A Game for Every Fan: Week 7

October 10, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Something's gonna give in many football leagues all over Michigan this weekend. 

In the southeastern corner alone at least seven matchups feature first and second-place teams aiming at claiming league titles. And titanic face-offs can be found continuing north to the coast of Lake Superior. 

Here's a look at some that stuck out most from this week's schedule. Be sure to check MHSAA Score Center all weekend for up-to-date scores and standings, and then again each morning for updated playoff points averages. 

West Michigan

Caledonia (5-1) at Lowell (6-0)

There's never much of a break in the O-K White, and Lowell gets to follow up last week’s four-overtime win at East Grand Rapids with a home game against second-place Caledonia. The Fighting Scots’ only loss was to much-improved Muskegon Mona Shores, and they’ve scored a combined 136 points in three wins since that Week 3 defeat. The Red Arrows are used to top competition with wins also against River Rouge (4-1) and Muskegon (5-1) this fall, and they get to follow this one with Grand Rapids Christian next week. 

Others that caught my eye: Holland West Ottawa (4-2) at East Kentwood (4-2), Belding (4-2) at Hopkins (4-2), Spring Lake (5-1) at Ludington (4-2), Zeeland East (5-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (5-1).

Greater Detroit and Southeast

Canton (6-0) at Plymouth (5-1)

A set of baseball and softball fields separate these neighbors, and they’ve also seen each other twice each of the last five seasons – once during league play and again during the playoffs. A three-point loss by Plymouth to Livonia Franklin is all that kept this from being a matchup of undefeated teams – and if Plymouth wins, it will force Canton to share the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South title.  

Others that caught my eye: Belleville (4-2) at Dearborn Fordson (4-2), Detroit Denby (5-1) at Detroit Martin Luther King (5-0), Oak Park (5-1) at Farmington Hills Harrison (5-1), Detroit Mumford (6-0) at Detroit Cass Tech (6-0)

Thumb and Bay

Montrose (6-0) at Flint Beecher (5-1)

Beecher’s only loss this season was two weeks ago against Lake Fenton – which is tied with Montrose for first place in the Genesee Area Conference Red. If the Buccaneers can beat the Rams, a three-team shared title will remain a possibility – Montrose ends the regular season against Lake Fenton and has beaten the Blue Devils in three straight.

Others that caught my eye: Reese (5-1) at Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port (5-1), Flint Powers (3-3) at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (5-1), Traverse City St. Francis (4-2) at Saginaw Nouvel (5-1), Gladwin (4-2) at Sanford Meridian (6-0).

Southwest and Border

Paw Paw (6-0) at Plainwell (6-0)

How little have these Wolverine Conference East leaders been tested this fall? Combined, they’ve given up 68 points. It’s fair to say the Trojans have been the tiniest bit more impressive – they have three shutouts including one over Wolverine Conference West leader Dowagiac. But Paw Paw does have history on its side – the Redskins have won all eight meetings (including one in the playoffs) since the two became league foes in 2006.

Others that caught my eye: Climax-Scotts (6-0) at Bellevue (4-2), St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (5-0) at Niles Brandywine (6-0), Coldwater (3-3) at Battle Creek Lakeview (6-0), Three Rivers (4-2) at Dowagiac (5-1).

Lower Up North

Beal City (6-0) at Lake City (6-0)

Talk about two teams that have simply dominated so far; these two have outscored their opponents by a combined 678-33. The winner claims a share of the Highland Conference title, which Beal City has won nine of the last 10 seasons. It’s anyone’s guess how this matchup might go; Lake City has given up six points this season and Beal City has scored at least 60 four times.

Others that caught my eye: Traverse City West (4-2) at Cadillac (6-0), Kalkaska (5-1) at Grayling (5-1), Evart (5-1) at McBain (4-2), Maple City Glen Lake (6-0) at Suttons Bay (3-3).

Upper Peninsula

Negaunee (6-0) at Ishpeming (6-0)

Ishpeming finished an incredible playoff run as the Division 7 champion last fall, but Negaunee can boast that it claimed the Mid-Peninsula Conference championship during the regular season thanks to a 20-8 win over the Hematites. Both have been similarly dominating again this season, making this arguably the best game in the Upper Peninsula for all of 2013.

Others that caught my eye: Powers North Central (5-1) at Felch North Dickinson (5-1), Cheboygan (5-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (3-3), Pickford (4-2) at St. Ignace (5-1), Marinette, Wis. (2-5) at Menominee (6-0).


Fowler (5-1) at Pewamo-Westphalia (6-0)

That this Central Michigan Athletic Conference clash is considered one of the best rivalries throughout mid-Michigan despite including two of its smallest schools speaks volumes both to how much these programs are respected by others big and small and how good this matchup has been over the last 40-plus seasons. During the last decade alone both have played in MHSAA Finals at Ford Field and faced each other in four games decided by eight or fewer points.

Others that caught my eye: Lansing Everett (5-1) at Grand Ledge (3-3), Carson City-Crystal (6-0) at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (5-1), Battle Creek Pennfield (5-1) at Olivet (6-0), Homer (6-0) at Springport (5-1).

PHOTO: Detroit Martin Luther King (white jerseys), here against Detroit East English, has claimed a share of the Detroit Public School League East title, but can win it outright by defeating second place Detroit Denby tonight. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Public School League). 

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.)