Drive for Detroit: Week 7 in Review

October 8, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Southfield Arts & Technology over West Bloomfield, Grandville over Holland West Ottawa, Rochester Adams over Farmington Hills Harrison and Webberville over Camden-Frontier.

Those are just a few more upsets in addition to those we delved into in today’s “Drive for Detroit” review after Friday night provided a season’s worth of the unexpected.

Of course, the majority of headlines came from league championships won and playoff berths earned. And we tell of many of those as well in our latest report from around the state.

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Bay & Thumb

HEADLINER: Frankenmuth 35, Millington 12 The Eagles (6-1) extended their Tri-Valley Conference East winning streak to 29 and their league title streak to seven seasons with their fourth straight win over the rival Cardinals (5-2). Frankenmuth led just 7-6 at halftime before scoring 21 unanswered points over the third quarter and first few minutes of the fourth. Click for more from the Saginaw News and see below for highlights from WEYI.

Also of note: Lapeer 31, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 28 The Lightning (7-0) will face Davison in Week 9 for the Saginaw Valley League Blue title – after just getting past what might be the best 3-4 team in the state. The Cavaliers have lost three of those games by seven points or fewer. 

Remember this one: Flushing 26, Fenton 7 This guarantees an end to Fenton’s Flint Metro League title streak at seven seasons (including shared titles), and puts Flushing (5-2) in line to earn a share this month if leader Swartz Creek trips up over the next two weeks. Fenton (5-2) still can qualify for the playoffs for the 11th straight season with one more win.

More shoutouts: Almont 51, Richmond 12 The Raiders (7-0) earned a share of the Blue Water Area Conference championship by avenging last season’s loss to the Blue Devils (4-3). Hemlock 16, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary 7 With Ithaca dominating the TVC West yearly, others don't get a ton of attention – but Hemlock (6-1) secured a third straight playoff berth by knocking the Cardinals (6-1) out of a tie they shared with the Yellowjackets for first in the league. 

Greater Detroit

HEADLINER: Dearborn Heights Crestwood 32, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 22 The dream season continues for Crestwood, which clinched the Western Wayne Athletic Conference title – its first league championship since 1985. The Chargers (7-0) also reached seven wins for the first time since 2000 – and achieved both against neighbor Robichaud (6-1), which also entered undefeated. Click for more from the Press & Guide and see highlights below from State Champs Sports Network.

Also of note: Oxford 20, Clarkston 17 This rises to the top of the week’s upsets because of all that Clarkston (6-1) has accomplished the last few seasons. The reigning Division 1 champion has won two titles over the last four years and last season beat Oxford 49-0. The Wildcats (5-2) are seeking their first playoff berth since 2014 and hadn’t beaten Clarkston since 2011.

Remember this one: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 31, Detroit Catholic Central 29 This was another sizable upset – and if St. Mary’s (3-4) rebounds from an 0-3 start to make the playoffs with an at-large bid, it will mean more than just knocking the Shamrocks (5-2) out of a first-place tie in the Detroit Catholic League Central.

More shoutouts: Detroit Martin Luther King 27, Detroit Denby 18 The Crusaders (6-1) finished a perfect run through the Detroit Public School League Black, but this says a lot as well about Denby (5-2) for playing it close, as King’s only loss was by three to powerful Muskegon. Warren DeLaSalle 35, Davison 7 These two have MHSAA championship aspirations, and reigning Division 2 title winner DeLaSalle (6-1) looks pretty powerful after handing Davison (6-1) its first defeat.


HEADLINER: Breckenridge 30, Carson City-Crystal 12 To put the last three seasons in perspective, recall that Breckenridge (7-0) was 0-9 in its final season in the TVC West in 2015. Since, the Huskies are 26-3 overall, 19-0 in Mid-State Activities Conference play, and with this win over the Eagles (6-1) claimed a third straight league title. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun and see highlights below from FOX 17.

Also of note: Olivet 34, Lake Odessa Lakewood 14 The Greater Lansing Activities Conference is owned by these two programs, with Olivet (7-0) clinching its second straight outright title and third in the league’s five years of existence. Lakewood (5-2) won the other two championships, in 2015 and 2016.

Remember this one: Clare 21, Beaverton 2 With the Pioneers (6-1) handing the Beavers (5-2) their first league loss, the Jack Pine Conference title is going to come down to the final week of the league season. These two and Roscommon all are 5-1 in league play.

More shoutouts: Williamston 14, Mason 7 Three teams clinched shares this week of the Capital Area Activities Conference Red title – Williamston, Haslett and St. Johns – but the Hornets arguably had the toughest league finale opponent as Mason (3-4) has lost now three games by seven points or fewer. Pewamo-Westphalia 61, Dansville 0 The fact these two both entered this Central Michigan Athletic Conference-deciding game undefeated in league play says a lot about P-W’s absolute dominance. The Pirates (7-0) have won 27 straight in the CMAC, while Dansville (5-2) won their other five this season by an average of 36 points per game.

Northern Lower Peninsula

HEADLINER: Johannesburg-Lewiston 18, Harbor Springs 15 The Cardinals (6-1) have to play out the string, but defeating former co-leader Harbor Springs (6-1) put them in position to claim their first league title since 2009. Johannesburg-Lewiston can finish the Northern Michigan Football League Legacy run with wins over Newberry and Indian River Inland Lakes, which are a combined 2-12 overall. Click for more from the Gaylord Herald-Times and see highlights below from MI Sports Now.

Also of note: Manistee 35, Muskegon Catholic Central 27 The Chippewas (7-0) finished an outright title run in the Lakes 8 Conference and tied their most wins in a season since 1961 (according to The Crusaders (3-4) must win out to have a chance at an eighth straight postseason bid.  

Remember this one: Elk Rapids 31, Frankfort 21 The playoff hopes for both hang in the balance; Elk Rapids (5-2) must win one of its next two facing two opponents with winning records, while Frankfort (4-3) now must win out for an automatic bid although the Panthers would be a strong at-large contender at 5-4.

More shoutouts: Petoskey 22, Gaylord 21 The Northmen (4-3) have now won as many games as the last two seasons combined, and forced the Blue Devils (5-2) into a tough spot needing to win one of their final two games to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Kingsley 56, Maple City Glen Lake 22 The Stags (6-1) most likely won’t catch Traverse City St. Francis in the NMFL Legends division, but did get a win over the Leaders division champ Lakers (3-4).

Southeast & Border

HEADLINER: Adrian Lenawee Christian 24, Pittsford 7 The Cougars (6-1) claimed a share of the Southern Central Athletic Association title by beating first-place Pittsford for the first time since 2015, holding the Wildcats to their fewest points since Week 2 of last season. It’s Lenawee Christian’s first league title in football – the Cougars split the championship with Pittsford and Climax-Scotts. Click for more from the Adrian Daily Telegram.

Also of note: Grass Lake 32, Napoleon 7 The Warriors (7-0) finished a run of three straight wins over 2017 tri-champions Addison, Michigan Center and Napoleon (5-2) to clinch a share of the Cascades Conference title.

Remember this one: Hillsdale 44, Ida 28 The Hornets (7-0) moved within one more win of clinching a share of the Lenawee County Athletic Association title, although they still must play two more league opponents with winning records after dealing Ida (5-2) just its second defeat.

More shoutouts: Dexter 17, Pinckney 14 The next one won’t come easily with two tough opponents ahead, but Dexter (5-2) is a win away from clinching its first playoff appearance. Ypsilanti Community 25, Ypsilanti Lincoln 7 The Grizzlies (3-4)  got off to an 0-3 start but have turned things around and beat rival Lincoln (4-3) for the first time in three seasons.

Southwest Corridor

HEADLINER: Edwardsburg 38, Three Rivers 15 Although the Eddies (7-0) still must beat at least one of two bottom-half teams in the Wolverine Conference to clinch, this win against co-leader Three Rivers (6-1) paved the way for a sixth straight championship. The reigning Division 4 runner-up is on pace to outscore last season’s team and has given up only 34 points – incredible compared even to the impressive 88 they surrendered during the 2017 regular season. Click for more from the Niles Daily Star.

Also of note: Climax-Scotts 28, Athens 14 There’s a chance all four SCAA teams make the playoffs, and Climax-Scotts (3-3) came back to earn a share of the league title after a 1-3 start. Athens also is 3-3 playing a five-game schedule.

Remember this one: Kalamazoo United 29, Delton Kellogg 12 Four of six teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley are 5-2 or better, and United (7-0) is tied with Schoolcraft for first place. The Panthers (5-2) will try to become the league’s fourth playoff qualifier over the next two weeks.

More shoutouts: Portage Northern 35, Battle Creek Central 21 The Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West co-leading Huskies (5-2) tuned up with a strong crossover win over the East’s second-place Bearcats (4-3). Niles 18, Kalamazoo Central 13 The Vikings (3-4) have two more tough games left as they seek an at-large bid, but beating SMAC East leader Central (4-3) should remain memorable no matter how things finish up.

Upper Peninsula

HEADLINER: Ishpeming 14, Iron River West Iron County 0 It’s fair to say the Hematites (7-0) have made it all the way back from back-to-back three-win seasons. They can clinch a share of the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference small-school title this week after handing the Wykons (5-2) their first shutout since 2015. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

Also of note: Escanaba 28, Gladstone 15 The Eskymos (5-2) are the only team of five in the Great Northern Conference that can still earn an automatic playoff berth, and they’ll also be rooting for Gladstone (3-4) this week to down league leader Marquette and create a shared GNC title.

Remember this one: Gwinn 26, Norway 21 Gwinn’s final two games are against teams with winning records, but the Modeltowners (5-2) are in position to earn a playoff berth and potentially knocked Norway (3-4) out of the mix.

More shoutouts: Iron Mountain 28, Hancock 21 The Mountaineers (5-2) also moved within a win of clinching a postseason appearance after going 1-8 only a year ago. Calumet 35, Houghton 0 The Copper Kings (7-0) haven’t given up a point since mid-September and only 32 total this season.

West Michigan

HEADLINER: Montague 25, Muskegon Oakridge 24 Perhaps the most wow-inspiring result of the weekend saw Montague score on the final play as time ran out in the fourth quarter – and then add a two-point conversion for a walk-off win. It was Montague’s second straight and third in four seasons over the rival Eagles (6-1) and earned the Wildcats (6-1) a share of the West Michigan Conference championship. Click for more from the Local Sports Journal and see below for highlights from WOOD TV.

Also of note: Grand Rapids South Christian 24, Grand Rapids Christian 10 The Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold took a turn as the Sailors (4-3) knocked the Eagles (5-2) out of a tie for first. Christian faces first-place East Grand Rapids this week to try to regain a shared lead.

Remember this one: Rockford 13, Hudsonville 7 The Rams (4-3) have gone from 1-3 and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1994 to tied for second in the 0-K Red with this win over former co-leader Hudsonville (5-2). Rockford is in control of its league title destiny with first-place East Kentwood coming up in Week 9.

More shoutouts: Grand Rapids Catholic Central 35, Spring Lake 12 In successive weeks, the Cougars (6-1) have played a part in dealing Allendale and Spring Lake (5-2) out of the O-K Blue race, and now are tied for the lead with Grand Rapids West Catholic. East Grand Rapids 33, Middleville Thornapple Kellogg 13 The Pioneers (5-2) held onto the top spot in the Gold by downing a Trojans team that at 5-2 is enjoying its best season since 2011.


HEADLINER: Brethren 36, Mesick 22 The Bobcats (5-2) won one game in 2015, their final season of 11-player, and improved to two victories in 2016, three last fall and now own the outright West Michigan D League title. One more win would put Brethren at six for the first time since going 8-3 in 1990. Click for more from the Manistee News Advocate.

Also of note: New Haven Merritt 54, Caseville 7 The Mustangs (4-3) moved into first place alone in the North Central Thumb League White. But despite falling into a second-place tie, Caseville (4-3) with one more win will have its most successful season since bringing back football in 2012.

Remember this one: Litchfield 54, St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran 6 The Terriers (1-6) won their first game since Week 9 of 2012, building on eight and 10-point losses earlier this season that were its closest defeats in six years.

More shoutouts Kinde-North Huron 28, Peck 22 The Warriors (4-3) extended their winning streak versus the Pirates (5-2) to four, this time knocking them out of a first-place tie in the NCTL Blue. Ontonagon 20, Stephenson 8 After a 1-3 start, Ontonagon (4-3) downed Stephenson (4-3) for the first time in five tries in 8-player to keep its hopes of returning to the playoffs alive.

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PHOTO: A Frankenmuth ball carrier follows his blockers during Friday's league title-clinching win over Millington. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)