A Game for Every Fan: Week 5

September 20, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Some of the strongest followings of high school football in this state take place in some of our smallest communities.

And some of Michigan's smallest towns should see some of the best games of this week, the midpoint of the 2012 regular season. 

See below for this observer's picks of the best matchups from your corner of the state. And remember to visit the MHSAA Score Center all weekend for updated scores and standings.

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

Bay and Thumb

Vassar (4-0) at Reese (4-0)

A move into the Greater Thumb Conference West five years ago, from the Tri-Valley Conference East, has paid off for Vassar. The Vulcans are 30-14 in that time, including a 4-0 start this fall during which they’ve outscored opponents 127-6. The only league team they haven’t beaten since the move: Reese, which handed Vassar its only GTC West losses the last two seasons and is averaging 45 points per game.

Others that caught my eye: Merrill (2-2) at Carrollton (4-0), Saginaw Swan Valley (4-0) at Freeland (3-1), Mount Pleasant (2-2) at Midland (4-0), Essexville Garber (3-1) at Millington (3-1).

Greater Detroit

Livonia Churchill (4-0) at Canton (3-1)

Churchill is lining itself up well for its best season in decades. The Chargers have the most playoff points in the state through four games, have scored at least 35 points in each, and with a another win over Canton – Churchill beat the Chiefs by a point last season – the Chargers will be heavy favorites to win their first league championship since 1979. What about Canton? Its only loss this season was by a point to undefeated Midland.

Others that caught my eye: Detroit Cass Tech (4-0) at Orchard Lake St. Mary (3-1), Farmington (4-0) at Oak Park (4-0), Warren Michigan Collegiate (4-0) at Detroit University Prep (4-0), Wyandotte Roosevelt (4-0) at Taylor Truman (4-0).

Upper Peninsula

Cedarville (4-0) at Eben Junction Superior Central (4-0)

In no other division is the importance of playoff points as cut and dried as in 8-player. The top 16 teams, based on playoff points, make the postseason. Simple as that. These two are in fine shape so far; Cedarville is second only to Portland St. Patrick in points, and Superior Center is third. And they’re also two of three 4-0 teams atop the Bridge 8-Man Football Alliance (Rapid River is the third.). Cedarville and Rapid River shared the title in 2011.

Others that caught my eye: Powers North Central (3-1) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (4-0), Iron Mountain (2-2) at Ishpeming Westwood (2-2), Hurley, Wis (2-2) at Bessemer (3-1), Engadine (2-1) at Rapid River (4-0).

Southwest and Border

Watervliet (4-0) at Hartford (4-0)

No league’s teams have enjoyed more nonconference success than the members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference South. Five of the six have started the season 4-0, with these two perhaps the most impressive so far. Watervliet has followed its 10-win season of last fall by outscoring its first opponents in 2012 by a combined 204-13. Hartford hasn’t been far behind that pace, winning all of its games by at least 28 points.

Others that caught my eye: Lawton (4-0) at Decatur (4-0), Three Rivers (3-1) at Edwardsburg (3-1), St. Joseph (3-1) at Portage Central (3-1), Stevensville Lakeshore (4-0) at Niles (3-1).

West Michigan

Whitehall (2-2) at Montague (3-1)

These West Michigan Conference rivals have played annually for the “Bell” since 1906, with Montague winning the last five meetings. Despite a big loss to Muskegon Oakridge, the Wildcats have won their other three games this fall by a combined score of 152-0. But don’t count out Whitehall; after a 2-0 start, its losses were by eight and four points to Shelby and North Muskegon the last two weeks, respectively.

Others that caught my eye: Caledonia (4-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (3-1), East Grand Rapids (2-2) vs. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (3-1) at Fifth Third Ballpark, Hudsonville Unity Christian (2-2) at Grand Rapids South Christian (3-1), Muskegon Oakridge (4-0) at Ravenna (2-2).


DeWitt (3-1) at St. Johns (4-0)

Both coming off of one-point wins last week, these Capital Area Activities Conference Red rivals either will be worn down, or more likely raring to go against what has arguably become the biggest rival for both. These teams haven’t had to play this many close games in a while, and this one should be tight too – all four Redwings wins this season have come by six or fewer points, and DeWitt has scored as many as it has given up. The Panthers hold a 4-3 edge since the series was renewed in 2005.

Others that caught my eye: East Lansing (4-0) at Holt (2-2), Charlotte (2-2) at Mason (4-0), Portland (4-0) at Williamston (3-1), Comstock Park (3-1) at Belding (2-2).

Lower Up North

Pellston (4-0) at Pickford (4-0)

Pellston is arguably the biggest surprise of the northern Lower Peninsula – the Hornets had won a combined four games over the last three seasons, and last won four in one season in 2002. But Pickford also has to be excited about its best start since 2005, especially in its first season in the Ski Valley Conference, which added teams and split into the North and South this fall. The Panthers are just two more wins from their first playoff berth since 2007.

Others that caught my eye: Traverse City Central (3-1) at West Branch Ogemaw Heights (2-2), Onaway (4-0) at Mancelona (4-0), Lake City (4-0) at McBain (2-2), Boyne City (4-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (2-2).

PHOTO: Saginaw Swan Valley (white jerseys) defeated Alma last week to remain atop the Tri-Valley Conference Central standings. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

1st & Goal: 2023 Week 6 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 28, 2023

Five showdowns of undefeated teams highlight this week's Michigan high school statewide schedule as we begin our second-half buildup toward the end of the regular season. 

MI Student AidFour shoud heavily impact league championship races, and the fifth merely will tell us how two more of the top 8-player teams in the entire state stack up among the elite.

If you're not watching in person, check out most of the matchups highlighted below, and several others, on MHSAA.tv. Check in as well with the MHSAA Scores page for all of them as they come in. (Games below are Friday unless noted.)

Bay & Thumb

Croswell-Lexington (5-0) at Almont (5-0) - Watch

Just past halfway through the Blue Water Area Conference schedule, half the teams are 3-1 or 4-0 in league play – with these the co-leaders. Croswell-Lexington hasn’t played a game closer than 19 points this fall, but did lose last year’s meeting with Almont 37-26. The Raiders, meanwhile, have won the last two weeks by seven and one point, respectively – but opened the season with three straight shutouts as the stifling defense they’ve become known for has given up only 34 points total.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Lapeer (4-1) at Grand Blanc (3-2) - Watch, Linden (4-1) at Fenton (4-1) - Watch, Birch Run (4-1) at Freeland (5-0) - Watch, Madison Heights Lamphere (4-1) at Marine City (4-1).

Greater Detroit

Westland John Glenn (5-0) at Belleville (5-0) - Watch

Belleville’s 42-3 victory over Livonia Franklin last week was the team’s 30th straight, and the Tigers now own the state’s longest active winning streak with Powers North Central’s coming to an end at 41 on the same night. Belleville’s next challenger is John Glenn, which under second-year coach Jason Mensing has as many victories this fall as the last two combined and has nearly guaranteed its first winning season since 2014. Mensing guided his former team Ottawa Lake Whiteford through several memorable moments, and this will be the Rockets’ biggest so far under his leadership.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Gibraltar Carlson (4-1) at Trenton (4-1) - Watch, Romeo (3-2) at Macomb Dakota (4-1) - Watch, Lake Orion (5-0) at Rochester Adams (3-2) - Watch, Marine City Cardinal Mooney (3-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (3-2) - Watch.


Goodrich (5-0) at Corunna (5-0) - Watch

The winner of this matchup clinches a share of the Flint Metro League Stars championship, similar to last season when Goodrich won the league and Corunna was second thanks to the Martians’ 42-7 win in their Week 5 matchup. Both arguably have been even better this fall. Goodrich has handed the only losses this season to Frankenmuth and Linden, and Corunna has given up only 31 points this season and no more than 17 in a game while scoring at least 38 every time out.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Evart (4-1) at Beal City (5-0) - Watch, Grand Ledge (5-0) at DeWitt (2-2) - Watch, Fowler (5-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (4-1) - Watch, Montrose (4-1) at New Lothrop (4-1) - Watch.

Northern Lower Peninsula

Charlevoix (4-1) at Elk Rapids (2-3)

There’s more riding here than the initial glance my indicate. Charlevoix, with a win, would clinch a share of the Northern Michigan Football Conference Leaders title – its first since 2020 and after finishing second to Boyne City both of the past two seasons. The Rayders haven’t had a game closer than 13 points since falling to Traverse City St. Francis by one in their season opener. Elk Rapids got off to a tough start but has won two straight – both in shutouts – and is looking for its first win over Charlevoix since 2018.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grayling (3-2) at Kingsley (4-1) - Watch, McBain (4-1) at Lake City (3-2), Ludington (3-2) at Manistee (4-1) - Watch, Cadillac (3-2) at Petoskey (3-2) - Watch.

Southeast & Border

Jackson (4-1) at Adrian (4-1) - Watch

Jackson has a chance to set up a Week 7 winner-take-all matchup with Chelsea for the Southeastern Conference White championship – a nice jump after finishing third last season. The Vikings haven’t defeated Chelsea since 2018 but lost by a respectable 17-0 last fall. But they can’t overlook Adrian, still enjoying its best season since 2016 despite falling to Chelsea 28-18 last week. The Maples would love to hand Jackson a loss tonight and cheer for the Vikings next week with a title share possible.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Michigan Center (4-1) at Grass Lake (4-1) - Watch, Flat Rock (4-1) at Milan (3-2) - Watch, Ann Arbor Huron (3-2) at Saline (5-0) - Watch, Hudson (5-0) at Blissfield (3-2) - Watch.

Southwest Corridor

Parma Western (5-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (4-1)

We’re halfway through the Interstate 8 Athletic Conference schedule, and this has emerged as an important matchup with Parma Western tied with Hastings for first and Harper Creek only a game back after falling to the Saxons 34-6 last week. The Beavers struggled to 3-6 a year ago but already have avenged 2022 losses to Battle Creek Lakeview, Battle Creek Central and Marshall – and Western defeated them 34-0 last season before Harper Creek went 2-1 to finish the fall. Western’s defense is a notable strength again, giving up only 37 points total this season despite taking on Dearborn Divine Child and Detroit Country Day over the first two weeks.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Paw Paw (5-0) at Edwardsburg (3-2) - Watch, Constantine (4-1) at Allegan (4-1) - Watch, St. Joseph (3-2) at Portage Northern (5-0) - Watch, Muskegon Catholic Central (3-2) at Schoolcraft (4-1) - Watch.

Upper Peninsula

Gladstone (4-1) at Menominee (5-0)

This is the first of three games that will tell a lot about Menominee’s season as the Maroons enter this stretch alone atop the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper at 4-0 but with Gladstone, Week 7 opponent Negaunee and Week 8 opponent Kingsford all 3-1 in league play. While this is a new conference for the Maroons this season, they have plenty of history with Gladstone as both came from the Great Northern Conference – and Menominee had won three straight in the series before Gladstone’s 28-6 victory last fall. Gladstone’s lone defeat this year came Week 3 to Kingsford, 35-12.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Maple City Glen Lake (3-2) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-2) - Watch, Manistique (3-2) at Iron Mountain (5-0) - Watch, Marquette (2-2) at Escanaba (1-4) - Watch, Houghton (2-3) at Calumet (1-4) - Watch.

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-1) at East Grand Rapids (5-0)

We’ve been watching East Grand Rapids’ rejuvenation this fall with this among games circled for special attention, and Forest Hills Central’s 15-14 loss to Byron Center last week hardly lessens the intrigue. The Rangers are still among favorites statewide in Division 3, ranked No. 2, and East Grand Rapids is right behind them this week at No. 3 (while Byron Center is No. 2 in Division 2). The Ottawa-Kent Conference White title won’t be decided with this matchup, but it surely will be impacted – and the Rangers have defeated EGR all three times they’ve met since the Pioneers rejoined the division in 2020.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Allendale (5-0) at Spring Lake (4-1), Lowell (4-1) at Byron Center (5-0), Caledonia (4-1) at Hudsonville (4-1) - Watch, Zeeland East (4-1) at Muskegon (3-2).


Mendon (5-0) at Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-0) - Watch

Movement on the overall 8-player enrollment list have made this a matchup we’ll see just this once this fall, as Mendon – last year’s Division 2 runner-up – has moved to Division 1 and is ranked No. 2, while Lenawee Christian is top-ranked in Division 2 after winning Division 1 titles in 2020 and 2021 and reaching a Regional Final last year. Still, many 8-player eyes will be watching. The Cougars have given up just 32 points this season and no more than 12 in a game, and that defense should be part of the key matchup within the matchup because Mendon is scoring 52 per contest and coming off an 80-point performance.

Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Carson City-Crystal (5-0) at Coleman (4-1) - Watch, Brown City (5-0) at Mayville (5-0) - Watch, St. Ignace (5-0) at Newberry (4-1), Norway (4-1) at Ontonagon (4-1) - Watch.

Second Half’s weekly “1st & Goal” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and X (Twitter) @mistudentaid.

PHOTO Muskegon Catholic Central and Orchard View players reach to get a hand on the ball during their meeting this season. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)