A Game for Every Fan: Week 4

September 13, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Just like that, the MHSAA football season is one-third over. And after this weekend, teams will be cruising into the midpoint of the regular season. 

Don't let it pass you by. We're entering the thick of league races, Homecoming and rivalry games. The toughest part can be choosing which to watch. 

See below for some of the best options 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.)

Bay and Thumb

Flint Powers (3-0) at Saginaw Nouvel (3-0)

This beats out some pretty strong league matchups because of a few hard-to-match circumstances. Both are undefeated, yes. But both also are reigning MHSAA champions -- Powers won Division 5 last season and Nouvel was Division 7. Both have already survived close calls, but are surging behind solid defensive efforts -- both teams are giving up roughly 11 points per game. 

Others that caught my eye: Croswell-Lexington (3-0) at Capac (2-1), Bay City Western (3-0) at Saginaw (2-1), Marine City (2-1) at Clawson (3-0), Goodrich (3-0) at Montrose (2-1).

West Michigan

Lowell (3-0) at Muskegon (3-0)

These two have been in the conversation for best game in the state just about every week so far. That's the product of loading up tough nonleague opponents before expected championship runs through their respective conferences. Lowell is a slight favorite in the O-K White, and Muskegon is a little bit more in the O-K Black. But this game might indicate something even bigger -- the eventual frontrunner for the MHSAA Division 2 title. 

Others that caught my eye: Allendale (3-0) at Comstock Park (2-1), Hudsonville (1-2) at Grand Rapids Christian (2-1), Zeeland East (3-0) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (3-0), Cedar Springs (3-0) at Zeeland West (2-1).


Saginaw Swan Valley (3-0) at Alma (3-0)

Two teams kept Alma from winning the Tri-Valley Conference Central in 2011, and the Panthers are rolling after gaining vengeance on Freeland last week. They've also beaten Swan Valley in two straight, but by a combined three points. The TVC Central race has whittled down quickly, with these two and Hemlock the only three off to 2-0 starts in the league. That number will be down to at least two by the end of tonight. 

Others that caught my eye: Haslett (1-2) at DeWitt (2-1), Charlotte (2-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (3-0), St. Johns (3-0) at Owosso (2-1), Lansing Everett (3-0) at Holt (2-1). 

Greater Detroit

Birmingham Brother Rice (2-1) at Warren DeLaSalle (2-1), Saturday

Raise your hand if you realized DeLaSalle has won three of its last four against the Warriors. Or that the teams' last eight meetings have been decided by 11 or fewer points. The reason that might surprise is Brother Rice's four trips and two wins in MHSAA Finals over the last decade -- DeLaSalle also has played in two Finals, but is seeking its first title. The winner this weekend will have the upper hand in the Detroit Catholic League Central, a great sign for another MHSAA run. 

Others that caught my eye: Oxford (2-1) at Farmington (3-0), Oak Park (3-0) at Southfield (2-1), Detroit Country Day (2-1) at Dearborn Divine Child (2-1), Monroe St. Mary Catholic (3-0) at Carleton Airport (3-0).

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming (3-0) at Ishpeming Westwood (2-1)

This rivalry has been one-sided lately, with Ishpeming winning the last 15 meetings including twice in the playoffs. The Hematites ended Westwood's 2011 season and own a couple of impressive wins already this fall over Iron Mountain and Calumet. But the Patriots haven't given up a point since their Week 1 loss to Stephenson -- and appear due to tilt this series the other way. 

Others that caught my eye: Engadine (2-0) at Cedarville (3-0), Negaunee (3-0) at Iron Mountain (2-1), Gladstone (2-1) at Menominee (3-0), Iron Mountain North Dickinson (3-0) at Stephenson (2-1).

Lower Up North

Traverse City St. Francis (2-1) at Grayling (3-0)

St. Francis is the big opponent on many teams' calendars. That goes with winning six MHSAA championships. But both of these teams were ranked in the opening Associated Press polls this week. The Gladiators have won two straight since being shut out on opening night by Kingsley; Grayling is off to its third straight 3-0 start and looks like the favorite in the Lake Michigan Conference after watching last season's title fall out of grasp with a one-point loss to St. Francis in the regular-season finale. 

Others that caught my eye: Muskegon Catholic Central (1-2) at McBain (2-1), Petoskey (2-1) at Traverse City Central (2-1), Maple City Glen Lake (3-0) at Benzie Central (1-2), Boyne City (3-0) at Harbor Springs (2-1).

Southwest and Border

Portage Central (3-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (3-0)

Four of the seven teams in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West appear capable of winning it, with these two joining St. Joseph among the 3-0 teams so far this season. Lakeshore perhaps has been the most impressive after finishing second in the league to Mattawan last season. But Portage Central already has equaled last season's win total and has won five straight going back to 2011's Week 8. 

Others that caught my eye: Paw Paw (3-0) at Allegan (1-2), Plainwell (2-1) at Otsego (3-0), St. Joseph (3-0) at Portage Northern (2-1), Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (2-1) at Sturgis (1-2).

PHOTO: Flint Powers senior receiver Zach VanAlst attempts to break a tackle in his team's game against Mount Pleasant during Week 2. (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.)