

Even at 5-1 entering last weekend, Marquette’s chances of extending its playoff streak to five seasons looked a tad shaky – Constantine was 6-0, and together the Redmen’s final three regular-season opponents were 16-3. But Marquette held Constantine to its fewest points this season (by 21) and tied its biggest offensive output to remain undefeated since falling to Traverse City Central on opening night. Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.

Also noted:

Ishpeming 28, Negaunee 0 – The Hematites earned a share of their second straight Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference title and haven’t given up a point since Week 4; Negaunee (4-3) faces two more tough opponents as it works to earn a playoff berth.  

Munising 42, Bark River-Harris 0 – The Mustangs (6-1) secured a share of the Mid-Eastern Football Conference title by dominating second-place Bark River-Harris (5-2); Munising also hasn’t given up a point since Week 4.

Kingsford 10, Iron Mountain 0 – Kingsford’s at-large playoff bid hope got stronger as the Flivvers (3-4) shut out the Mountaineers (4-3), who are second in the Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference.

Powers North Central 48, Felch North Dickinson 44 – North Central’s playoff hopes are slim at 2-4, but beating North Dickinson (3-4) for the first time since 1993 is a nice consolation. 

Southwest and Border

Plainwell 34, Three Rivers 28

It seems like most of Plainwell’s games this season have been among the best of the southwest – and the Trojans (6-1) are now one more win from locking up a share of the Wolverine B Conference East title. They ran Three Rivers (4-3) into second place on the legs of Jacob Geter, who rushed for 316 yards on 50 carries. Click for more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Saugatuck 26, Fennville 20 – The Indians (5-2) kept pace atop the Southwestern Athletic Conference North with Week 9 opponent Gobles while dropping Fennville (4-3) into third.

Bridgman 62, Centreville 7 – The Bees (5-1) are inaugural champs of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Blue and have scored at least 40 points in all but one victory.

Niles 27, St. Joseph 21 – The Vikings (5-2) locked up their best record since 2003 by beating St. Joseph (4-3) for the first time since 2005.

Union City 41, Reading 34 – The Chargers (7-0) guaranteed themselves a share of the Big 8 Conference title with second-place Homer the only league opponent remaining; Reading (3-4) will hope to win out and earn an at-large playoff bid after losing its second straight game. 

8-Player

Kingston 64, Owendale-Gagetown 34

Kingston quarterback – and MHSAA Student Advisory Council senior – Aaron Van Horn carried his team back into the playoff hunt with three touchdown passes and two touchdown runs as the Cardinals handed Owendale-Gagetown (6-1) its first loss. Kingston is 4-3 and faces opponents who are a combined 4-10 to finish the regular season. Click for more from The Saginaw News

Also noted: 

Big Rapids Crossroads 21, Akron-Fairgrove 20 – The Cougars have won three straight since opening 0-4 against four teams still undefeated; they look good to make the playoffs with two winnable games left. 

Bellaire 38, Engadine 6 – The Eagles (7-0) may not get mentioned as much as other favorites Cedarville and Rapid River, but are lined up perfectly to make a run at the Bridge Football Alliance title with those two up next over the next two weeks; Engadine (3-4) is hanging on to the 16th spot in the playoff field. 

PHOTO: Lansing Catholic's Zac Baker was among recipients of quarterback Tony Poljan's 20 completions Friday as the Cougars defeated Williamston. (Photo courtesy of the Lansing State Journal.)

Record-Setting Viney Gained Lifelong Confidence at Marine City

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

July 17, 2024

Olivia Viney didn’t have to look far for inspiration while taking on the challenge of applying to veterinary school.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 2015 Marine City graduate and record-setting placekicker simply drew from her own experience as a high school athlete.

“It just really taught me that I could do hard things,” Viney said. “I was very involved when I was in school. I did soccer, theater, travel soccer and then football. Especially with football, I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That helped me to excel in undergrad. When it came time to get accepted to vet school, it was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I did it. That was very confidence-building. It taught me that I really can do hard things.”

Viney, who graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019 and Michigan State Veterinary School in 2023, is now working as an associate veterinarian at Deporre Veterinary Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Accomplishing her goals is nothing new to Viney, and not at all a surprise to those who watched her come through the Mariners athletic program.

“She was very serious, she was focused and she was dialed in,” said Dave Frendt, who coached Viney in both football and soccer at Marine City. “She knew what she wanted to accomplish, and she set out to do that. She was a fierce competitor and very driven. She was a good leader in that way where she was kind of feisty, but the team would follow that.”

Viney was an all-state soccer player for the Mariners, leading them to a pair of District titles and a Macomb Area Conference Gold title during her four years as a varsity player. It’s the sport she grew up playing, but the one she was most known for after graduation was football. American football.

The 5-foot-1-ish center attacking midfielder found herself in the MHSAA football record book after hitting all seven of her extra point attempts in the Mariners’ 2013 Division 4 Final victory against Grand Rapids South Christian.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “There were lots of great soccer players, even that I played with. Great players that had gone through school, so I don’t think it’s weird that people remember me for that. When I talk with people, they’ll connect the dots – ‘Oh, you played football.’

“I was more accomplished as a soccer player and had more accolades. But I’m prouder of my football accomplishments, because it was really setting a pathway for girls that wanted to get into that. It’s so much more common now, or accepted. Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we won at Ford Field, I’m so proud of high school Olivia and what she did, the courage she had. She wasn’t scared of anything.”

Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. Viney joined Marine City’s football program as a sophomore, playing on the junior varsity squad. While she was there only to kick, she was all in when it came to practicing.

“Coach (Joe) Fregetto made me do tackling drills and drills in the mud – I really did earn my spot on the team,” Viney said. “I think it was mostly because he didn’t know what to do with me, so I guess just do everything that the guys do.”

She handled varsity kicking duties the next two years, setting the school record in 2013 for most extra points made during a single season – a record that still stands. Former Mariners coach Ron Glodich said that Viney actually never missed an extra point that season, as the four failed attempts were never even kicked.

It was her performance in the Division 4 Final that gained her statewide acclaim, as she hit 7 of 7 attempts, tying a record for most extra points made in a Finals game. It stood until a pair of kickers hit eight in 2022.

One record that never will be broken, however, is Viney becoming the first female to score a point at the Finals.

“Everything was so surreal, I was so nervous,” Viney said. “One of my most vivid memories was that day, or maybe the day before, Coach Glodich said, ‘Just so you know, when you get to the field, the goal posts are two feet narrower on each side. But that doesn’t matter if you kick it in the middle.’

“We got there and watched the team before us so we could get used to it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so narrow.’ … Seeing myself up on the big screen was kind of almost a little embarrassing, because I knew people were talking about me being the girl. But once we were in the game, it was a lot like any other game. I was just waiting for my turn to go on the field and do my job.”

Viney later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” – ironically, right below current U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh – but she wasn’t looked at any differently by her teammates, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be.

“That team was all about sacrifice for the team,” Frendt said. “For them to realize, ‘None of us can do what she does, so we better embrace it, because no one else can do it.’ They really made her feel like part of the team. They wanted to protect her, too. But she was tough. She wasn’t going to take anything.”

Viney went to SVSU to study biology and played for its club soccer team. During her time there, she volunteered at an animal shelter and made the decision she wanted to help animals in her career. She works in general practice at Deporre, and would eventually like to work in shelter medicine.

She and her husband Matt, who were married in May, live with their three dogs. She’s not far from home, and in the spring of 2023 she visited Frendt’s college and career readiness class to speak with students at her alma mater. Her presentation and the attention to detail and hard work she put into it, Frendt said, blew his students away. Not that it surprised him.

“That’s poured into her life after sports,” he said of her work ethic. “She just kept plugging away. She’s awesome.”

July 11: High School 'Hoop Squad' Close to Heart as Hughes Continues Coaching Climb - Read
July 10: 
Nightingale Embarking on 1st Season as College Football Head Coach - Read
June 28:
 E-TC's Witt Bulldozing Path from Small Town to Football's Biggest Stage - Read

PHOTOS (Top) Marine City’s Olivia Viney kicks at the 2013 11-Player Football Finals, also during her spring soccer season, and cares for one of her patients as an associate veterinarian. (Middle) Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Viney.)