Drive for Detroit: Week 9 in Review

October 26, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Week 9 of the football regular season brings with it a Twitter feed full of gems like these: 

Enjoy perfection? Northville finished 9-0 for the first time since 1961. Portland did so for the first time since 1969. Birmingham Groves posted its first flawless regular-season finish since 1978. For Buchanan, it was the first since 1988. 

How about streaks? Rockford continued a 20-season playoff streak, and Stevensville Lakeshore clinched 18 years in a row heading to the postseason. And of course there was at least one stat line worth a double take – like Pewamo-Westphalia running back Jared Smith finishing the regular season with 2,065 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns for the undefeated Pirates. 

Those are just highlights. As we begin to focus on the first week of the playoffs, let's not forget the rest of the best from the final week of the regular season. 

Bay & Thumb

Fenton 30, Linden 27 (OT)

Fenton upped its Flint Metro League winning streak to 29 straight games and its league title streak to five seasons either sharing the championship or winning it outright thanks to this victory over second-place Linden. The Tigers ended the regular season at 8-1 while Linden is 7-2; Fenton’s lone loss came on opening night to Davison by three points. Click for more from the Flint Journal.

Also noted:

Freeland 42, Frankenmuth 7 – The Falcons (9-0) won the only matchup between undefeated teams in the state this weekend, but could see Frankenmuth (8-1) again in a Division 5 District Final.

Midland Dow 49, Midland 28 – The Chargers (8-1) won this crosstown rivalry game for the second straight season … and earned a rematch with the Chemics (7-2) in a Division 2 opener.

New Lothrop 41, Montrose 0 – The Hornets (9-0) completed their sixth straight undefeated regular season and in the process gave Montrose (5-4) a boost that helped the Rams into the playoffs as an at-large team.

Saginaw Swan Valley 28, Bay City John Glenn 21 – The Vikings (6-3) secured a fourth-straight playoff berth, but John Glenn (5-4) also made the postseason for a second straight season. 

Greater Detroit

Detroit Martin Luther King 27, Detroit Cass Tech 25

It wouldn’t surprise many if both of these teams ended up back at Ford Field in five weeks playing for MHSAA titles in Division 2 and Division 1, respectively. This Detroit Public League Division I Final was their second matchup this season and both were decided by a field goal or less; King won the Sept. 25 meeting 31-28. The Crusaders (9-0) locked down Cass Tech’s passing game in this one, holding the Technicians (7-2) to their season low in points. Click for more from the Detroit Free Press.

Also noted:

Orchard Lake St. Mary's 38, Warren DeLaSalle 0 – The Eaglets (7-1) look like strong favorites in Division 3 after defeating reigning Division 2 champ DeLaSalle (6-3) big in the Prep Bowl to avenge their only loss this season.

Utica Eisenhower 17, Romeo 14 – The Eagles (6-3) are one of the state’s hottest teams, beating opponents the last three weeks that are a combined 21-6 including handing Romeo (8-1) its only loss.

Detroit Collegiate Prep 26, Detroit Central Collegiate 12 – The Colts (9-0) won the PSL Division II title game to register their first perfect regular season in at least 65 years; Central Collegiate (6-3) is headed to the playoffs for the second straight season after going 0-9 in 2013.

West Bloomfield 20, Farmington Hills Harrison 14 – The Lakers (9-0) tied their school record for wins set last season with their first perfect regular season since going 8-0 in 1960; Harrison (7-2) is headed back to the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons.


Lansing Catholic 35, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 10

Reigning Division 6 champion Monroe St. Mary (8-1) has looked ready for another run since putting up 62 points on Tecumseh on opening night, but Lansing Catholic (8-1) reminded the rest of Michigan it’s one of the dangerous teams in Division 5 by going on the road and handing the Falcons their first regular-season loss since 2013. The Cougars rattled off 28 unanswered points during the second half. Click for more from MLive-Lansing.

Also noted:

Portland 25, Marshall 16 – The Raiders finished 9-0 for the first time since 1969, which was a lot easier said than done considering Marshall (7-2) was one of five playoff teams on the schedule.

Harrison 40, Clare 20 – The Hornets (7-2) locked down second place in the Jack Pine Conference with their first win over Clare since 2010, and in the process kept the Pioneers (5-4) out of the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

Grand Ledge 42, Holt 0 – The Comets (9-0) completed their outright Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title, finished their third perfect regular season over the last eight and in the process kept rival Holt (5-4) from making the playoffs (although the Rams did improve from 3-6 a year ago).

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 13, Mendon 7 – The Irish (6-3) ran off six straight wins after opening 0-3 against teams that finished a combined 25-2 to return to the playoffs for the eighth straight season; Mendon (5-4) also earned its ninth straight postseason bid despite the loss and after starting 1-3. 

Northern Lower Peninsula

Harbor Springs 22, Charlevoix 20

The winner was guaranteed a playoff spot. And Harbor Springs had plenty to celebrate with its move to 6-3 earning both the first playoff berth since 2000 but also its first winning record in 16 years. Senior Mitch Hoffman drilled a last-second field goal to put his team over the top – and keep the Red Rayders out of the playoffs as they did not end up with enough playoff points to qualify as an at-large team despite finishing 5-4. Click for more from the Petoskey News.

Also noted:

Boyne City 35, Grayling 20 – Boyne City may have finished behind Traverse City St. Francis in the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders standings, but beating third-place Grayling (6-3) helped the Vikings (8-1) secure up to two home playoff games – with St. Francis likely awaiting in the Regional Final.

Lake City 28, Newberry 21 – The Trojans made quite a bounce-back from last season’s 2-7 finish and beat two straight playoffs teams in Lincoln Alcona and Newberry (6-3) the last two weeks to get back to the playoffs at 5-4.

Oscoda 48, AuGres-Sims 22 – The Owls (6-3) also are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2000 after finishing the regular season with two straight wins.

Onekama 21, Frankfort 8 – Before last season, Onekama hadn’t beaten Frankfort since 1994; now, the Portagers (8-1) have won two straight over the Panthers (7-2) and could see them again in a Division 8 District Final.

Southeast & Border

Jackson 35, Jackson Lumen Christi 34 (OT)

This season just keeps getting better for Jackson. By moving to 7-2, the Vikings equaled their wins from 2010-2014 combined. And although they didn’t play most seasons in between, it’s worth noting this was Jackson’s first win over Lumen Christi since 1988 – and after 27, 29 and 34-point defeats to the Titans (6-3) the last three years. Click for more from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot.

Also noted:

Grass Lake 19, Union City 16 – The Warriors (5-4) survived a three-game losing streak midseason to earn an at-large playoff bid, and with this win knocked Union City (4-5) out of the running.

Clinton 36, Ottawa Lake Whiteford 18 – The Redskins (9-0) finished their fourth straight perfect regular season and fourth straight Tri-County Conference title by beating Whiteford (7-2), one of three other playoff teams from the league.

Manchester 45, Homer 38 – The Flying Dutchmen (8-1) claimed this meeting of first-place teams in the Cascades and Big 8 conferences for the second straight season, putting up a season high points total while also giving up their most this season to Homer (7-2).

Parma Western 28, Dexter 0 – After missing by a win twice over the last six seasons, Western (6-3) finally has its first MHSAA playoff berth thanks to two straight victories to close the regular season. 

Southwest Corridor 

Benton Harbor 29, Portage Northern 23 (OT)

Benton Harbor is one of the best stories of this season. The Tigers (5-4) didn’t win a game in 2013 or 2014 and went a combined 4-68 over the last eight seasons, but with a new coach and new athletic director posted their first winning season since 1989 – and earned their first playoff berth ever. It took this overtime win over Portage Northern (4-5), which hadn’t lost to Benton Harbor since 1996. Click for more from the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

Also noted:

Dowagiac 49, Paw Paw 46 – The Chieftains (6-3) reversed their record of a year ago but needed a second straight win by three points or fewer to return to the playoffs.

Constantine 21, Hartford 6 – The Falcons kept their playoff streak alive for a 17th straight season by bouncing back from a Week 8 loss to finish 5-4; Hartford also made the playoffs at 5-4.

St. Joseph 22, Portage Central 6 – The Bears (8-1) gained a share of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East title by breaking a three-year losing streak against the Mustangs (8-1).

Schoolcraft 41, Delton Kellogg 15 – The Eagles (9-0) finished a perfect regular season for the second time in four and won all but one of their games by at least 18 points; Delton (5-4) still made the playoffs for the first time since 2001 with its first winning record since 2009. 

Upper Peninsula

Escanaba 18, Kingsford 14

Escanaba was riding high this fall after opening with two wins under a new coach. Then came four straight losses against a string of opponents that ended up including three playoff teams. But the Eskymos (5-4) didn’t fold, instead finishing with three wins including two over playoff teams to earn their first postseason berth since 2011. Kingsford (6-3) ended up with a home game this week despite the loss. Click for more from the Iron Mountain Daily News.

Also noted:

St. Ignace 14, Fowler 7 – The Saints (8-1) deserve a lot of credit for stacking their nonleague schedule with undefeated Ishpeming last week and annual Division 8 power Fowler (6-3).

Negaunee 35, Ishepming Westwood 0 – Westwood (5-4) claimed a playoff spot for a second straight season despite the loss, but Negaunee (7-2) hopes it regained some momentum after two straight defeats by a combined seven points.

Munising 41, L'Anse 8 – The reigning Division 8 runner-up Mustangs (7-2) bounced back from a Week 8 loss by ending the playoff hopes for L’Anse (5-4).

Lake Linden-Hubbell 34, Crystal Falls Forest Park 28 – The Lakes (9-0) broke a five-game losing streak against Forest Park (5-3) to finish perfect for the regular season for the first time since 2009 … and earn a rematch with Forest Park this week.

West Michigan

Rockford 28, Hudsonville 27

At stake Friday was a share of the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red title – four teams were tied for first place, guaranteeing multiple champions. But also at stake was Rockford’s 20-season playoff streak, the longest-running in Michigan and third-longest in MHSAA history. A blocked extra point by a back-up quarterback and a pair of field goals by the back-up kicker were among contributions that paid off nicely for the Rams (6-3), who could see Hudsonville (6-3) again in a Division 1 District Final. Click for more from the Grand Rapids Press.

Also noted:

Grandville 18, East Kentwood 8 – This decided the other half of the O-K Red title, with the Bulldogs (6-3) not only earning a share but posting a sixth win for the first time since 2006; East Kentwood also is 6-3 and gets also third-place Hudsonville in the playoffs.

Lowell 28, Grand Rapids Christian 14 – The Red Arrows (8-1) finished a perfect run in the O-K White for the second time in three seasons and won their fourth straight against the Eagles (5-4).

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 26, Ada Forest Hills Eastern 24 – The Huskies (7-2) fell shy in the O-K Bronze after a 5-0 start, but forcing rival Forest Hills Eastern (8-1) to share the title probably lessened any lingering disappointment.

Big Rapids 20, Morley-Stanwood 10 – After seasons of three and one win over the last two, Big Rapids is back in the playoffs thanks to two straight wins, this one over a Mohawks team also 6-3.


Battle Creek St. Philip 47, Lawrence 44

St. Philip (9-0) got the better of Lawrence for the first time in their last four meetings, handing those Tigers (7-2) their first in-state loss since 2013 and cementing the top spot overall in the 8-player tournament with the highest final playoff-point average. The two could meet again in a Regional Final next week. Click for more from the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Also noted:

Pickford 62, Onaway 28 – It was this simple: Pickford (6-3) won and got into the playoffs, and Onaway (5-4) fell out of the top 16 with the loss.

Morrice 58, Portland St. Patrick 42 – The Orioles (8-1) still aren't getting much mention as a contender, but they haven’t lost since falling to St. Philip on opening night and clinched the Central Michigan 8-Man League title with this win over the Shamrocks (6-3). 

PHOTO: A Detroit Martin Luther King ball-carrier follows his blocker during the Crusaders' Detroit Public School League Division I championship win. (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.)