A Game for Every Fan: Week 4

September 20, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Welcome to fall, Michigan. Be sure to bring a coat and umbrella when you venture out to watch your favorite football team this weekend.

And what better way to spend a fall evening than watching one of the many 3-0 vs. 3-0 matchups dotting our state as we head into the meat of many league schedules.

See below for what should be some of the best games this weekend, and be sure to monitor all the scores at the MHSAA Score Center.

West Michigan

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

For the second straight week, Muskegon finds itself in the most anticipated game statewide. Seven days ago the Big Reds responded with a 45-0 victory over Rockford. Tonight they’ll try to make it three straight against Lowell after beating the Red Arrows by 15 during the regular season and then 15-13 in a District Final in 2012. Lowell has been similarly dominant this fall, but Muskegon surely will be its toughest test so far.

Others that caught my eye: Comstock Park (3-0) at Allendale (3-0), Caledonia (2-1) at Grandville (2-1), Hartford (3-0) at Saugatuck (2-1), Shelby (3-0) at Montague (2-1).

Southwest and Border

Portage Northern (3-0) at St. Joseph (3-0)

St. Joseph had similar aspirations a year ago after a 3-0 start – then fell 7-0 to Portage Northern in Week 4 and missed the playoffs with a final 5-4 record. This season’s run has included more impressive victories over Battle Creek Harper Creek and Stevensville Lakeshore, and vengeance no doubt is on the Bears’ minds.

Others that caught my eye: Decatur (3-0) at Gobles (1-2), Stevensville Lakeshore (2-1) at Portage Central (3-0), Quincy (2-1) at Jonesville (3-0), Otsego (2-1) at Plainwell (3-0).

Bay and Thumb

Saginaw Arthur Hill (3-0) at Midland (3-0)

The most impressive part of Arthur Hill’s start is that it includes wins over 2012 playoff teams Goodrich and Bay City Western – on top of the fact the Lumberjacks went 0-9, 3-6, 1-8 and 1-8, respectively, since their last playoff appearance in 2008. This game will be the true measuring stick as Midland has been the class of the Saginaw Valley Association with 15 straight league wins and the North division championship last season.

Others that caught my eye: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (3-0) at Flint Powers Catholic (2-1), Lawrence (2-0) at Peck (3-0), Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port (3-0) at Unionville-Sebewaing (3-0), Almont (3-0) at Richmond (2-1).

Greater Detroit and Southeast

Southfield (2-1) at Oak Park (3-0)

Little has slowed Oak Park over the last two seasons, and wins already this fall over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Rochester Adams are proof the Knights will be back in the mix in the Oakland Activities Association White. Southfield should be too – and would love to get a strong start to a string that follows with Farmington Hills Harrison, Oxford and Adams.

Others that caught my eye: Saline (3-0) at Ann Arbor Pioneer (2-1), Orchard Lake St. Mary's (2-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (3-0), Grosse Ile (3-0) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (3-0), Warren DeLaSalle (2-1) at Birmingham Brother Rice (3-0).


DeWitt (3-0) at Ionia (3-0)

This might not seem like much of a game considering the teams’ recent histories – but don’t expect the Panthers to overlook the rejuvenated Bulldogs, who have equaled their most wins in a season since 2006, the last they qualified for the playoffs. Ionia already has scored 125 points after totaling just 200 a year ago, and the defense has been pretty solid as well.

Others that caught my eye: Fowler (2-1) at Bath (2-1), Grand Blanc (2-1) at Brighton (2-1), Holt (1-2) at Lansing Everett (3-0), Carson City-Crystal (3-0) at Vestaburg (3-0).

Lower Up North

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

This arguably (but with little argument) was the best rivalry in the Lake Michigan Conference – although Grayling’s first win in their 10 games against each other didn’t come until last season after the Gladiators had left the conference for football. St. Francis can break the Vikings’ 12-game regular-season winning streak, dating to the Gladiators’ 20-19 win over Grayling in Week 9 of 2011.

Others that caught my eye: Elk Rapids (2-1) at Charlevoix (1-2), Whittemore-Prescott (3-0) at Standish-Sterling (3-0), Petoskey (2-1) at Traverse City West (2-1), Rogers City (2-1) at Hillman (2-1).

Upper Peninsula

Marquette (3-0) at Escanaba (0-3)

Escanaba obviously is off to a rough start, and Marquette has opened with three wins over 2012 playoff teams. But an intriguing side note to this game, in addition to being a Great Northern Conference opener, is one of the coaches on the Marquette sideline – Dan Flynn, formerly Escanaba’s coach from 1985-2011, is in his first season as an assistant with the Redmen. They’re looking to beat the Eskymos for the first time since 2010.

Others that caught my eye: Ishpeming Westwood (0-3) at Ishpeming (3-0), Iron Mountain (1-2) at Negaunee (3-0), Bessemer (3-0) at Lake Linden Hubbell (1-2), Stephenson (2-1) at Felch North Dickinson (3-0).

PHOTO: Saginaw Arthur Hill (in blue) defeated Goodrich on opening night and is in pursuit of its first 4-0 start since 2008. (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.)