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.)

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 25, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 16-19 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.