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.
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.
— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) October 6, 2018
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.
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.
— STATE CHAMPS! (@statechampsnet) October 6, 2018
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.
Breckenridge 30, Carson City 12 https://t.co/J9oKhyqXtj
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) October 6, 2018
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.
— MISportsNow (@MISportsNow) October 6, 2018
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 Michigan-football.com). 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.
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.
Edwardsburg 38, Three Rivers 15 https://t.co/FReAxey9JO
— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) October 6, 2018
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.
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.
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.
— Jack Doles (@jackdoles) October 6, 2018
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.
Second Half’s weekly “Drive for Detroit” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Student Financial Services Bureau located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information, including various student financial assistance programs to help make college more affordable for Michigan students. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 savings programs (MET/MESP) and eight additional aid programs within its Student Scholarships and Grants division. Click for more information and connect with MI Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
PHOTO: A Frankenmuth ball carrier follows his blockers during Friday's league title-clinching win over Millington. (Photo by Terry Lyons.)
Five showdowns of undefeated teams highlight this week's Michigan high school statewide schedule as we begin our second-half buildup toward the end of the regular season.
If you're not watching in person, check out most of the matchups highlighted below, and several others, on MHSAA.tv. Check in as well with the MHSAA Scores page for all of them as they come in. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)
Bay & Thumb
Croswell-Lexington (5-0) at Almont (5-0) - Watch
Just past halfway through the Blue Water Area Conference schedule, half the teams are 3-1 or 4-0 in league play – with these the co-leaders. Croswell-Lexington hasn’t played a game closer than 19 points this fall, but did lose last year’s meeting with Almont 37-26. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won the last two weeks by seven and one point, respectively – but opened the season with three straight shutouts as the stifling defense they’ve become known for has given up only 34 points total.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (3-2) - Watch, Linden (4-1) at Fenton (4-1) - Watch, Birch Run (4-1) at Freeland (5-0) - Watch, Madison Heights Lamphere (4-1) at Marine City (4-1).
Westland John Glenn (5-0) at Belleville (5-0) - Watch
Belleville’s 42-3 victory over Livonia Franklin last week was the team’s 30th straight, and the Tigers now own the state’s longest active winning streak with Powers North Central’s coming to an end at 41 on the same night. Belleville’s next challenger is John Glenn, which under second-year coach Jason Mensing has as many victories this fall as the last two combined and has nearly guaranteed its first winning season since 2014. Mensing guided his former team Ottawa Lake Whiteford through several memorable moments, and this will be the Rockets’ biggest so far under his leadership.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gibraltar Carlson (4-1) at Trenton (4-1) - Watch, Romeo (3-2) at Macomb Dakota (4-1) - Watch, Lake Orion (5-0) at Rochester Adams (3-2) - Watch, Marine City Cardinal Mooney (3-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (3-2) - Watch.
Goodrich (5-0) at Corunna (5-0) - Watch
The winner of this matchup clinches a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship, similar to last season when Goodrich won the league and Corunna was second thanks to the Martians’ 42-7 win in their Week 5 matchup. Both arguably have been even better this fall. Goodrich has handed the only losses this season to Frankenmuth and Linden, and Corunna has given up only 31 points this season and no more than 17 in a game while scoring at least 38 every time out.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Evart (4-1) at Beal City (5-0) - Watch, Grand Ledge (5-0) at DeWitt (2-2) - Watch, Fowler (5-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-1) - Watch, Montrose (4-1) at New Lothrop (4-1) - Watch.
Northern Lower Peninsula
Charlevoix (4-1) at Elk Rapids (2-3)
There’s more riding here than the initial glance my indicate. Charlevoix, with a win, would clinch a share of the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title – its first since 2020 and after finishing second to Boyne City both of the past two seasons. The Rayders haven’t had a game closer than 13 points since falling to Traverse City St. Francis by one in their season opener. Elk Rapids got off to a tough start but has won two straight – both in shutouts – and is looking for its first win over Charlevoix since 2018.
Southeast & Border
Jackson (4-1) at Adrian (4-1) - Watch
Jackson has a chance to set up a Week 7 winner-take-all matchup with Chelsea for the Southeastern Conference White championship – a nice jump after finishing third last season. The Vikings haven’t defeated Chelsea since 2018 but lost by a respectable 17-0 last fall. But they can’t overlook Adrian, still enjoying its best season since 2016 despite falling to Chelsea 28-18 last week. The Maples would love to hand Jackson a loss tonight and cheer for the Vikings next week with a title share possible.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Michigan Center (4-1) at Grass Lake (4-1) - Watch, Flat Rock (4-1) at Milan (3-2) - Watch, Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Saline (5-0) - Watch, Hudson (5-0) at Blissfield (3-2) - Watch.
Parma Western (5-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-1)
We’re halfway through the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference schedule, and this has emerged as an important matchup with Parma Western tied with Hastings for first and Harper Creek only a game back after falling to the Saxons 34-6 last week. The Beavers struggled to 3-6 a year ago but already have avenged 2022 losses to Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central and Marshall – and Western defeated them 34-0 last season before Harper Creek went 2-1 to finish the fall. Western’s defense is a notable strength again, giving up only 37 points total this season despite taking on Dearborn Divine Child and Detroit Country Day over the first two weeks.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-0) at Edwardsburg (3-2) - Watch, Constantine (4-1) at Allegan (4-1) - Watch, St. Joseph (3-2) at Portage Northern (5-0) - Watch, Muskegon Catholic Central (3-2) at Schoolcraft (4-1) - Watch.
Gladstone (4-1) at Menominee (5-0)
This is the first of three games that will tell a lot about Menominee’s season as the Maroons enter this stretch alone atop the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper at 4-0 but with Gladstone, Week 7 opponent Negaunee and Week 8 opponent Kingsford all 3-1 in league play. While this is a new conference for the Maroons this season, they have plenty of history with Gladstone as both came from the Great Northern Conference – and Menominee had won three straight in the series before Gladstone’s 28-6 victory last fall. Gladstone’s lone defeat this year came Week 3 to Kingsford, 35-12.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (3-2) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-2) - Watch, Manistique (3-2) at Iron Mountain (5-0) - Watch, Marquette (2-2) at Escanaba (1-4) - Watch, Houghton (2-3) at Calumet (1-4) - Watch.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at East Grand Rapids (5-0)
We’ve been watching East Grand Rapids’ rejuvenation this fall with this among games circled for special attention, and Forest Hills Central’s 15-14 loss to Byron Center last week hardly lessens the intrigue. The Rangers are still among favorites statewide in Division 3, ranked No. 2, and East Grand Rapids is right behind them this week at No. 3 (while Byron Center is No. 2 in Division 2). The Ottawa-Kent Conference White title won’t be decided with this matchup, but it surely will be impacted – and the Rangers have defeated EGR all three times they’ve met since the Pioneers rejoined the division in 2020.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Allendale (5-0) at Spring Lake (4-1), Lowell (4-1) at Byron Center (5-0), Caledonia (4-1) at Hudsonville (4-1) - Watch, Zeeland East (4-1) at Muskegon (3-2).
Mendon (5-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0) - Watch
Movement on the overall 8-player enrollment list have made this a matchup we’ll see just this once this fall, as Mendon – last year’s Division 2 runner-up – has moved to Division 1 and is ranked No. 2, while Lenawee Christian is top-ranked in Division 2 after winning Division 1 titles in 2020 and 2021 and reaching a Regional Final last year. Still, many 8-player eyes will be watching. The Cougars have given up just 32 points this season and no more than 12 in a game, and that defense should be part of the key matchup within the matchup because Mendon is scoring 52 per contest and coming off an 80-point performance.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Carson City-Crystal (5-0) at Coleman (4-1) - Watch, Brown City (5-0) at Mayville (5-0) - Watch, St. Ignace (5-0) at Newberry (4-1), Norway (4-1) at Ontonagon (4-1) - Watch.
Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.
PHOTO Muskegon Catholic Central and Orchard View players reach to get a hand on the ball during their meeting this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)