Drive for Detroit: Week 8 in Review

October 19, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

One point can mean one win and change an entire season. More than a few teams are feeling that impact after a nail-biting Week 8. 

Michigan high school teams played nine one-point games last week. And those games resulted in the naming of two league champions, two more teams not winning a share of league titles, two teams earning playoff spots and three more keeping playoff hopes alive, and two more seeing their playoff hopes dashed. 

See more on most of those games in this week's report below. 

Bay & Thumb

Richmond 15, Algonac 14

This still has been a dream season for Algonac (7-1) – but the Muskrats were forced to share some of it with perennial power Richmond (7-1) after the Blue Devils held them scoreless over the second half of their Blue Water Area Conference title-deciding contest. Richmond gets a share of the title – its second in three seasons – with its lone league loss by one to Almont. Algonac’s share was its first league title since 1972 and came after a 1-8 finish only a year ago. Click for more from the Port Huron Times-Herald.

Also noted:

Montrose 7, Flint Beecher 6 – For the first time in a long time, this didn’t have Genesee Area Conference Red title implications for both, but Montrose (5-3) needed a win to stay alive for an automatic playoff berth and in the process kept Beecher (5-2) from claiming a share of the title.

New Lothrop 49, Flint Hamady 0 – Hamady (6-2) had a chance to make the GAC Blue title also a three-team share, but New Lothrop (8-0) held on for the outright championship for the sixth straight season.

Croswell-Lexington 28, Almont 27 – Back to the BWAC, Croswell-Lexington (6-2) earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2012 with its first win over Almont (6-2) since that fall.

Birch Run 21, Essexville Garber 15 – The Panthers (5-3) stayed alive for a second straight playoff berth, while Garber (4-4) will need a win and good fortune to extend a three-year postseason streak. 

Greater Detroit

Macomb Dakota 35, Sterling Heights Stevenson 28 (OT)

A wild Macomb Area Conference Red race finally is sorted out, with Dakota (6-2) – which suffered its only league loss all the way back in Week 3 – emerging as champion for the fourth straight season. Stevenson (6-2), Clinton Township Chippewa Valley and Utica Eisenhower all finished a game back and Warren Mott was two win out – and Eisenhower and Mott can join the other three with automatic playoff berths if they win this week. Click for more from the Macomb Daily.

Also noted:

Harper Woods Chandler Park 28, Warren Michigan Collegiate 18 – Chandler Park (6-2) has put together a pair of streaks that remain under the radar; the Eagles have made the playoffs all seven seasons they’ve played a full schedule, and this win over Michigan Collegiate (5-3) made them 40-0 in Charter School Conference play all-time.  

Madison Heights Madison 56, St. Clair Shores South Lake 42 – Madison (7-1) won its 19th straight MAC Silver game and fourth straight league title while handing South Lake (7-1) its first loss this fall – which is still one to celebrate after South Lake's 2-7 finish in 2014.

Waterford Our Lady 36, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 10 – The Detroit Catholic League C-D title came down to two undefeated teams, but Our Lady (8-0) emerged with its third straight championship although the Cranes are still enjoying their best season since at least 2005.

Warren Cousino 35, Grosse Pointe North 34 – Another one-pointer meant a shared MAC Blue title between these two after Cousino (5-3) beat North (4-4) by three last season to claim the championship outright. 


Pewamo-Westphalia 34, Fowler 7

The 50th game between these rivals extended a pattern of the teams trading victories to seven seasons. The Pirates (8-0) also kept a streak alive of giving up no more than seven points, which they've done seven straight weeks after giving up 25 in a win over Madison Heights Madison on opening night. Most importantly, P-W linched an outright Central Michigan Athletic Conference title. Fowler, last season’s champion, finished third but remains playoff-ready at 6-2. Click for more from the Ionia Sentinel-Standard.

Also noted:

Grand Ledge 31, East Lansing 21 – The Trojans (4-4) put a scare into Grand Ledge (8-0) nearly to the end, but the Comets emerged with a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title and a chance to win it outright this week against second-place Holt.

Fowlerville 24, Lake Odessa Lakewood 21 – Not only did the Gladiators (4-4) hand Lakewood (7-1) its first loss this fall, they stayed in the running for an at-large playoff bid that would return them to the postseason for the first time since 2010. 

Lansing Everett 33, Lansing Sexton 32 – With nothing to play for but city pride, these two enjoyed another nail-biting classic, with Everett (3-5) breaking a two-season winning streak by the Big Reds (1-7) – who lost their fifth game by a touchdown or less and third by a point.

Haslett 28, Williamston 7 – The Vikings (5-3) remain alive for an automatic playoff berth after missing last season, and Williamston (4-4) might have a shot at an at-large bid with a win this week over Lake Fenton. 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Frankfort 20, Charlevoix 0

Frankfort clinched its first league title since 2008 and avenged Charlevoix’s win in this matchup a year ago. By moving to 7-1, the Panthers also guaranteed their best finish since at least 2011 and like Fowler, kept alive a streak of giving up no more than seven points in a game since opening night. In fact, the Panthers have given up only 42 all fall. Charlevoix (5-3) still can clinch a playoff spot this week against Harbor Springs. Click for more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Traverse City West 35, Gaylord 14 – After an 0-4 start, the Titans (4-4) have stormed back and have a chance at an at-large bid with their best win yet over solid Gaylord (5-3).

Lake City 41, Lincoln Alcona 34 – The Trojans (4-4) got a giant boost to their at-large hopes by downing a Tigers team that is 5-3 and could clinch an automatic berth this week.

Kingsley 27, Maple City Glen Lake 6 – The Stags (5-3) still face undefeated Traverse City St. Francis, but put themselves in position to earn an automatic bid or make a play for an at-large invitation by downing Glen Lake (4-4).

Whittemore-Prescott 38, Hillman 14 – The North Star Big Dipper champion Cardinals (5-3) won this battle of league title winners by downing Little Dipper champ Hillman (6-2). 

Southeast & Border

Manchester 29, Vandercook Lake 7

The Dutchmen (7-1) claimed the Cascades Conference championship outright by slowing a team that had scored at least 27 points in every game and averaged 41 points per heading into the contest. The title was Manchester’s fourth straight. Vandercook Lake (7-1) is still enjoying its best season since 1996. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.

Also noted:

Jackson 63, Holt 41 – The Vikings (6-2), 1-8 a year ago, clinched their first playoff berth of the coach Scott Farley era and first at all since 2009 by downing similar playoff hopeful Holt (5-3).

Chelsea 9, Ann Arbor Pioneer 7 – The Bulldogs (7-1) showed again they’ll be dangerous in the playoffs by dealing a close loss to much larger Ann Arbor Pioneer (6-2).

Ida 20, Hillsdale 17 (OT) – The Bluestreaks (8-0) made sure they were at least partial Lenawee County Athletic Association champions, earning a share of the league title with Hillsdale (5-3) attempting to create a three-way tie at the top.

Homer 40, Union City 34 – The Trojans (7-1) already had claimed a share of the Big 8 Conference title, but reigning champ Union City (4-4) didn’t let the outright championship come easily. 

Southwest Corridor

Buchanan 21, Berrien Springs 19

The renewing of this rivalry played out as competitively as one would expect from a pair of undefeated teams contending for a league title. After a three-season break, the pair met for the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference White championship – and Buchanan (8-0) earned it in part by blocking an extra-point try and stopping a two-point conversion attempt. The Bucks this week will play for their first perfect regular season since 1988, while Berrien Springs (7-1) still is headed for its best regular-season finish since 2005. Click for more from the Niles Daily Star.

Also noted:

Kalamazoo Central 33, Benton Harbor 18 – The Maroon Giants (3-5) made playoff hopes much dimmer for Benton Harbor (4-4), but also gave themselves a chance at their best record since 2011.

Bridgman 34, Niles Brandywine 26 – The Bees (7-1) clinched the BCS Blue title for the second straight season and after two straight losses to Brandywine (5-3).

Dowagiac 36, Otsego 34 – The Chiefs (5-3) moved a win closer to returning to the playoffs after missing last season at 3-6.

St. Joseph 45, Battle Creek Lakeview 21 – The Bears (7-1) have secured a playoff berth after missing last season, but Lakeview (5-3) must win this week to do the same despite claiming a share of its league title. 

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming 20, St. Ignace 14

This meeting of league champions was another that met expectations, with Mid-Peninsula Athletic Conference champion Ishpeming (7-0) winning its 26th straight regular-season game and handing Ski Valley champ St. Ignace (7-1) its first regular season loss after 16 straight wins. Ishpeming held the Saints to their season-low points but scored their second fewest of the fall. Click for more from the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News.

Also noted:

Crystal Falls Forest Park 34, Munising 8 – The Trojans (5-2) are making what might be their final season of 11-player football count, this time downing reigning Division 8 runner-up Munising (6-2) to qualify for the playoffs and clinch a share of the Mid-Eastern Football Conference title.

Escanaba 34, Sault Ste. Marie 8 – An upset of the Blue Devils (5-3) gave the Eskymos (4-4) their most wins since 2012 and the chance to play for an at-large playoff bid.

Iron Mountain 28, Hurley, Wis. 13 – The Mountaineers (5-3) look much better to earn a playoff spot this week against two-win Norway after doubling up always-tough Hurley (7-2).

Menominee 40, DeWitt 35 – The Maroons’ 30-game regular-season winning streak has included its share of impressive victories, but moving to 8-0 against an undefeated DeWitt team (7-1) loaded with speed should put additional fear into potential playoff opponents.

West Michigan

Muskegon Mona Shores 21, Muskegon 18

Statewide eyes turned toward this matchup of Muskegon rivals, and roughly 10,000 fans saw Mona Shores jump out to a 21-3 lead before withstanding a late Big Reds charge. Mona Shores moved to 8-0 for the first time in program history with its second straight win over Muskegon (6-2), which suffered its second three-point loss of the season. Click for more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Also noted:

Ada Forest Hills Eastern 49, Cedar Springs 12 – The Hawks (8-0) guaranteed themselves a share of the O-K Bronze title and also set a program record for wins while forcing Cedar Springs (5-3) into a must-win position this week.

Grandville 38, Hudsonville 13 – The Bulldogs (5-3) turned the O-K Red into the best league race left by handing Hudsonville (6-2) its first league loss and creating a four-way tie at the top with one game to play and a guarantee of two champions.

Lowell 35, East Grand Rapids 13 – The Red Arrows (7-1) earned a share of a third straight league title in one of the state’s most competitive, while putting East Grand Rapids (5-3) in a must-win spot as well.

Montague 36, Muskegon Oakridge 29 (OT) – The West Michigan Conference title came down to overtime before Montague (8-0) prevailed over the reigning champion Eagles (6-2).

Reed City 26, Remus Chippewa Hills 7 – The Coyotes (8-0) claimed their fifth straight league title by downing second-place Chippewa Hills (6-2) to win the Central State Activities Association Gold. 


Onaway 62, Bellaire 14

Onaway pushed into the 16th spot with a week to play as it pursues its first playoff berth since 2012 in its first season of 8-player football. The Cardinals (5-3) must play another 5-3 team, Pickford, this week to try to hold on to the final spot in the field. Bellaire (4-4) has fallen in two straight as its pursued making the playoffs for the sixth straight season.

Also noted:

Deckerville 50, Peck 6 – The battle for the North Central Thumb 8-Man title didn’t turn into much of one, with Deckerville (7-1) breaking a three-game losing streak to the Pirates (6-2).

Powers North Central 82, Rapid River 20 – The Jets (8-0) gave up their most points this season, but also tied their highest output on offense while downing the Rockets (5-3).

Engadine 58, Stephenson 42 – This might have been the best game of the week in 8-player, featuring two teams that have taken great strides but with Engadine (6-2) striding just a little bit farther than Stephenson (5-3) at this point. 

PHOTO: Muskegon Mona Shores welcomed a reported 10,000 fans for Friday's 21-18 victory over rival Muskegon. 

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.)