Drive for Detroit: Week 7 in Review
October 12, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Every game night provides the opportunity for teams and athletes to make history. From 11-player to 8, Week 7 saw its share of those moments.
In last week's preview, we noted at least 20 leagues with games that had immediate championship implications. As we now review, we touch on a number of those below.
Bay & Thumb
Algonac 21, Almont 7
Algonac continued its history-making run, clinching a share of the Blue Water Area Conference title, its first league championship since 1972. The Muskrats (7-0), also celebrating a first winning season and playoff berth since 2005, grabbed the title share against an Almont team that had won 17 straight league games and hadn’t been held to single-digit scoring since Week 3 of 2012. Almont (6-1) is now tied for second place with Richmond, Algonac’s opponent this week. Click for more from the Port Huron Times-Herald.
Vassar 36, Unionville-Sebewaing 24 – The Vulcans (6-1) clinched a share of the Greater Thumb Conference West title by outlasting second-place USA (5-2) and moved to 8-0 against the Patriots since they’ve been in the same league.
Marysville 48, Sterling Heights 21 – The Vikings (5-2) turned the Macomb Area Conference Gold race into a three-team battle with a league game to play by handing Sterling Heights (5-2) its first league loss; those two are tied with Marine City for first place.
Lapeer 49, Midland 21 – The Lightning (7-0) remains perfect for the regular season over its two-year history and earned a share of the Saginaw Valley League Red title by downing the second-place Chemics (6-1).
Sanford Meridian 30, Harrison 8 – The Mustangs (7-0) can clinch a share of the Jack Pine Conference title this week now that they’ve beaten both second-place teams, Clare and Harrison (5-2).
Plymouth 31, Canton 20
Plymouth broke a two-game losing streak to the rival Chiefs (5-2) to close out an outright championship in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South, and after trailing Canton 20-10 at halftime. This was the eighth straight game between the two decided by 12 points or fewer, and earned Plymouth (6-1) the opportunity to host Northville in this week’s KLAA Kensington title game. Click for more from Observer & Eccentric.
Farmington Hills Harrison 13, Farmington 12 – Harrison (6-1) edged one neighbor, Farmington (4-3), to earn a share of the Oakland Activities Association White title, and can finish the run against another, North Farmington, this week.
Birmingham Groves 47, Berkley 14 – A 6-0 start for Groves last season turned into a 1-4 finish beginning with a three-point loss to Berkley (5-2), but the 2015 meeting was all Groves (7-0) as it earned a share of the OAA Blue title.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 14, Detroit Catholic Central 7 – The Shamrocks (5-2) and Warren DeLaSalle meet this week to figure out the rest, but those two and St. Mary’s (6-1) are all in the Prep Bowl mix.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 33, River Rouge 30 – Notre Dame Prep’s bounce-back from 3-6 last season to 6-1 this fall has included four wins by seven points or fewer including this one over previously-undefeated River Rouge (6-1).
Brighton 14, Howell 11
These KLAA West rivals both played without key contributors and traded their share of momentum-stopping fumbles and interceptions before Brighton (6-1) closed out the win to earn a share of the division championship. The teams have split their last six games. Brighton also clinched a playoff spot, and Howell (5-2) remains alive for what would be a first playoff berth since 2012. Click for more from the Livingston Daily.
Hartland 30, Grand Blanc 27 (OT) – The Eagles (5-2) earned the other share of the KLAA West title by outlasting last season’s champion, Grand Blanc (4-3), and thanks to a win over Brighton two weeks ago also will play for the Lakes Conference title.
DeWitt 49, St. Johns 21 – It’s time to stop talking about DeWitt (7-0) being inexperienced and under the radar after it clinched an outright Capital Area Activities Conference Red title over three others still alive for playoff berths, including the Redwings (5-2).
East Lansing 14, Lansing Sexton 8 – The Trojans (4-3) are staying alive for the playoffs after going 1-8 only a year ago, although they face undefeated Grand Ledge next; Sexton (1-6) suffered its fifth loss by eight points or fewer.
Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 48, Vestaburg 7 – The Irish’s win-out campaign to make the playoffs after an 0-3 start now includes claiming a share of the Mid-State Activities Conference title with this win over second-place Vestaburg (5-2) that put Sacred Heart at 4-3 overall.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Frankfort 27, Harbor Springs 7
The Panthers quietly are putting up one of the most impressive defensive stands in the state this fall. Since giving up 10 points on opening night in a four-point loss to Maple City Glen Lake, Frankfort (6-1) hasn’t given up more than one score in a game and 32 more points total. This win allowed the Panthers to equal their total for all of last season and got them within another of clinching the Northern Michigan Football League Legends title, while dropping fourth-place Harbor Springs to 4-3. Click for more from the Benzie County Record Patriot.
McBain 34, Lake City 13 – McBain (5-2) closed out a share of the Highland Conference championship with Beal City by downing third-place Lake City (3-4)
Whittemore-Prescott 30, Rogers City 22 – The Cardinals (4-3) are North Star Big Dipper champions for the second straight season but must beat Little Dipper champ Hillman this week to keep on track for an automatic playoff berth.
Hillman 46, Oscoda 39 – The Tigers (6-1) just survived Oscoda (4-3) to earn a playoff appearance for the 10th straight season.
Johannesburg-Lewiston 48, Lincoln Alcona 22 – Another impressive run continues for Johannesburg-Lewiston, which downed Alcona (5-2) thanks to two touchdown runs and 225 yards (plus 17 tackles) by Logan Huff and four scoring runs by cousin Brandon Huff.
Southeast & Border
Ypsilanti Community 34, Chelsea 24
The third-year Ypsilanti Community program, which emerged from the former Ypsilanti High, has beaten Chelsea all three times the teams have met – although this might be the best win in the young Grizzlies’ history. After opening 0-3 this fall, Community has won four straight and with this victory clinched a shared Southeastern Conference White championship with the Bulldogs (6-1). Click for more from AnnArbor.com.
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 41, Milan 14 – The Falcons (7-0) clinched a share of the Huron League by winning this matchup of first-place teams, with Milan (5-2) needing help from Monroe Jefferson this week to also earn a share.
Homer 44, Quincy 18 – This win, combined with Concord’s overtime loss to Springport, gave Homer (6-1) the outright championship in the Big 8 Conference.
Saline 28, Monroe 0 – The Hornets (7-0) closed out an outright title in the Southeastern Conference Red while pushing Monroe (3-4) into the pool of those hoping to make the playoffs with an at-large bid.
Ottawa Lake-Whiteford 34, Morenci 6 – The Bobcats (6-1) nearly reversed last season’s 49-0 loss to Morenci (5-2) to move into second place in the Tri-County Conference with first-place Clinton coming up in Week 9.
Benton Harbor 10, Stevensville Lakeshore 7 (OT)
Benton Harbor (4-3) can’t win the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West title and is tied for third place. But many statewide eyes have turned toward the Tigers, who are in pursuit of their first playoff berth and went 0-18 over the last two seasons – and 4-68 over the last eight. Benton Harbor held Lakeshore (4-3) scoreless to start overtime, then won on a 22-yard field goal. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.
Mattawan 21, Battle Creek Central 18 – This turned the SMAC East into a three-team battle with one league game left to play; Mattawan, Central and Battle Creek Lakeview all are tied for first and none play each other the rest of the way.
Watervliet 56, Delton Kellogg 35 – The Panthers (6-1) won this matchup of first-place teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Lakeshore and earned an outright title; Delton (5-2) now must beat an undefeated team over the next two weeks to earn a first playoff berth since 2001.
Dowagiac 16, Sturgis 7 – The Chieftains (4-3) gave Wolverine B Conference leader Edwardsburg a hand, handing second-place Sturgis (5-2) a second loss that resulted in the Eddies gaining a share of the league title.
Schoolcraft 41, Gobles 12 – The Eagles (7-0) are enjoying their move to the new SAC Central; they earned the title outright with this win and gave up a total of 30 points over five league games. Gobles (4-3) was one of two opponents to put up more than one score.
Ishpeming 22, Negaunee 16
The numbers got more incredible for Ishpeming: 38 wins over its last 39 regular-season games, three straight Mid-Peninsula Conference titles and only 49 points given up in six games this fall. The Hematites (6-0) earned a share of the league title and ended Negaunee’s final drive with an interception to run their latest string of success against the Miners (6-1) to six wins in their last seven meetings.
Kingsford 14, Iron Mountain 12 – The Flivvers (5-2) moved a win closer to returning to the playoffs after missing last season, while Iron Mountain (4-3) must now win out to ensure a second straight bid.
Calumet 34, L’Anse 14 – The Copper Kings (5-2) guaranteed a share of the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference title for the second time in four seasons by downing second-place L’Anse (4-3).
Munising 19, Bark River-Harris 12 – Munising (6-1) must beat Crystal Falls Forest Park this week to guarantee a piece of the Mid-Eastern Conference title, but earned the opportunity by handing Bark River-Harris (5-2) its second straight loss.
Lake Linden-Hubbell 46, Houghton 34 – The Lakes (7-0) continue to cruise, with this win equaling last season’s total and setting the team up to earn its best finish since 2010 with another victory.
Grand Rapids West Catholic 42, Comstock Park 35
This didn’t clinch the Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue for West Catholic (5-2), but it did give the Falcons a one-win lead and victories over both second-place teams, Comstock Park (5-2) and Allendale. West Catholic trailed by two touchdowns during the first half and then withstood a fourth-quarter blitz by the Panthers. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
East Kentwood 30, Rockford 29 – After two straight losses, the Falcons (5-2) bounced back to stay out of must-win territory while forcing Rockford (4-3) to win out to guarantee extending a 20-year playoff streak.
Caledonia 52, Grand Rapids Christian 31 – Considering the Fighting Scots (3-4) have lost to East Grand Rapids, Muskegon Mona Shores, Rockford and Lowell, beating Grand Rapids Christian (4-3) seems like less of an upset.
Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 47, Wyoming Godwin Heights 6 – The Mustangs (7-0) earned a share of the O-K Silver title after finishing second each of the last two seasons, while sending Godwin Heights (4-3) into second place after the two entered tied for first.
Hesperia 47, Lakeview 20 – Hesperia’s best season since 2002 now includes a Central State Activities Association Silver championship and first winning record since 2007, and after the team finished just 1-8 a year ago; a win by Lakeview (4-3) would’ve split the title three ways.
Stephenson 76, Rapid River 38
Suddenly it’s Stephenson (5-2), not Rapid River (5-2), that stands as Powers North Central’s top competition in the Western Upper Peninsula Conference. Eight-player football appears to be to the Eagles’ liking; they finished 1-8 a year ago in 11-player and appear to be reclaiming the success they enjoyed in the former format during the 1990s and 2000s. Click for more from the Escanaba Daily Press.
Battle Creek St. Philip 55, Waldron 16 – The Tigers (7-0) have won three straight Southern Michigan League Titles and every league game since falling to Waldron (6-1) in 2012.
Cedarville 29, Bellaire 28 – A week after falling by two to Posen, Cedarville (5-2) bounced back to edge rival Bellaire (4-3) in Bridge Alliance play.
PHOTO: DeWitt defenders swarm a St. Johns ball-carrier during Friday's league title-clinching victory. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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:
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.)