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.
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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.)
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.
“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”
Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.
“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.
Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.
As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.
He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.
“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.
Guillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.
“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.
Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.
At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.
“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”
Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.
In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.
Gribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.
“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”
Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.
“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”
In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.
“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.
“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”
Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.
“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”
Big shoes to fill
As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.
Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.
Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.
Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.
“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.
As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”
His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.
He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.
“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”
Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.
“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.
“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Pam 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@example.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)