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. 

For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times

By Tom Spencer
Special for

March 17, 2023

Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.

Northern Lower PeninsulaLast year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.

That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.

The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.

But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer. 

Eagles coach Matt Barnowski coaches up his team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick.The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.

Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.  

Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.

Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.

“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing. 

“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”

Dylan Barnowski and Brammer also teamed up during successful football careers. Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.

The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.

The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.

“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit. 

“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”

This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.

Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.

The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.

“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.  

St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Brammer, Jack Gwynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. “They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”

Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.

“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”

With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.

“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”

Bramer agreed.

“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)