A Game for Every Fan: Week 5

September 26, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Rivalry games develop for a variety of reasons: proximity, a history of close finishes and league ties are just the obvious. And finding one of these matchups worth watching is an easy task just about every week of MHSAA football season..

But tonight and Saturrday might feature the best set of rivalry games, collectively, this state has seen during one weekend in a long time. 

All featured below are tonight unless noted. Be sure to monitor all the scores as they come in at the MHSAA Score Center.

Greater Detroit and Southeast

Birmingham Brother Rice (4-0) at Detroit Catholic Central (4-0) - Saturday

Although DCC hasn’t played a Catholic League Central game yet (it was the odd team out during last week’s openers), the Shamrocks and Warriors are the only teams in the division still undefeated overall. Both are playing for their third trips to the MHSAA Finals – Brother Rice has won back-to-back Division 2 titles, and DCC has finished runner-up the last two seasons in Division 1. But first comes this weekend; they’ve split the last four meetings, and DCC’s defense already has three shutouts this fall. 

Others that caught my eye: Detroit Loyola (4-0) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (4-0), Farmington Hills Harrison (4-0) at Southfield (3-1), Melvindale (4-0) at Wyandotte Roosevelt (4-0), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (4-0) at Clarkston (3-1).

Southwest and Border

Portage Northern (3-1) at Portage Central (4-0)

Portage Northern is coming off a heart-breaking 17-10 loss last week to St. Joseph. But the Huskies surely will bounce back quickly for this rivalry game – especially after falling to Central in last season’s playoff opener after beating the Mustangs by 29 just two weeks before. Central got its first challenge of the season last week as well, from Stevensville Lakeshore, but hasn’t scored fewer than 34 points in a game so far.

Others that caught my eye: Decatur (4-0) at Lawton (4-0), Edwardsburg (4-0) at Three Rivers (3-1), Hartford (3-1) at Watervliet (4-0), Portland St. Patrick (4-0) at Burr Oak (3-1).

Upper Peninsula

Kingsford (4-0) at Menominee (4-0)

A year ago in Week 5, Kingsford beat Menominee 14-13 and then went on to win the Great Northern UP Conference title. But that’s been the norm; beginning in 1999, one of these two has won or shared the league title every season. This matchup often during that run decided which finished on top. The Maroons might have a little momentum after coming back to beat Kingsford 48-14 in a 2012 District Final.

Others that caught my eye: Negaunee (4-0) at Gwinn (2-2), Bessemer (3-1) at Hurley, Wis. (3-1), St. Ignace (3-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (2-2), Detroit Country Day (1-3) at Escanaba (1-3).

Lower Up North

Maple City Glen Lake (4-0) at Kingsley (3-1)

Glen Lake jumped into the Northwest Conference title conversation last season for the first time in a decade and earned the championship thanks in large part to a 29-7 win over Kingsley – which similarly was enjoying its finest conference run since 2005 before finishing second. The Stags no doubt would like to finish the job by winning this rematch to move into first place alone; they then finish with winless league opponents Benzie Central and Mesick.

Others that caught my eye: Traverse City St. Francis (3-1) at Boyne City (3-1), Petoskey (2-2) at Cheboygan (3-1), Bellaire (4-0) at Posen (2-2), West Branch Ogemaw Heights (3-1) at Cadillac (4-0).

West Michigan

East Grand Rapids (3-1) at Grand Rapids Christian (3-1)

Grand Rapids Christian enjoyed its best season ever last fall, winning the Division 3 championship, which coincided with East Grand Rapids’ first playoff miss since 2000. But the Pioneers are looking like themselves again, and the Eagles remain elite despite graduating a star-filled class and losing standout receiver Drake Harris for the first part of the regular season with an injury. Three of these teams' last five games against each other have come down to seven points or fewer, and this could be another classic.

Others that caught my eye: Belding (4-0) at Comstock Park (4-0), Ludington (3-1) at Fruitport (2-2), Rockford (3-1) at Holland West Ottawa (3-1), Muskegon (3-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (4-0).


DeWitt (4-0) at Haslett (3-1)

This once was the best rivalry in the Lansing area – until DeWitt won 10 straight (including three times in the playoffs), dating to Haslett’s last win in the series in 2005. Regardless, the Vikings have come closer than most to beating the Panthers during this latest run. And last season’s game seemed to signal a return to the grudge match, with DeWitt surviving 28-27. The Panthers are always strong offensively but have given up only 23 points this fall and have two shutouts. Haslett, meanwhile, is off to its best start since 2009.

Others that caught my eye: Holt (2-2) at East Lansing (3-1), Reading (2-2) at Homer (4-0), Coleman (4-0) at Carson City-Crystal (4-0), Jackson Northwest (2-2) at Jackson Lumen Christi (4-0).

Bay and Thumb

Midland (4-0) at Mount Pleasant (3-1)

With three wins – and only a 12-point loss to a strong DeWitt team – Mount Pleasant already has one more victory than all of last season, a rare down finish for the Oilers. Midland took advantage by breaking a three-season losing streak to Mount Pleasant and winning the Saginaw Valley Association North. As we reach the midpoint, these two have been the league’s most impressive teams so far.

Others that caught my eye: Harbor Beach (3-1) at Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port (4-0), Flint Beecher (4-0) at Lake Fenton (3-1), Warren Woods Tower (3-1) at St. Clair (4-0), Yale (3-1) at Almont (3-1).

PHOTO: Midland (blue uniforms) ran past Saginaw Arthur Hill last week to remain in first place in the SVA North. (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.)