Drive for Detroit: Week 9 Preview

October 18, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor 

What’s still at stake as we dive into Week 9 of this football season?

Heading into Thursday night’s games – there were 11 played – 23 of 91 leagues statewide still had title shares or outright championships up for grabs.

Meanwhile, 171 11-player teams had secured playoff berths – and 71 could win and get in, although there also are 10 matchups between 5-3 teams this weekend that will leave the defeated hoping for at-large bids. The 8-player picture is just a little clearer: At least eight teams appear to be in the running for the final 2-3 spots in that 32-team field. 

You’ll see below many of those league-deciding games, and others with playoff implications perhaps taking higher priority this week over matchups between teams already qualified. All games below are tonight unless noted. Check out the MHSAA Score Center for the full schedule and results as games are completed. will broadcast seven games this weekend, and be sure to tune in to FOX Sports Detroit at 7 p.m. Sunday for the “Selection Sunday Show” announcing fields and pairings for the 11 and 8-player brackets. Our “Drive for Detroit” previews are powered by MI Student Aid

Bay & Thumb

Davison (7-1) at Lapeer (8-0) 

The winner takes the Saginaw Valley League Blue title outright. The lone loss between these teams was Davison’s to Detroit Catholic League Central co-champ Warren DeLaSalle in Week 7. Davison has only one league loss in the last three years – to Midland last season, which left the Cardinals to eventually place second. But they went on to beat Lapeer the next week and again in a playoff opener. This year’s Lightning team has been more successful on both sides of the ball, and the defense has given up more than 19 points only once.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Swartz Creek (6-2) at Ortonville Brandon (7-1), Midland Dow (5-3) at Midland (5-3), Mount Pleasant (8-0) at Saginaw Heritage (5-3), Goodrich (5-3) at Croswell-Lexington (5-3).

Greater Detroit

Detroit Cass Tech (8-0) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (7-1) at Renaissance

These two rolled through their divisions of the Detroit Public School League so thoroughly that there hasn’t been much to point out over the last six weeks. But their rematch will decide the PSL “A” playoff champion; King won last year’s PSL semifinal meeting 17-7, and both teams went on to reach MHSAA Semifinals. The Crusaders’ only loss this fall was Week 2 against Muskegon, by three – the closest game for the Big Reds this season. Cass Tech’s only close game was a Week 2 one-point win over Ohio power Lakewood St. Edward. The Technicians have outscored PSL teams the last six weeks by a combined 269-7.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Brighton (7-1) at Belleville (8-0), Oak Park (7-1) at Clarkston (7-1), Grosse Ile (8-0) at Dearborn Heights Crestwood (8-0), SATURDAY Warren DeLaSalle (6-1) vs. Detroit Catholic Central (5-2) at Ford Field, Detroit Public Safety Academy (7-1) at Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (8-0).


Williamston (7-1) at Pewamo-Westphalia (8-0)

This one means nothing in the standings but could tell a lot about two playoff hopefuls. The Pirates will try to add to back-to-back Division 7 championships starting next week after yet another incredible regular season where they’ve outscored their first eight opponents by a combined 447-34 – and that included a 38-0 Week 1 win over Ithaca, which hasn’t lost since. With a win tonight, Williamston would lock up its best regular-season record since 2010, when it went on to finish Division 4 runner-up. The Hornets’ only trip-up came against St. Johns in Week 4, but over the last month they’ve beaten three teams that still have playoff aspirations heading into tonight.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Montague (7-1) at Portland (8-0), East Lansing (7-1) at Okemos (6-2), Saginaw Swan Valley (8-0) at St. Johns (5-3), Holton (5-3) at Howard City Tri-County (4-4).  

Northern Lower Peninsula

New Lothrop (8-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (8-0)

The Traverse City West/Petoskey game could have league implications, but it’s hard to not talk more about New Lothrop making the trip up north. The Hornets are hoping to finish their eighth perfect regular season over the last nine years, and beat an eventual league champion in Maple City Glen Lake on opening night before a perfect run through the first-year Mid-Michigan Activities Conference. St. Francis also has a victory over Glen Lake, and by a similar margin. But the Gladiators have yet to win by fewer than 35 points – making this an important test for them as well heading into the playoffs. 

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Traverse City West (6-2) at Petoskey (5-3), Frankfort (5-3) at Benzie Central (5-3), Manton (4-4) at Rogers City (7-1), Cheboygan (4-4) at Elk Rapids (6-2).

Southeast & Border

Grass Lake (8-0) at Reading (8-0), Saturday

The Cascades Conference champion meets the Big 8 Conference title winner in one of five matchups pitting undefeated teams this week. The Warriors got here with defense – they have yet to give up more than 16 points in a game – while Reading, as noted last week, has had one of the most impressive defensive showings in the state. The Rangers gave up 14 in clinching the league title last week to bring their total number of points allowed to 33 this fall.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Dundee (5-3) at Hillsdale (7-1), Michigan Center (7-1) at Springport (7-1), Brooklyn Columbia Central (7-1) at Hudson (4-4), Ida (6-2) at Blissfield (5-3).

Southwest Corridor

Cassopolis (8-0) at Centreville (8-0) 

The Southwest 10 Conference championship comes down to this matchup of a team that’s had its share of recent success and another that is one of this season’s best turnaround success stories. Cassopolis was runner-up in the conference a year ago and won its old Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Red in 2016. Centreville, meanwhile, will finish with its first winning record since 2008 and after claiming a total of five victories over the last three seasons. And talk about defense, the Bulldogs have given up 34 points this fall – and these Rangers have given up a mere 24.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Schoolcraft (7-1) vs. Kalamazoo United (8-0) at Vicksburg, Portage Northern (6-2) at St. Joseph (5-3), Plainwell (5-3) at Otsego (5-3), Napoleon (5-3) at Quincy (5-3).

Upper Peninsula

Gaylord (5-3) at Sault Ste. Marie (5-3)

Sault Ste. Marie has bounced back from two straight two-win seasons and a 1-2 start to this one to reach the verge of returning the postseason despite scoring only 123 points over seven games – they’ve made it by giving up only 15 per game. Gaylord is looking to take the next step after missing the playoffs last season as a 5-4 finisher. Speaking of “so close,” the last two weeks have been excruciating for the downstate Blue Devils with two one-point losses that would’ve meant a league title had they gone the other way.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Kingsford (4-4) at Escanaba (6-2), Norway (4-4) at Iron River West Iron County (6-2), Gwinn (5-3) at Munising (4-4), Marquette (4-4) at Menominee (1-7). 

West Michigan

Rockford (5-3) at East Kentwood (7-1)

A share of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red championship is at stake. So is a lot more. The Falcons have clinched at least a share of the league title. But Rockford can earn a share as well with a third-straight win in this series – and although the Rams would be a strong at-large candidate at 5-4, they must win to guarantee continuing a 23-year playoff streak. It’s the longest active postseason football streak in the state, and also tied for the longest all-time.

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Zeeland East (7-1) at Hudsonville Unity Christian (7-1), Saugatuck (7-1) at Fennville (7-1), Berrien Springs (7-1) at Muskegon Oakridge (7-1), Hudsonville (5-3) at Holland West Ottawa (6-2).


Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (8-0) at Colon (8-0)

The Magi can finish their first perfect regular season since 1957 (according the, and have picked it up the last three weeks outscoring those opponents by a combined 150-6 – despite the fact two of those teams are possible playoff qualifiers. For Tri-unity Christian, this would be a second perfect regular season in three years. But that hardly makes it less significant. The Defenders have reached three straight playoffs and advanced to the Semifinals two years ago. A win of this magnitude would be the best way to keep things rolling into their next postseason trip. 

Others that caught my eye: FRIDAY Powers North Central (7-1) at Stephenson (5-3), Tekonsha (5-3) at Bellevue (7-1), Pickford (8-0) at Cedarville (5-3), Peck (5-3) at Deckerville (6-2).

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PHOTO: Saginaw Heritage, here against Arthur Hill this fall, is among 71 teams hoping to qualify for the MHSAA Playoffs with a win this weekend. (Click for more from

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.