Drive for Detroit: Week 8 in Review

October 15, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

As the old cliché goes, Week 8 was why they play the games.

Sure, some of the weekend’s results could be anticipated. But others – think Detroit Martin Luther King over Cass Tech, Oxford over Oak Park and Bessemer over Crystal Falls Forest Park to mention a few – no doubt caught some high school football fans by surprise.

Following are the most significant results from all corners of Michigan during the second-to-last weekend of the regular season. The final games finish off this week, with playoff brackets to be announced during the Selection Sunday Show at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports Detroit.

Greater Detroit

Clarkston 21, Lake Orion 14

In a game pitting the two top-ranked teams in Division 1 according to The Associated Press, No. 1 Clarkston scored with 14.3 seconds to play to move to 8-0 and win the Oakland Activities Association Red championship. Lake Orion fell to 7-1. Click to read more from The Oakland Press.

Also noted:

Detroit Catholic Central 35, Orchard Lake St. Mary 13 – DCC’s win created a three-way tie atop the Detroit Catholic League Central standings, and set up these two to meet again in this week’s Prep Bowl. St. Mary (6-2) is in the playoffs for sure, while DCC (5-3) can earn an automatic berth.

Detroit Martin Luther King 44, Detroit Cass Tech 13 – King might be the best 5-3 team in Michigan, but it’s fair to call this an upset with Cass Tech (6-2) considered among the state’s elite all season. King now will face Detroit East English in Friday’s Public School League championship game.

Walled Lake Northern 55, Hartland 52 – Northern (6-2) not only handed Hartland (7-1) its first loss, but most importantly earned its first playoff berth ever.

Oxford 14, Oak Park 12 – Oak Park (7-1) still won the Oakland Activities Association White title, but Oxford (5-3) kept the Knights from doing so perfectly while keeping its automatic playoff berth chances alive.

Bay and Thumb

Midland 42, Bay City Western 15

Midland had fallen just shy of a league title over the last four seasons, with a combined five league losses during that stretch. But the Chemics (8-0) made it seven wins over Western in their last nine meetings, and earned a share of the Saginaw Valley Association North championship with Midland Dow coming up this week. The Warriors (7-1) must hope for a Midland loss and beat rival Bay City Central to also earn a share. Click to read more from the Bay City Times.

Also noted:

Fenton 55, Swartz Creek 28 – By beating Swartz Creek (7-1), Fenton (7-1) created a four-way tie atop the Flint Metro League standings with a league game to play.

Marine City 35, St. Clair 34 – After opening this season with a nonleague loss, Marine City (7-1) has won seven straight and clinched the Macomb Area Conference Gold title with this nail-biter over second-place St. Clair (7-1)

Merrill 35, Saginaw Valley Lutheran 27 – The Vandals (5-3) kept their automatic playoff berth hopes alive, while dealing a blow to Valley Lutheran (5-3) as it goes for its first berth ever.

Burton Bendle 20, Genesee 16 – Bendle (7-1) has earned a third-straight playoff berth, and remains a win behind New Lothrop in the Genesee Area Conference Blue standings. Genesee (5-3) can still earn an automatic berth, but needs to beat New Lothrop to do so.

Southwest and Border

Stevensville Lakeshore 28, Mattawan 16

It’s something that both of these teams were undefeated heading into this game, given the competitiveness of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West this fall. But Mattawan (7-1) couldn’t make it two in a row over Lakeshore (8-0), which earned a share of the league title. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Dowagiac 28, Edwardsburg 8 – The Wolverine Conference West came down to the final league game of the season, with Dowagiac (8-0) edging runner-up Edwardsburg (6-2).

Watervliet 26, Decatur 19 – Four of six teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference South have made the playoffs, and a fifth can this week; Watervliet (8-0) leads them all and earned a share of the title, while knocking Decatur (6-2) into a tie for third.

Paw Paw 46, Otsego 23 – Paw Paw (8-0) avoided being part of a three-way championship in the Wolverine Conference East by knocking off formerly second-place Otsego (6-2).

Mendon 33, Buchanan 28 – Mendon (8-0) got its biggest scare with its first win by fewer than 20 points, but also big playoff points because Buchanan (6-2) is a Class B school.

West Michigan

Lowell 14, Caledonia 7

Caledonia (6-2) nearly crashed Lowell’s run at the O-K White title. But the Red Arrows (7-1) – despite five turnovers – held on to earn the right to play Grand Rapids Christian this weekend for the league championship. Click to read more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids West Catholic 25, Cedar Springs 20 – This close call earned West Catholic (7-1) the opportunity to play Grand Rapids Northview this week for the O-K Bronze title, and might’ve dropped Cedar Springs (4-4) out of playoff contention.

Hamilton 42, Zeeland West 38 – The Hawkeyes (5-3) edged a win closer to their first playoff berth since 2009, while knocking Zeeland West (5-3) into a three-way tie atop the O-K Green with a league game to play.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 28, Hastings 14 – The Cougars (8-0) clinched a share of the O-K Gold championship, although Hastings (6-2) can still earn another share in the unlikely scenario that GRCC falls this week to winless Wayland.

Fruitport 24, Muskegon Catholic Central 21 (OT) – The Trojans (8-0) hadn’t faced MCC (5-3) since 1976, but are now one win away from a 9-0 season for the first time since 2006.


Lansing Waverly 38, Mason 16

The Warriors (5-3) need another win Friday over Fowlerville to earn an automatic playoff berth. But it’s fair to say this was their best win since 2002, the last time Waverly made the postseason. Mason (5-3) has beaten the Warriors by an average of 21 points per game over the last four seasons. Click to read more from Mlive Lansing.

Also noted:

Clare 27, Sanford Meridian 7 – After opening 0-2, Clare (6-2) has stormed back to win a share of the Jack Pine Conference title while putting Sanford Meridian (5-3) in a must-win situation to earn an automatic playoff berth.

Grand Ledge 40, East Lansing 0 – This was expected to be much closer with both 5-2 coming in; the Comets (6-2) are no doubt relieved to have a playoff berth in hand with a tough game against Holt coming up, while the Trojans (5-3) should still get in with two-win Okemos next on the schedule.

Williamston 25, Haslett 22 – A late score kept playoff hopes alive for Williamston (5-3), while potentially derailing those of Haslett (4-4).

Portland 37, DeWitt 7 – When these teams were in the same league a decade ago, few would have believed Portland (7-1) could beat DeWitt (6-2) twice in row; this made it so.

Lower Up North

Maple City Glen Lake 26, Traverse City St. Francis 20

Glen Lake (8-0) hadn’t won more than five games in a season since 2001, but lined itself up for its first perfect regular season since that season with a late score to claim this nonleague game. In doing so, the Lakers also might’ve finished St. Francis’ MHSAA-best 22-season playoff streak – the Gladiators fell to 4-4. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Boyne City 44, Elk Rapids 30 – Boyne City (8-0) remained tied for first in the Lake Michigan Conference with a league game to play, while dropping Elk Rapids (4-4) into a tough spot for playoff qualification.

Grayling 63, East Jordan 29 – Grayling (8-0) didn’t have as much to stress with East Jordan (0-8), but will face Boyne City this week for the Lake Michigan Conference title.

West Branch Ogemaw Heights 56, Traverse City West 39 – Ogemaw Heights kept automatic playoff berth hopes alive by moving to 5-3, and made life a little less comfortable for Traverse City West, also 5-3.

Lake City 49, Manton 12 – Lake City (7-1) can only hope for a Beal City loss this week that would split the Highland Conference title. Manton (4-4) hopes to get into the playoffs if it can finish with a victory.

Upper Peninsula

Bessemer 46, Crystal Falls Forest Park 15

Bessemer (5-2) hadn’t celebrated a winning season since 2006. Now the Speedboys also can celebrate a league title, with this win giving it a shared championship in the Great Western Conference with Hurley (Wis.). Bessmer (also referred to as Gogebic because it is a co-op with Wakefield) also qualified for the playoffs, something Forest Park (6-2) had already secured. Click to read more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

Also noted:

Kingsford 49, Gladstone 28 – Kingsford (7-1) finished a perfect 4-0 in the Great Northern UP Conference by knocking off fifth-place Gladstone (2-6)

Eagle River Northland Pines (Wis.) 68, L'Anse 24 – Northland Pines (8-0) avoided a three-way tie in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference, while dropping L’Anse (6-2) to third in the final league standings.

Marquette 34, Negaunee 26 – Marquette (4-4), playing eight games this regular season, kept a slim hope of playoffs alive by beating Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference champion Negaunee (7-1, with a share of the title so far). Marquette also claimed the Diamond Jubilee Trophy, which originated in 1969.

Menominee 48, Marinette (Wis.) 26 – This was the 106th meeting between the two, dating back to 1894.

Trophy Games

Every week, the MHSAA highlights trophy games played throughout the state. Here are a few more from Week 8:

  • Brown Jug – This trophy contended by Center Line and Warren Lincoln dates back to 1947. Final: Warren Lincoln 52, Center Line 13.
  • Oak Chest – Lansing Everett beat the Big Reds for the first time since 2008, and after losing by 32 to Sexton in 2011. Final: Everett 32, Sexton 0.
  • Sugar Bowl – Reese made it seven straight wins in this series against Unionville-Sebewaing for a trophy that originated in 1994. Final: Reese 55, USA 42. 
  • Spirit Bell – Ithaca at St. Louis - Originated in 1972, this is an all-sports traveling trophy. The Bell goes on the line again next week when the two schools meet in volleyball. Final: Ithaca 70, St. Louis 0.

PHOTO: Clarkston junior running back Ian Eriksen (25) searches for an opening during Friday's win against Lake Orion. (Click to see more at Terry McNamara Photography.)

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly 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:

8-Player Football

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.)