Drive for Detroit: Week 9 in Review

October 29, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Three months ago, more than 600 MHSAA football teams began this season with expectations. During the last nine weeks, many were realized. 

So before diving full on into the playoffs, let’s take a few minutes to review the last of those regular-season feats.

Here’s a look at the Week 9 edition of our most significant results from every corner of Michigan:

Greater Detroit and Southeast

Detroit Cass Tech 20, Detroit Martin Luther King 14

Revenge belongs to Cass Tech, which fell to King in last season’s Detroit Public School League semifinals but handed the Crusaders (7-1) their first loss in this fall’s championship game. As expected, this turned into the closest either has played since the early weeks of this season. And it likely served as final preparation as both now pursue MHSAA championships and a PSL first – Cass Tech (9-0) is in Division 1 and King Division 2 for the playoffs, and there have never been multiple PSL MHSAA champs in the same season. Click to read more from the Detroit Free Press.

Also noted:

Clarkston 20, Southfield 10: Clarkston (8-1) won this clash of Oakland Activities Association champions and looks like an MHSAA Division 1 contender; Southfield (7-2) also looks good to make a Division 2 run.

Birmingham Brother Rice 20, Detroit Catholic Central 7: Both losses for DCC (7-2) this fall have come to Brother Rice (9-0) – this one in the Catholic League Central Prep Bowl.  

Detroit U-D Jesuit 20, Birmingham Seaholm 17: The Cubs (5-4) broke a three-game losing streak to finish with a winning regular-season record for the first time since 2002 and earn their first playoff berth since 2001 – and did so by handing the first loss this season to OOA Blue champion Seaholm (8-1).

Northville 38, Walled Lake Western 31 (OT): Northville (8-1) has won 21 of its last 22 Kensington Lakes Activities Association games, but this overall KLAA championship game win caps what could be the team’s most impressive recent run. Western (8-1) could see the Mustangs again if both win their playoff openers.

Thumb and Bay

Lapeer West 14, Fenton 13

The final Lapeer West (7-2) football team claimed a share of the Flint Metro League title thanks to this win that included a blocked extra point. West, which will combine with Lapeer East next summer, ended Fenton’s 19-game league winning streak, although the Tigers (8-1) did also earn a share of the league title. Click to read more from the Flint Journal.

Also noted:

Clare 24, Sanford Meridian 13: Clare (7-2) started slowly with two losses this fall, but that didn’t change much in the Jack Pine Conference as the Pioneers ran their league winning streak to 26 and league title streak to seven straight; Sanford Meridian (7-2) is another of three teams from the conference that made the playoffs.

Montrose 37, Lake Fenton 0: Make that 20 straight Genesee Area Conference Red wins for Montrose (9-0) which claimed the title again by beating second-place Lake Fenton (7-2).

New Lothrop 47, Pewamo-Westphalia 33: The GAC Blue switched up its scheduling format this fall specifically so teams could face some tough nonleague opponents – and New Lothrop (9-0) took advantage of the opportunity and dealt P-W (8-1) its first loss.

Flint Carman-Ainsworth 42, Davison 0: After finishing second in the Saginaw Valley Association South last season, Carman-Ainsworth (8-1) moved up to first this fall thanks to this win over second-place Davison (4-5).

West Michigan

Muskegon 20, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer 7

These teams were tied for first in the O-K Black entering this matchup, and this was the closest game between the two since 2005 – although Muskegon ran its winning streak over Reeths-Puffer to 10 straight and will see the Rockets (7-2) again in this weekend’s Division 2 District opener. The victory clinched for the Big Reds (8-1) their first league title since 2008. Click to read more from the Muskegon Chronicle.

Also noted:

Grand Rapids West Catholic 21, Ada Forest Hills Eastern 20: The reigning MHSAA Division 5 runner-up Falcons (5-4) were able to earn a share of the O-K Bronze title and a playoff berth with this one-point edging of Forest Hills Eastern (4-5).

Grand Rapids Catholic Central 36, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills 6: Both entered 5-3, with GRCC getting the necessary sixth win to make the playoffs and Ottawa Hills finishing 5-4 and missing out on an at-large bid.

Saugatuck 58, Gobles 13: The Indians (8-1) claimed the Southwestern Athletic Conference North title outright and made the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons; Gobles (5-4) fell just short of its third straight postseason appearance.

Spring Lake 27, Shelby 0: The Lakers (8-1) followed up winning the Lakes 8 Conference title by handing the lone loss this fall to West Michigan Conference champion Shelby (8-1).

Southwest and Border

Watervliet 54, Lawton 20

The tie-breaker goes to Watervliet after these teams split the SAC South title last season. This is the fifth straight year that one of these two won the league championship. The Panthers are a combined 25-2 over the last three regular seasons, with this their first perfect run since 1999. Click to read more from the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Also noted:

Edwardsburg 56, Paw Paw 48: In arguably the best matchup in the state this week that didn't decide a league champion, the Eddies (9-0), winners of the Wolverine B West, handed the first loss to Wolverine B East champ Paw Paw (8-1)

Battle Creek St. Philip 54, Lawrence 50: These might be two of the top four 8-player teams in the state, and St. Philip (9-0) would host Lawrence (6-2) next week if both win their playoff openers.

Coldwater 54, Marshall 27: Not only did Coldwater gain toward its first playoff berth ever, but the Cardinals (5-4) also guaranteed their first winning regular season since 1989.

Hillsdale 42, Dundee 7: Hillsdale, Hudson and Ida all split the title in the competitive Lenawee County Activities Association, but this win also earned the Hornets (6-3) a spot in the playoffs while likely keeping the Vikings (5-4) out.

Lower Up North

Grayling 51, Boyne City 13

For the second straight season these Lake Michigan Conference rivals came into their Week 9 matchup undefeated, and for the second straight season Grayling came away a big winner and league champ. In fact, the Vikings are 33-3 over their last four regular seasons. Click to read more from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Also noted:

Lincoln Alcona 50, Mio 12: Alcona (9-0) won big in this matchup of champions from the North Star League, although Mio (7-2) also will continue on to the playoffs –
for the 13th straight season.

Cadillac 14, Traverse City Central 7: The Vikings (9-0) clinched the Big North Conference title outright and finished perfect for the regular season for the first time since 2000, while keeping Traverse City Central (5-4) from gaining a playoff berth.

Elk Rapids 13, Kalkaska 12: The Elks (6-3) squeezed back into the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and Kalkaska (6-3) will continue as well for the second straight season.

Ogemaw Heights 13, Petoskey 12: One point got Ogemaw Heights (6-3) into the playoffs and kept Petoskey (5-4) out.

Upper Peninsula

Menominee 51, Marquette 7

Menominee secured its fifth straight season with at least nine wins and first perfect regular season since its last MHSAA title-winning fall in 2007. The Maroons scored 51 straight points on Marquette, which also made the playoffs at 5-3 but had to settle for a tie for second place in the Greater Northern UP Conference behind the Maroons (9-0). Click to read more from the Marquette Mining Journal.

Also noted:

Houghton 26, Hancock 22: The Gremlins (6-3) pushed past their rivals from across the Portage River to earn a playoff bid and win the Copper Bowl; Hancock finished 3-6 for the third straight season.

Kingsford 28, Escanaba 21: Kingsford (7-2) beat its traditional Week 9 opponent Eskymos (3-6) for the 14th straight season.

Munising 17, L'Anse 10: Munising (6-3) got back into the playoffs after missing last season, and impressively with a win over a L’Anse (7-2) team that hadn’t lost since Week 2.

Powers North Central 27, Stephenson 22: The Jets (7-2) ended a four-year losing streak to Stephenson (4-5), and in doing so kept the Eagles out of the playoffs.


Holt 45, Grand Ledge 30

Holt’s playoff hopes took a big hit with a 13-point loss to Jackson in Week 8, but the Rams (5-4) rebounded against the rival Comets (4-5) in a must-win game for both. Holt did get in – after Grand Ledge’s Week 9 win kept the Rams out in 2012 – and also ended up in second place in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue. Click to read more from the Lansing State Journal.

Also noted: 

Grass Lake 17, Homer 14: Grass Lake (8-1) looks playoff-ready emerging from a strong Cascades Conference and then beating Homer (8-1) in the showcase game of the crossover series with the Big 8.

Eaton Rapids 41, Owosso 21: The Greyhounds (5-3) finished with their first winning regular season since 1993 – and thanks in part to beating Owosso (1-8), earned their first playoff berth as well.

Jackson Lumen Christi 42, Howell 35: After a Week 9 loss to Howell kept Lumen Christi (9-0) from an undefeated regular season in 2012, the Titans held off the Highlanders (5-4) in a game Howell needed to win to make the playoffs. 

Ionia 20, Lake Odessa Lakewood 13: The Bulldogs (7-2) are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and finished off the regular season by edging the rival Vikings (0-9).

Trophy Games

Each week the MHSAA highlights trophy games from around the state. Here are two in addition to the Copper Bowl mentioned above:

Little Brown Jug: Newberry vs. Sault Ste. Marie. This is the longest-running of the Little Brown Jug games in Michigan. Final: Sault Ste. Marie 41, Newberry 6.

Firefighter's Trumpet: Bay City Western vs. Bay City Central. The trophy for this matchup was created in 1990 but disappeared after the 2003 game until this fall. Final: Central 43, Western 20.

PHOTO: Detroit Cass Tech quarterback Jayru Campbell eludes the Detroit Martin Luther King defense during the PSL championship game. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League.)

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.)