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.

Also noted:

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). 

Greater Detroit

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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

Also noted:

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. 

Southwest Corridor

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.

Also noted:

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. 

Upper Peninsula

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.

Also noted:

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.  

West Michigan

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.

Also noted:

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.

Also noted:

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 

Working Together, with Neighbor's Help, Schoolcraft Teams Making Selves at 'Home'

By Pam Shebest
Special for

September 19, 2023

SCHOOLCRAFT — If it is a home game for the Schoolcraft football team, head over to Vicksburg.

Southwest CorridorIf it is soccer, go to Schoolcraft’s baseball field.

Things are a bit jumbled in the sports world for the Eagles this season.

With a new football field under construction and a new elementary school built on the site of the former practice fields, the two teams have been a bit displaced.

“Along with our football field, we had three practice fields that were utilized by a lot of our youth programs, Rocket football, youth soccer and our soccer and football programs,” Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin said. “It’s taken a lot of understanding and flexibility from our coaches, players and our community to make it work out, and it has.”

Meanwhile, all four Eagles home football games will be played at Vicksburg High School.

If Vicksburg is home on a Friday, then the Eagles will play Saturday, including their Homecoming game this Saturday against Galesburg-Augusta.

The Eagles won their only “home” game so far, 33-14 against Kalamazoo United, and take a 3-1 record into Saturday’s contest.

The soccer team gave up its field to the football team for practices and has been practicing and playing their matches in the outfield of the baseball stadium.

For the soccer team, “It’s kind of an upgrade,” Applin said. “The soccer field they traditionally play on, they don’t have a scoreboard, they don’t have a bathroom facility, so we’ve been able to use the (baseball) scoreboard, the PA system, open up the bathroom building.

Schoolcraft’s Kolby Lloyd (10) works to break away from a tackler during a “home” game played at Vicksburg this fall. “The goal at some point is to give soccer a home, and we’re very, very excited about that.”

This year definitely has been challenging for the first-year AD, who credits Vicksburg athletic director Mike Roy with being a tremendous help.

“Mike Roy has been nothing but accommodating to us,” Applin said. “He’s been super helpful to me stepping in and assuming this scenario.

“The communities are so close, it almost feels like home for us.”

Roy said Jeff Clark, former Schoolcraft AD, reached out once the bond was passed for the new stadium last year.

“We had to make small accommodations as did Schoolcraft to make the schedules work,” Roy said. “By moving (Schoolcraft’s) games to Saturday, Vicksburg had to work with our Rocket football organization to make sure games were completed” before the Eagles varsity games.

Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency said his team has been “rolling with the punches.

“These guys don’t care where it’s at; they just want to play football. We’re all taking care of each other. What a great place to be when everybody works together.”

When Jake Bailey heard the team would be playing at Vicksburg, “That got me excited,” the junior offensive tackle said. “They’ve got a really nice facility. I know the school will come out to support us no matter where we are, but it’s definitely different.

“Good thing we don’t play Vicksburg, although it would be fun because it would be both our home fields. The new facilities and being back at our home field at Roy Davis (Field next year) will be really fun.”

Vicksburg is Division 4, while Schoolcraft is Division 7.

Clockwise, from top left: Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency, Schoolcraft boys soccer coach Jeremy Mutchler, soccer player Jack Curtis and football player Jake Bailey.The soccer team was “just being a team player” in giving up its own field for football practice, second-year head coach Jeremy Mutchler said.

“For the soccer team to be a team player and get behind the football team will help the community get behind the soccer team as well,” he added.

The biggest drawback is that part of the current field includes a piece of the baseball infield.

“The only odd thing is it is a smaller field, still regulation size, but smaller,” Mutchler said. “Part of the field is in the diamond, so we have to play in the dirt and it gets tricky, especially when you’re trying to throw it in or just play down the line.”

The move has cost the team a few home games.

“At the beginning of the year, we allowed schools, if they didn’t want to play here, we would go to their house,” Mutchler said. “We had to go to a few schools we would have played at home.”

Maintenance supervisor Eric McGehee was instrumental in preparing the field.

“He laid out exactly the parameters, so I was able to send that to all the ADs that were going to visit to give them an opportunity to decide whether that’s something they wanted to help us out for our home games,” Applin said. “A lot of schools were more than willing to come and play us to give our boys some home games. A couple wanted to be cautious and play on a more traditional surface, and we were able to make those arrangements as well.”

In only its second year as a varsity sport, the boys soccer team is still finding its identity, posting a 2-5 record so far.

Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin has taken over the maneuvering of the teams’ home sites during his first year on the job.“We’re a very young team,” Mutchler said. “All juniors and freshmen. This is the juniors' second regular season. It’s all been a learning phase with maturity and sportsmanship.”

Junior captain Jack Curtis said he was a bit “bummed out” when he heard the team would move to the baseball field.

“The first practice, I drove over to our practice field,” he said. “No one was there.

“I drove over to the high school and saw everyone practicing (at the baseball field). I didn’t think a soccer field could fit on a baseball field.”

Curtis said in spite of the temporary move, “I’m just glad we can have some home games this year on Schoolcraft soil.”

As for Applin, he spent much of his career coaching basketball at both the high school and college levels and most recently worked as a salesman for Zeigler. His wife, Meredith, is an assistant coach for Western Michigan University’s women’s basketball team.

Ferency is appreciative of the work Clark and Applin have done to make this season’s changes relatively seamless.

“I’d like to highlight how great our athletic department is,” he said. “It takes a lot of moving pieces and parts to move people around and have a space for everybody.

“I’m really proud of our athletic department and all our coaches and kids for just rolling with the punches.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Schoolcraft’s varsity boys soccer team, including Nyan Wonders (15), faces Comstock this season on its field in the outfield of the baseball stadium. (2) Schoolcraft’s Kolby Lloyd (10) works to break away from a tackler during a “home” game played at Vicksburg this fall. (3) Clockwise, from top left: Schoolcraft football coach Nathan Ferency, Schoolcraft boys soccer coach Jeremy Mutchler, soccer player Jack Curtis and football player Jake Bailey. (4) Schoolcraft athletic director Bryan Applin has taken over the maneuvering of the teams’ home sites during his first year on the job. (Action photos by Stephanie Blentlinger/Lingering Memories Photography. Headshots and Applin photo by Pam Shebest.)