A Game for Every Fan: Week 4

September 17, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

By a quick count, there are 11 matchups statewide this week of MHSAA football teams entering with 3-0 records.

That means that at most only 119 teams will be undefeated after this week – and looking at the rest of the schedule, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the total after Saturday was much lower.

Read on for some of the best games to watch no matter where you live in Michigan or traveling to this weekend. And, as always, tune in to our Score Center on Friday for scores as soon as we receive them – usually all statewide by 11 p.m. – plus updated standings and the only place you’ll find updated playoff point averages throughout the weekend.  

Bay & Thumb

Goodrich (2-1) at Flint Beecher (3-0)

Beecher has rolled to another impressive start, building on last season’s 9-0 regular-season finish with shutouts the last two weeks. Genesee Area Conference Red rival Goodrich was one of only two teams to come within 20 of the Buccaneers during that run last season – and is seeking its first win in this series since 2012. The Martians’ loss this season was by a point on opening night to still-undefeated Ortonville Brandon.

Others that caught my eye: Fenton (2-1) at Ortonville Brandon (3-0), Millington (2-1) at Birch Run (1-2), Yale (1-2) at Croswell-Lexington (2-1), Davison (2-1) at Flint Powers Catholic (2-1).

Greater Detroit

St. Clair Shores South Lake (3-0) at Clinton Township Clintondale (3-0)

The Macomb Area Conference Silver is one of the most competitive conferences rarely brought up west of Detroit, and Clintondale’s reputation is along that same line although it's reclaiming a place on the radar – the Dragons won 20 straight regular-season games from 2011-14 before finishing last fall a disappointing 4-5. But they’ve bounced back with two shutouts this fall – although South Lake, which already has surpassed last season’s win total, is averaging 31 points per game and likely won’t be the next to put up a zero.

Others that caught my eye: Warren DeLaSalle (2-1) at Birmingham Brother Rice (1-2), Orchard Lake St. Mary's (3-0) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (3-0), Livonia Churchill (2-1) at Plymouth (2-1), Waterford Our Lady (3-0) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (2-1).


Portland (3-0) at Lansing Catholic (3-0)

Recent elite-level success and star power gives this matchup the edge over four other meetings of undefeated teams in this region. Portland was the Division 5 champion in 2012 and Lansing Catholic was runner-up in 2014. The Raiders own a 6-4 edge in their 10 recent meetings, but fell 34-6 last year to a Cougars team again led this fall by quarterback Tony Poljan. Portland hopes a defense giving up just under 12 points per game can contain the University of Minnesota prospect.

Others that caught my eye: Midland (3-0) at Mount Pleasant (3-0), Grand Blanc (3-0) at Brighton (3-0), Pewamo-Westphalia (3-0) at Dansville (3-0), Lake Odessa Lakewood (3-0) at Stockbridge (3-0).

Lower Northern Peninsula

Whitehall (3-0) at Traverse City Central (3-0)

An overtime win over Traverse City West last week put Central at 3-0 for the second straight season but with an undefeated opponent making the trip up north this week. This could come down to Whitehall’s defense stopping the Trojans, who have scored 130 points but against opponents that are a combined 0-9. Whitehall has given up only 27 points so far but against opponents half the size or smaller in comparison to Central.

Others that caught my eye: Kingsley (2-1) at Boyne City (3-0), Grayling (2-1) at Charlevoix (2-1), Rogers City (2-1) at Hillman (2-1), Petoskey (2-1) at Traverse City West (0-3).

Southeast & Border

Detroit Loyola (2-1) at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (3-0)

Gabriel Richard is off to a 3-0 start for the fourth straight season, but this time outscoring its first opponents by a combined 143-6. The Fighting Irish can make that run look even better by continuing against Loyola, the defending MHSAA champion in Division 7. The Bulldogs’ 12-point loss to reigning Division 3 champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s during opening weekend was its first defeat during the regular season since 2010, and they bounced back with impressive wins over Muskegon-area powers Oakridge and Ravenna.

Others that caught my eye: Hudson (2-1) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (3-0), Grass Lake (2-1) at Manchester (2-1), Ann Arbor Skyline (2-1) at Monroe (2-1), Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (3-0) at New Boston Huron (2-1).

Southwest Corridor

Benton Harbor (2-1) at Portage Central (3-0)

Portage Central continues to rank among the class of the southwest, with last week’s one-point win over rival Stevensville Lakeshore a great start to the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference West schedule. Rival Portage Northern and St. Joseph are major obstacles in the league as well – and Benton Harbor suddenly can’t be overlooked with this season’s wins its first since 2012 and already its most for an entire season since 2006. The Tigers are a seven-point opening loss to Richland Gull Lake from entering this weekend undefeated.  

Others that caught my eye: Cassopolis (3-0) at Berrien Springs (3-0), Stevensville Lakeshore (2-1) at St. Joseph (3-0), Edwardsburg (3-0) at Paw Paw (2-1), Kalamazoo Central (1-2) at Battle Creek Central (1-2).

Upper Peninsula

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

The story hasn’t changed much in a year – Westwood is still seeking its first win over the neighborhood rival since 1998. Ishpeming won during the regular season and in the playoff opener last year and hasn’t loss a regular-season game to anyone since 2012. But Westwood, coming off its first playoff berth in three seasons, looks even more impressive at this point than when it entered 3-0 a year ago; the Patriots last week handed a solid L’Anse team its first loss and fell only on opening night to a Wisconsin team now 3-1.

Others that caught my eye: Indian River Inland Lakes (3-0) at St. Ignace (3-0), Marquette (0-3) at Escanaba (2-1), Iron Mountain (2-1) at Negaunee (3-0), Munising (3-0) at Newberry (2-1).

West Michigan

Muskegon (2-1) at East Grand Rapids (3-0)

The Pioneers are off to their best start since 2010 and own impressive wins over Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Caledonia – but with the Big Reds this week plus Grand Rapids Christian and Lowell among the scariest teams left on the schedule. Muskegon dealt first losses to Christian and Grandville the last two weeks after opening with a loss to Detroit Catholic Central, and had one of its best defensive games of last year’s Division 3 Final run against EGR, winning 37-7.

Others that caught my eye: Muskegon Mona Shores (3-0) at Caledonia (2-1), Zeeland East (3-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (2-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (1-2) at Hudsonville Unity Christian (3-0), Comstock Park (3-0) at Zeeland West (3-0).


Posen (3-0) at Bellaire (2-1)

Before this season, Posen had scored 60 or more points three times in five seasons of 8-player football. The Vikings have scored 60 or more every week this fall for their best start since 2010; they likely will need to score at least half that many against a Bellaire team that won this matchup 49-0 a year ago. The Eagles fell to upstart Powers North Central last week but remain a consistent 8-player power and a great test as Posen looks to take a step up.

Others that caught my eye: Deckerville (3-0) at Kingston (2-1), Tekonsha (1-2) at Portland St. Patrick (2-1)

PHOTO: Portland’s defense, here against Ovid-Elsie on opening night, will be charged with shutting down a potent Lansing Catholic offense this week. (Click for 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.)