Drive for Detroit: Week 8 in Review
October 20, 2014
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Just when we think we’ve got this season figured out … Week 8 happens.
How are these for scores that command a double-take?
- Mattawan, fighting for a playoff berth, beats a league champion in Stevensville Lakeshore 12-10.
- Caledonia hands Lowell its first shutout in 16 years, 33-0.
- Dearborn, also fighting for a playoff berth, delivers local rival Robichaud its first loss, 28-12.
The second-to-last week of the regular season did have more happy than sad as another batch of automatic qualifiers was added and the group of possible at-large teams grew:
- Felch North Dickinson saw the longest playoff streak in MHSAA history officially end as it fell to 3-5; the team no longer can qualify for the postseason for the 24th straight season.
- But in New Boston, there was celebration as the team set a school record for wins in moving to 7-1.
- And Burton Atherton backers surely enjoyed clinching their first playoff berth ever after missing by a win two of the last four years.
Read on for details behind more of the most intriguing results to emerge from Week 8 from all over the state:
Bay and Thumb
Flint Beecher 19, Montrose 14
The long-anticipated Genesee Area Conference Red finale played to its billing, with Beecher scoring with 17 seconds left on the clock to earn its first league title since 2009. Montrose (6-2), league champs the last three seasons, could’ve forced a three-way share of this season’s title with a win – Goodrich would’ve been the third team, but finished second. Beecher can finish the regular season undefeated also for the first time since 2009 with a win over Byron on Friday. Click for more from the Flint Journal.
Marine City 39, Warren Woods Tower 14 – Marine City (8-0) got back the Macomb Area Conference Gold championship, keeping second-place Warren Woods-Tower (6-2) from gaining a share.
Bay City Central 26, Mount Pleasant 22 – The Wolves (4-4) can still earn a first playoff berth since 2007 after beating the Oilers (5-3) for the first time in their recent eight-game series.
Lapeer 34, Flint Carman-Ainsworth 31 (OT) – The Lightning (8-0) finished a perfect run through the Saginaw Valley Association Red, but not without some necessary extra work against Carman-Ainsworth (6-2).
Birch Run 27, Millington 21 – The Panthers (7-1) edged the Cardinals (7-1) in the final game on the Tri-Valley East Conference schedule to make those two and Frankenmuth tri-champions after Millington led by a win coming in.
Lower Up North
Whittemore-Prescott 31, Hillman 14
While not a league game, this one unofficially recognized the top team on the northeast side of the Lower Peninsula – and once again it’s Whittemore-Prescott (8-0), which is one more winnable game from its first perfect regular season since 2002. Hillman (7-1) also entered undefeated and a league champion. Click for more from the Bay City Times.
Traverse City West 22, Gaylord 7 – Gaylord (5-3) has been working toward its first playoff berth since 2007, but had to put its celebration off while West (4-4) kept itself in the mix for an at-large bid.
Boyne City 28, Elk Rapids 23 – The Ramblers (8-0) won their eighth game for the third straight season and need one more for a first perfect regular season since 2001; Elk Rapids (4-4) will need help to return to the playoffs.
Mancelona 30, Central Lake 22 – Mancelona (5-3) is still alive for an automatic playoff berth, while Central Lake (4-4) is not and must win this week for a chance at an at-large bid.
Charlevoix 27, Frankfort 6 – The Rayders (5-3) quietly have won three straight to set up for their first playoff appearance since 2009, while forcing Frankfort (5-2) into a must-win situation to return to the postseason after missing the last two years.
Southwest and Border
Watervliet 28, Decatur 19
Make that six straight wins for Watervliet over Decatur, this one for the Southwestern Athletic Conference South championship. The Panthers (7-1) earned a share, giving them at least part of the league title for four straight seasons and seven straight wins this fall after opening with a one-point loss at Gobles. Decatur (7-1) will have more to play for next month, having already qualified for the playoffs as well. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.
Union City 42, Homer 19 – The Chargers (8-0) finished their second Big 8 Conference title in four years, winning big to keep second-place Homer (6-2) from earning a share.
Fennville 22, Gobles 12 – This, combined with Bangor’s upset of Saugatuck, created a three-team tie atop the SAC North standings between Saugatuck (5-3), Fennville (5-3) and Gobles (6-2).
Constantine 35, Olivet 14 – The Kalamazoo Valley Association champ Falcons (7-1) bounced back from its first loss by doubling up former league rival Olivet (6-2), the champ in the first-year Greater Lansing Activities Conference.
Edwardsburg 42, Berrien Springs 21 – The Eddies earned a share of the Wolverine B Conference West championship against second-place Berrien Springs (5-3), which will need a major upset of Edwardsburg by Coloma this week to also gain a share.
Marquette 9, Negaunee 8
The wind and rain couldn’t distract Marquette kicker Max Bednarek, who drilled a game-winning 22-yard field goal as time ran out to push the Redmen to 7-1. Marquette trailed 8-0 and went for two unsuccessfully after scoring its lone touchdown. Negaunee has now lost three games this season by five points or fewer, and at 4-4 will need some help to earn an at-large playoff bid. Click for more from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Lake Linden-Hubbell 36, Felch North Dickinson 30 – The Lakes (7-1) have built their best record since 2010 with three wins by eight or fewer points, while North Dickinson (3-5) officially won’t make the playoffs for the first time since 1990 after its third loss of six points or fewer.
Bark River-Harris 44, Powers North Central 22 – The Broncos (6-2) bounced back from a disappointing loss to Mid-Eastern Football Conference champ Munising to earn its first playoff appearance since 2009.
Iron Mountain 23, Hurley, Wis. 22 – The Moutaineers (5-3) put themselves in a win-and-in playoff scenario this week in part by going for two after a late score against Hurley (7-2) to create a two-possession game, and then holding the ball until nearly the end so Hurley didn’t get another chance.
Crystal Falls Forest Park 53, Bessemer 14 – The Trojans (6-1) can’t win the Great Western Conference this time, but are undefeated in Michigan with their lone loss to Hurley; Bessemer, at 4-3 but playing only eight 11-player games, can still qualify with a win this week against Ironwood.
Clare 30, Harrison 29
Clare (6-2) has come up with the right recipe for winning the Jack Pine Conference. For the third straight season, the Pioneers have opened 0-2 against top nonleague competition and gone on to win the league, and can clinch it outright this week against Roscommon. But Harrison gave Clare its toughest challenge of any team during this eight-season title run – Clare trailed by as many as 16, and a potential game-winning field goal for the Hornets (7-1) fell just short. Click for more from the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun.
Fowler 20, Pewamo-Westphalia 13 – One of the best rivalries in this region decided a league championship again; Fowler (8-0) claimed the Central Michigan Athletic Conference title, while Pewamo-Westphalia (6-2) fell to second place.
Lansing Sexton 21, Lansing Everett 12 – This was all a neighborly rivalry game should be, with Everett holding Sexton to its second-fewest points this season and the Big Reds (8-0) keeping the Vikings (5-3) to their fewest.
Haslett 43, Williamston 23 – The Vikings (4-4) looked likely to miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, but upsetting Williamston (6-2) helps their at-large chances significantly.
Hanover-Horton 34, Grass Lake 28 – Not only had Hanover-Horton not beaten Grass Lake (5-3) since 2005, the Comets (7-1) had scored only a combined 15 points in their last five losses to the Warriors.
Caledonia 33, Lowell 0
The Fighting Scots just keep piling up impressive wins. After Caledonia (6-2) lost to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central by 12 in Week 3, there probably weren't many who would've believed the Scots would go on to beat Rockford and now Lowell by a combined 75-0. Because of that Forest Hills Central loss, Caledonia only shares first place in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White with the Red Arrows (7-1), but both can clinch a share of the title this week. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.
Reed City 60, Remus Chippewa Hills 32 – The Coyotes (7-1) earned a share of the Central State Activities Association Gold title while keeping Chippewa Hills (6-2) from the same.
Cedar Springs 48, Greenville 16 – The Red Hawks (7-1) earned a share of the O-K Bronze title, its first league championship since 1978, while forcing Greenville (4-4) into an at-large playoff scenario.
East Kentwood 35, Rockford 3 – The Falcons (7-1) looked capable of beating Rockford (6-2) to push both into a tie atop the O-K Red standings, but the final margin was much more unexpected.
East Grand Rapids 31, Grand Rapids Christian 7 – The Pioneers (5-3) look good for the playoffs with 1-7 Jenison up this week, and left Christian (5-3) in a tougher position with the Eagles now facing Caledonia.
Southfield 20, Oak Park 16
The Bluejays (6-2) swooped in for a share of their second straight Oakland Activities Association White championship after falling a game behind with a Week 5 loss to Farmington Hills Harrison. Oak Park (6-2) had beaten Harrison and entered Week 8 atop the league, but couldn’t break Southfield’s defense – which held the Knights 22 points below their average. Harrison ended up with a share of the league title as well with Oak Park’s loss. Click for more from the Detroit Free Press.
Harper Woods Chandler Park 22, Warren Michigan Collegiate 13 – Chandler Park (6-2) won this deciding game in the Charter School Conference, sending Michigan Collegiate (7-1) into second place; Chandler Park is 34-1 in league play since its start in 2009.
Farmington 24, Birmingham Groves 20 – The Falcons (7-1) finished their bounce-back from 2-7 last season to OAA Blue champs this fall by edging second-place Groves (6-2).
Ypsilanti Lincoln 28, Ypsilanti Community 27 – Lincoln (6-2) won the Southeastern Conference White outright for the second straight year despite trailing Community (5-3) at one point by three scores.
Detroit Cass Tech 19, Detroit East English 12 – The Technicians (8-0) advanced to meet Martin Luther King in the Detroit Public School League Final thanks to three fourth-quarter touchdowns by standout running back Mike Weber; East English (5-3) must win this week to guarantee an MHSAA playoff berth.
Peck 30, Deckerville 28 (OT)
This has become arguably the best rivalry in 8-player football (the argument being against Rapid River/Cedarville). Peck (8-0) made it 21 straight wins including three straight over Deckerville, although the Eagles made it plenty tough by scoring first in overtime and also leading into the fourth quarter. The win gives Peck the North Central Thumb League title outright while dropping Deckerville (6-2) into second place.
Battle Creek St. Philip 48, Portland St. Patrick 0 – This battle of undefeateds didn't match up to that expectation, but these two have history of meeting again during the playoffs.
Cedarville 57, Bellaire 14 – This one too didn't necessarily match up to a matchup of teams with a combined one loss, with Cedarville dominating to match Bellaire at 7-1 overall and second place in the Bridge Football Alliance.
PHOTO: Beal City, carrying the ball, defeated McBain on Friday to claim a share of the championship in the Highland Conference. (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.)