A Game for Every Fan: Week 3

September 6, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It's coach speak for sure, but true all the same: First, teams focus on winning the league title. And after that, bigger things tend to take care of themselves.

Many across Michigan started that quest last weekend. But for most of the rest, the first steps toward a conference championship will come tonight.

Need a game to watch? No problem. See below for what's playing near you. And remember to visit the MHSAA Score Center for updated scores and standings

(All are tonight unless noted. Go to Score Center for additional dates and kickoff times.)

West Michigan

Muskegon (2-0) at Rockford (1-1)

After four seasons of defining the O-K Red as arguably the best league in the state, these two are now split up as Muskegon moved to the O-K Black this fall. But there will continue to be a share of statewide eyes watching this one. The Big Reds put potential playoff opponents back on notice by opening with a 21-14 win over reigning MHSAA Division 3 champion Orchard Lake St. Mary, and Rockford came back from a tough opening loss to Lowell by shutting out Holt last week, 22-0.

Others that caught my eye: East Kentwood at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, Grand Rapids Christian at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills, Grand Haven at Lowell, Montague at Muskegon Oakridge.

Greater Detroit

Dearborn Fordson (2-0) at Warren DeLaSalle (1-1), Saturday

The Detroit Catholic League Central also has annual claim as the state's toughest conference, so wins are at a premium for that league's teams -- and DeLaSalle has its work cut out tonight. Fordson has opened with victories over 2011 playoff teams Macomb Dakota and Redford Thurston, and fell to the Pilots only 31-28 a year ago. Quarterback Shane Morris and company will be hoping to shift momentum after last week's 49-13 loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius -- and with Birmingham Brother Rice and Detroit Catholic Central up next.

Others that caught my eye: Romeo at Macomb Dakota, Rochester Adams at Oak Park, Cincinnati Moeller at Detroit Catholic Central (Saturday), Detroit Renaissance at Detroit Cass Tech.

Upper Peninsula

Hurley, Wis., (2-0) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (2-0)

Hurley actually plays more teams from Michigan than from its home state, and has opened by dominating two of them by a combined score of 90-13. Forest Park just missed a ninth-straight season with at least 10 wins last fall in part because it lost to Hurley 33-16 -- the Trojans' only loss of the regular season. In fact, Forest Park has lost two of its last three against the Midgets, which probably gives this the sense of a rivalry game for the home team located only a few miles from the border.

Others that caught my eye: Bessemer at Baraga, Iron Mountain at Iron River West Iron County, Calumet at Ishpeming, Stephenson at Norway.

Southwest and Border

Dowagiac (2-0) at Plainwell (2-0)

The upstart Trojans are hoping to break a six-game losing streak to Dowagiac, although for the first time during that string they are no longer in the same division -- the Wolverine B split into North and South this fall. Still, this would be significant for a few reasons: Plainwell is 2-0 for the first time since 2001 and after finishing 0-9 only two seasons ago, and a win tonight would give the team its first 3-0 start since 1998. For Dowagiac, it's a chance to be 3-0 for the first time since 2006, and this potentially is its toughest test until the Wolverine B South finale against Edwardsburg on Oct. 12 or a week earlier against Three Rivers.

Others that caught my eye: Sturgis at Battle Creek Harper Creek, Olivet at Schoolcraft, St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran at St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, Coloma at Paw Paw.

Bay and Thumb

Millington (2-0) at Frankenmuth (2-0)

For a few decades, this was THE GAME in the Tri-Valley Conference East just about every season. But the Cardinals have won four straight and at least 10 games total in each of the last three seasons, and often that sort of one-sidedness drains some of the mystique. In this case, that's doubtful. This matchup decided the league title again last fall, and Frankenmuth is 2-0 for the first time since 2007. But if the Eagles score tonight, it will be a first against Millington this season. The Cardinals have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 92-0.

Others that caught my eye: Comstock Park at Bay City John Glenn, Lapeer East at Lapeer West, Saginaw at Midland Dow, Alma at Freeland.

Lower Up North

Cadillac (2-0) at Petoskey (2-0)

Petoskey has won three of the last four Big North Conference championships, with that lone lapse in 2009 -- when Cadillac finished one game ahead to claim the title. The Northmen were first and the Vikings tied for second last season, and this could be the decider again. Petoskey won big last season, 63-24, but Cadillac is 2-0 for the first time since 2006.

Others that caught my eye: Benzie Central at Frankfort, Manton at McBain, Johannesburg-Lewiston at Mancelona, Elk Rapids at Traverse City St. Francis.


Lansing Sexton (0-2) at Grand Ledge (2-0)

Sexton is anything but a typical 0-2 team; the Big Reds, who played in the Division 4 postseason in 2011, opened this fall with a loss to Division 1 power Plymouth before falling to Monroe by a point for the second straight season. Now comes another much larger school in Grand Ledge, which beat Sexton 14-0 last fall. The Comets began this season with a 40-30 loss to East Kentwood, but aren't having much trouble scoring -- the came back with a 31-10 win over Holland West Ottawa and are led by multi-talented quarterback Jalen Brady.

Others that caught my eye: Pewamo-Westphalia at Laingsburg, Portland at Corunna, Burr Oak at Portland St. Patrick, Morrice at Webberville.

PHOTO: Warren DeLaSalle quarterback Shane Morris attempts to break away from two Ann Arbor Pioneer defenders during their opening-night game, a 35-7 DeLaSalle win. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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.)