Drive for Detroit: Week 7 in Review
October 10, 2016
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Upsets rang out during Week 7 of the high school football season, as league races and playoff hopes were turned sideways by unexpected finishes that played out all over our state.
See below for notes on this week's batch of results and the twists and turns they provided with only two weeks left in the regular season.
Bay & Thumb
Lake Fenton 22, Corunna 20
Lake Fenton clinched its first league title since 2007 by winning this matchup of former co-leaders in the Genesee Area Conference Red. The Blue Devils (7-0) were outgained in yardage 293-286 but intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, and got rushing and receiving touchdowns from Trent Hillger including the game-winner with 3:24 to play. Reigning league champ Corunna (6-1) led 20-14 heading into the fourth quarter but gave up a safety with 4:51 left in regulation; Lake Fenton went ahead on the ensuing possession. Click for more from the Flint Journal.
Davison 28, Lapeer 7 – It took an extra day to get done because of Friday’s storms, but Davison (7-0) held on to clinch a share of the Saginaw Valley League Red title while knocking the Lightning (5-2) into a second-place tie, one win back with a league game to play.
Brown City 24, Harbor Beach 16 – The Green Devils (3-4) are holding out hope for an at-large playoff bid, but did move into second place with Harbor Beach (4-3) in the Greater Thumb Conference East after knocking the Pirates out of first; Harbor Beach plays leader Ubly this week with a chance to create a three-way tie for the title.
Unionville-Sebewaing 28, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker 21 – The Patriots (6-1) have rebounded off an opening night loss to Ubly to win six straight and claim a share of the GTC West title, with former co-leader Laker (6-1) now in second and hoping Vassar can beat USA this week.
Freeland 29, Saginaw Swan Valley 14 – The Falcons clinched a share of the Tri-Valley Conference Central title and with only winless Bullock Creek left on the league schedule; Swan Valley (4-3) sat a win back of Freeland (7-0) heading into the night but fell into third place with the loss.
Birmingham Groves 18, Rochester Adams 8
The Oakland Activities Association White has been one of the state’s most competitive conference this fall, which makes Groves’ success that much more impressive. The Falcons (7-0) clinched a share of the league title with this victory and can clinch outright this week against sixth-place Farmington; they were champions of the OAA Blue in 2015. Adams (5-2) fell into third place after having a chance to clinch a share instead; Oak Park still can take a share with a win this week against Seaholm combined with a Farmington upset Friday. Click for more from the Oakland Press.
Redford Union 22, Redford Thurston 15 – The Panthers clinched their best finish since at least 2007 with their first win over rival Thurston since 2008; Union is 5-2 and can clinch its first playoff berth since 2006 this week against Dearborn Heights Annapolis (1-6).
Madison Heights Madison 17, Warren Fitzgerald 15 – The Eagles (4-3) bounced back from two straight nonleague losses to hand Fitzgerald (6-1) its first defeat and create a three-way tie for first place in the Macomb Area Conference Silver between these two and South Lake and with one more league game to play.
Romeo 31, Warren Mott 8 – The reigning MHSAA Division 1 champion Bulldogs (5-2) may have two losses, but they are by a combined three points; handing Warren Mott (6-1) its first loss sets Romeo up with a chance to claim a share of the MAC Red title with a win over Dakota and and a Mott win this week over leader Utica Eisenhower.
Detroit Catholic Central 28, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 7 – The Shamrocks (7-0) broke a two-game losing streak to now second-place St. Mary’s (4-3) to hold on to first in the Detroit Catholic League Central with Warren DeLaSalle up next in the final game before Prep Bowl weekend.
Breckenridge 12, Merrill 0
Sure, Breckenridge (0-9 in 2015) impressed everyone with a 5-0 start this fall. But with the expected favorites in the Mid-State Activities Conference lined up for Weeks 6, 7 and 8, there was no way the Huskies could claim a share of their first league title since 1947, right? Breckenridge (7-0) has answered with two straight shutouts of Carson City-Crystal and now Merrill (5-2) to win the MSAC title outright, regardless of what happens this week against Vestaburg (5-2). Click for more from the Midland Daily News.
Clare 35, Roscommon 24 – The excitement in the Jack Pine Conference had been the surge of Roscommon (6-1), but old stand-by Clare (6-1) set itself up to reclaim the league title after missing last year by winning this matchup of what were the co-leaders heading into the night.
DeWitt 27, St. Johns 7 – The Panthers (6-1) added a 43rd-straight league win and claimed the Capital Area Activities Conference Red title outright against the Redwings (3-4), who fell into third with the loss.
East Lansing 21, Lansing Sexton 6 – By winning this matchup of what were the second-place teams in the CAAC Blue, the Trojans (5-2) gave themselves a chance to earn a share of the title with leader Grand Ledge up next; Sexton (4-3) will turn its focus to securing a playoff berth against two opponents who are a combined 2-12.
Fowler 16, Dansville 14 – The Eagles (5-2) can’t claim a share of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title even with a win against rival Pewamo-Westphalia this week, but look a lot better for making the playoffs with undefeated P-W and two-loss Merrill left on the schedule; Dansville (4-3) still has a nice shot too needing wins against two opponents who are a combined 5-9.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Charlevoix 16, Onekama 9
The Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders division has four teams (of five total) with records of at least 5-2; Charlevoix not only earned a playoff berth with this win after missing at 5-4 last fall, but also set itself up to play first-place Frankfort this week to earn a share of the league championship. The Red Rayders (6-1) scored all of their points during the first half and held Onekama (5-2) scoreless over the final 18 minutes. The Portagers might be out of the league race, but can still earn a third-straight playoff berth over the next two weeks and potentially play spoiler with Frankfort coming up in Week 9. Click for more from the Petoskey News-Review.
Hillman 56, Oscoda 42 – After opening 0-3, the Tigers have won four straight and have a shot to extend a 10-season playoff streak; Oscoda (3-4) has fallen in three straight and must win out and hope for an at-large bid.
Whittemore Prescott 22, Rogers City 12 – The Cardinals (4-3) kept themselves alive to add to a nine-season playoff streak, while putting Rogers City (3-4) also in a position of needing to win out and hope to get in at-large.
Traverse City West 16, Cadillac 14 – After losses to rival Central and Benton Harbor by five points or fewer, West (5-2) showed it could win close too and against another strong opponent; Cadillac also is 5-2 and looking for one more win to make the postseason.
Gaylord St. Mary 42, Johannesburg-Lewiston 14 – The Snowbirds (6-1) are one of the best turnaround stories of this season, going from 3-6 a year ago to earning their first playoff berth since 2009; the Cardinals (3-4) must win out for a chance to keep a five-year playoffs streak going.
Coldwater 19, Battle Creek Harper Creek 7
This looked at first glance like the upset of the weekend, but on closer inspection maybe shouldn’t be because Coldwater (5-2) has remained pretty impressive despite a couple of losses. Those defeats were by a point in overtime to Jackson Lumen Christi and 10 points in Week 2 to Marshall, both teams among the top four in the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference. The reigning champ Cardinals need a few things to happen to claim a share of the league title this time – it would take a win over Hastings this week plus losses by Harper Creek (6-1) and Lumen Christi – but if nothing else, won’t be a desirable opponent come playoff time. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.
St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic 24, Bridgman 19 – After going 2-7 a year ago, the Lakers (6-1) have bounced back and earned a playoff berth and a share of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Blue title by avenging last season’s 28-0 loss to Bridgman (4-3).
Schoolcraft 42, Gobles 0 – The Eagles (7-0) repeated as Southwestern Athletic Conference Central champions by beating second-place Lawton and this weekend third-place Gobles (5-2) by a combined score of 98-7.
Berrien Springs 47, Parchment 13 – The Shamrocks (4-2) set up a championship game this week in the BCS Red by becoming the first team since opening night to hold Parchment (4-3) to fewer than 31 points.
Watervliet 64, Delton Kellogg 34 – No opponent has been able to completely shut down Watervliet (5-2), which has scored at least 30 in all seven games and earned a shared SAC Lakeshore title (with Constantine) by knocking Delton Kellogg (4-3) into third place in the final game of the league schedule.
Southeast & Border
Hudson 35, Ida 34
Ida’s 12-game winning streak in the Lenawee County Athletic Association is over thanks to Hudson, which bounced back from a Week 6 loss to Hillsdale to edge the Bluestreaks and move into a tie with them atop the league standings. But this conference title hardly is determined. Ida (6-1) now must play Hillsdale, and Hudson (6-1) has a Week 9 game left with Blissfield – which beat Hillsdale this week. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.
Blissfield 27, Hillsdale 7 – This first win over Hillsdale (4-3) by the Royals (3-4) in eight tries over the last two decades also helped throw the LCAA standings into a spin, with both of these teams now among five either in first place or a win out with two league games to play.
Concord 41, Quincy 24 – The Yellow Jackets’ title hopes remain alive as they stayed among three first-place teams in the Big 8 Conference (and moved to 6-1 overall) while sending Quincy (5-2) a win back.
Ottawa Lake Whiteford 30, Morenci 26 – The Bobcats (7-0) set up an unofficial Tri-County Conference championship game this week with Sand Creek by surviving Morenci (4-3), which has lost its three games by a combined eight points.
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 30, Milan 20 – Nemesis SMCC (4-3) struck again with Milan needing a win to clinch a share of the Huron League title; the Big Reds (6-1) are back in a first-place tie with Grosse Ile with the Falcons and New Boston Huron only a win back with one more league game to play.
Negaunee 28, Ishpeming 16
Two losses to Ishpeming in games that decided Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference titles over the last four seasons no doubt made this victory sweeter for Negaunee (7-0), even if the Hematites aren’t in the hunt this time around. The Miners did clinch a share of the conference championship with the win and put the Hematites (3-3) in a position of needing to win out to guarantee a 15th straight playoff appearance. Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Escanaba 19, Gladstone 12 – The Eskymos (6-1) clinched a playoff berth and guaranteed their best finish since 2011, but another win also will give Gladstone (3-4) its best record since 2010.
Gwinn 60, Hancock 32 – The Modeltowners (5-2) now have their best season since 2000 after going 3-6 a year ago, but a strong finish by Hancock (4-3) can net the Bulldogs their first playoff berth since 2006.
Lake Linden-Hubbell 28, Houghton 0 – The Lakes (7-0) took advantage of their break in the Mid-Eastern Conference schedule to put up their first shutout of the fall against a Houghton team that at 3-4 now must win out to have hopes of earning an at-large playoff bid.
Kingsford 35, Iron Mountain 0 – The Flivvers (5-2) put up their third shutout this season and fifth win in a row over Iron Mountain (5-2), which hadn’t been held scoreless since 2014.
Zeeland East 12, Hudsonville Unity Christian 7
Unity Christian (6-1) had looked close to unstoppable coming into Friday, having won key games close and others by big margins. But Zeeland East (6-1) – which had fallen this season only to Hamilton in Week 3 – won a defensive battle that saw both teams score their fewest points this fall. The Chix – who moved into the Ottawa-Kent Conference Green this season from the O-K Black – next get league leader Byron Center with a chance to further mash up a race that has seen a handful of teams emerge as the favorite at some point or another over the last few weeks. Click for more from the Holland Sentinel.
Zeeland West 42, Hamilton 24 – The Dux (5-2) aren’t too familiar with life in fifth place, but have started to climb as well in the O-K Green, handing former leader Hamilton (5-2) its second straight loss.
Ravenna 29, Whitehall 28 – Ravenna (5-2) handed Whitehall (4-3) a one-point loss for the second week in a row and by doing so got a win closer to locking up a playoff berth after going 3-6 in 2015.
Lowell 41, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 37 – Many eyes were tuned in to updates from this game Friday as Forest Hills Central (5-2) led by 17 with 11:30 to play – but Lowell went ahead less than 10 minutes later to remain atop the O-K White standings and undefeated at 7-0.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 36, Cedar Springs 29 – The Huskies (4-3) broke a three-game losing streak to Cedar Springs (3-4) to set up a title chance this week against the Red Arrows.
Engadine 52, Cedarville 42
Engadine trailed into the second half, but one of the best wins in Eagles history only got better because of the dramatic finish. They moved to 7-0 for the first time since 1998 and earned a share of the Bridge-Alliance Football League title against a Cedarville program that has lost only five league games total in five seasons of 8-player football. The Trojans (6-1) hadn’t let an opponent get closer than 20 points this fall. Click for more from 9&10 News.
Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 53, Lawrence 14 – Make the Defenders (7-0) another contender for the MHSAA title next month, as this 39-point win over previously-undefeated Lawrence (6-1) was their closest game yet.
Portland St. Patrick 16, Webberville 12 – The Shamrocks (7-0) earned the first win of the Central Michigan 8-Man Conference schedule with Webberville (5-2) producing the toughest competition St. Patrick has seen so far.
Stephenson 52, Rapid River 8 – The Eagles (6-1) could be lurking in the Western Eight Conference, with this win over Rapid River (5-2) their most impressive and leader Powers North Central coming up in Week 9.
PHOTO: A Northville receiver hauls in a pass during his team's 30-24 win over Livonia Stevenson on Friday. (Click to see 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.)