A Game for Every Fan: Week 2

September 5, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Most will agree that the first week of high school football season generally is a little sloppy, with players excitedly shaking off the rust in a game that matters for the first time in nearly nine months.

This week they'll operate a little more smoothly – and the tune up is over for many facing make-of-break league games already in this young season. 

Below is a look at some of the most significant to be played this weekend in every corner of the state. Make sure to tune in to MHSAA Score Center after the final horn for all the scores as soon as they are reported. 

Bay and Thumb

Flint Carman-Ainsworth (1-0) at Saginaw Heritage (1-0)

The North and South divisions of the Saginaw Valley League cross over this week, and this game could feature contenders from each. Heritage, from the North, opened with a 19-10 win over Walled Lake Central and is trying to avenge a 45-7 loss to Carman-Ainsworth a year ago. The Cavaliers opened with a shutout of Grand Blanc, 13-0.  

Others that caught my eye: Richmond (0-1) at Croswell-Lexington (1-0), Linden (0-1) at Holly (1-0), Lansing Everett (1-0) at Saginaw (1-0), Ithaca (1-0) at St. Charles (1-0).

West Michigan

Muskegon (1-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (1-0)

For the second week to start this season, Grand Rapids Christian faces a team that made it to Ford Field in 2012. Last week the defending Division 3 champion Eagles came away with a 41-13 win over reigning Division 4 champion South Christian. Now they get Muskegon, last season’s Division 2 runner-up and a 41-7 winner last week over Grand Haven. The Big Reds and the Eagles haven’t met since 1993.

Others that caught my eye: Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) at Montague (1-0), Zeeland East (1-0) at Zeeland West (1-0), Grand Rapids West Catholic (0-1) at Comstock Park (1-0), East Kentwood (1-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-0).

Southwest and Border

Constantine (1-0) at Schoolcraft (1-0)

Constantine made it all the way back to Ford Field and the Division 6 Final for the second straight season in 2012. But the Falcons didn’t win the Kalamazoo Valley Association title either time – thanks last season mostly to an undefeated run by Schoolcraft. With 10 teams in the KVA, all games are league games, and Constantine opened last weekend with a 64-20 win over Delton Kellogg. The Eagles have a lot of new faces, and Constantine is the league title favorite.

Others that caught my eye: St. Joseph (1-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-0), Kalamazoo Central (1-0) at Battle Creek Central (1-0), Saugatuck (1-0) at Marcellus (1-0), Fennville (0-1) at Decatur (0-1).

Greater Detroit

Rochester Adams (1-0) at Farmington Hills Harrison (1-0)

Even the best are prone to a down year, and Adams’ came last season when it missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996. But the Highlanders got back on the right foot last week with a 12-7 win over similarly-stellar Clarkston. Now comes an old nemesis in Harrison, which has beaten Adams in three straight and is coming off a 43-0 win over Detroit Renaissance.

Others that caught my eye: Canton (1-0) at Brighton (1-0), Detroit Martin Luther King (1-0) at Detroit East English (0-1), Plymouth (1-0) at Milford (1-0), Detroit Country Day (0-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (1-0).

Lower Up North

Maple City Glen Lake (1-0) at Charlevoix (1-0)

Glen Lake is getting plenty of attention in the greater Traverse City area after last season’s 9-2 finish and Northwest Conference title and last week’s opening 27-13 win over another 2012 playoff team, Boyne City. In steps Charlevoix, defeated by Glen Lake 32-0 last season but winner last week 20-0 over usually-strong St. Ignace. The Red Rayders haven’t had much success since their last playoff season of 2009, but a win tonight would be even bigger than beating the Saints last week.

Others that caught my eye: Sault Ste. Marie (0-1) at Alpena (1-0), Kingsley (1-0) at Elk Rapids (1-0), Frankfort (1-0) at Harbor Springs (1-0), St. Ignace (0-1) at Mancelona (0-1).

Upper Peninsula

Felch North Dickinson (1-0) at Newberry (1-0)

The Nordics appear to be off and running again; after scoring more than 40 points in all of their 2012 games but their Regional Final loss to St. Ignace, North Dickinson put 60 on Florence (Wis.) last week. But Newberry has a little something to prove. The Indians started 3-1 last season – their only loss 42-6 to North Dickinson – before losing their final five. They bounced back with a 32-0 win over Rudyard in last week’s opener, and can really make an impact by moving to 2-0.

Others that caught my eye: Posen (0-1) at Rapid River (1-0), Iron Mountain (0-1) at Gwinn (1-0), Ishpeming (1-0) at Manistique (0-1), Cheboygan (1-0) at Marquette (1-0).


Beal City (1-0) at Clare (0-1)

Clare shouldn’t be overly worried about last week’s opening loss to Freeland; the Pioneers also lost to Freeland in openers in 2011 and 2012 and ended up a combined 18-5 over those two seasons. In fact, Clare also fell to Beal City in Week 2 last season before rattling off nine straight wins. Of course, no team wants to start 0-2 – but the task will be tall if last week’s 61-0 Aggies win over rival Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart is an indication of that team’s prowess.

Others that caught my eye: Jackson (0-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (1-0), Fowlerville (1-0) at Williamston (0-1), Monroe (1-0) at Lansing Sexton (1-0), Mason (1-0) at Eaton Rapids (1-0).

PHOTO: Saginaw Swan Valley (purple) opened its season with a win over Saginaw Nouvel in one of the most intriguing matchups of opening night. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.) 

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.)