A Game for Every Fan: Week 7
October 7, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
We're at the point every football season when conference champions begin to be crowned. But for the Week 7's schedule to fall together like this is nearly inconceivable.
Fifteen leagues statewide will feature matchups of teams tied for first place, with five more conferences bracing for tilts between first and second-place teams that could have immediate title implications.
Many of those games are discussed in detail below; all are tonight unless noted. Check MHSAA Score Center for results as they come in, updated standings and playoff-point averages.
Bay & Thumb
Almont (6-0) at Algonac (6-0)
What gives this matchup the slight edge in intrigue over undefeated teams facing off in the Saginaw Valley League (see below)? This is shaping up as arguably the most meaningful game in Algonac football history. The Muskrats’ perfect start is earning attention statewide and is a great story after the team went 1-8 a year ago and last had a winning record in 2005. But a league title, clinched tonight, would be the team’s first since 1972 – and standing in the way is reigning champion Almont, which hasn’t lost in the Blue Water Area Conference since Week 4 of 2013.
Others that caught my eye: Lapeer (6-0) at Midland (6-0), Vassar (5-1) at Unionville-Sebewaing (5-1), Detroit Cesar Chavez (4-2) at Mayville (4-2), Sterling Heights (5-1) at Marysville (4-2).
Canton (5-1) at Plymouth (5-1)
Plymouth’s championship-contending golfers this fall could land a ball at Canton in two strokes, these schools are so near to each other. And their last seven football meetings have been about that close too, all decided by 12 points or fewer. The Wildcats own a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South title by way of Canton’s loss last week to Livonia Churchill – but the reigning champion Chiefs can grab a share as well by extending a current winning streak against Plymouth to three.
Others that caught my eye: Berkley (5-1) at Birmingham Groves (6-0), Farmington Hills Harrison (5-1) at Farmington (4-2), River Rouge (6-0) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (5-1), Warren Mott (5-1) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (5-1).
St. Johns (5-1) at DeWitt (6-0)
These neighbors are meeting to decide the Capital Area Activities Conference Red title for the second straight season, with DeWitt the reigning champion thanks to last year’s 16-10 victory. The Panthers have won five straight against the Redwings and won’t have trouble drumming up enthusiasm despite coming off facing its other rival, Haslett, last week. The Redwings have lost only to one-loss Grand Rapids Catholic Central, in Week 2, and feature speedy MHSAA track champion Steven Linton in the backfield and a defense that could slow this game down substantially.
Others that caught my eye: Sanford Meridian (6-0) at Harrison (5-1), Howell (5-1) at Brighton (5-1), Vestaburg (5-1) at Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (3-3), Pewamo-Westphalia (6-0) at Laingsburg (5-1).
Nothern Lower Peninsula
Harbor Springs (4-2) at Frankfort (5-1)
Most of the best up north this weekend are nonleague matchups, but Harbor Springs could make some noise in the Northern Michigan Football League Legends division as it seeks to guarantee its best finish since 2000. The Rams earned an impressive victory last week over 4-2 Indian River Inland Lakes and have won two of the last three against Frankfort – which is first in the Legends and undefeated since opening night. The Panthers have given up 35 points total.
Others that caught my eye: Lincoln Alcona (5-1) at Johannesburg-Lewiston (5-1), Oscoda (4-2) at Hillman (5-1), Gaylord (5-1) at Petoskey (4-2), Maple City Glen Lake (4-2) at Traverse City St. Francis (6-0).
Southeast & Border
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (6-0) at Milan (5-1)
St. Mary hasn’t given up more than seven points in a game since Week 3 as it’s cruised during the first two-thirds of its Huron League repeat pursuit. But Milan arguably has been more impressive; the Big Reds, who won the league in 2012 and 2013, are a one-point loss to 5-1 Marshall on opening night from a perfect record this fall – and after losing to the Falcons 43-0 last year, would love to break St. Mary's 11-game winning streak.
Others that caught my eye: Ottawa Lake-Whiteford (5-1) at Morenci (5-1), Ann Arbor Skyline (3-3) at Ann Arbor Pioneer (5-1), Hudson (3-3) at Ida (6-0), Chelsea (6-0) at Ypsilanti Community (3-3).
Watervliet (5-1) at Delton Kellogg (5-1)
This is the product of the reconfigured Southwestern Athletic Conference, which added teams – including Delton Kellogg – from the former Kalamazoo Valley Association this fall and split into three divisions. The SAC Lakeshore division has provided an extra boost to a Delton program that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001 but has upped its win total three seasons running. Watervliet is a little more used to this with three 10-win seasons over the last four, but this fall both teams are in similar position – both one-point losses from perfection.
Others that caught my eye: Mattawan (3-3) at Battle Creek Central (3-3), Parchment (4-2) at Berrien Springs (6-0), Plainwell (4-2) at Edwardsburg (6-0), Portage Northern (3-3) at Portage Central (6-0).
Negaunee (6-0) at Ishpeming (5-0)
Ishpeming has won 37 of its last 38 regular-season games. The only team to beat the Hematites? Negaunee, back in 2012, but the Miners came close in 2013 and remain Ishpeming’s toughest annual obstacle despite being shut out 28-0 a year ago. Ishpeming is coming off an open week and has had a little extra time to prepare, although a defense that has given up 33 points in five games has looked plenty ready to match a Negaunee offense scoring 41 points per contest.
Others that caught my eye: Calumet (4-2) at L'Anse (4-2), Bark River-Harris (5-1) at Munising (5-1), Iron Mountain (4-2) at Kingsford (4-2), Houghton (3-3) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (6-0) (Sat.).
Grand Rapids West Catholic (4-2) at Comstock Park (5-1)
Most teams would be fine with a 6-5 blip like Comstock Park experienced in 2014 after three seasons with a combined record of 33-6. But the Panthers look like themselves again, with a win over Ottawa-Kent Bronze co-leader Cedar Springs and the only loss to O-K Green co-leader Zeeland West by 10. West Catholic, which won the O-K Green last season thanks to a 47-33 win over Comstock Park, looked like it might be in for an off season after a 1-2 start. But the two-time reigning Division 5 champion has found a source of offense the last three weeks and looks good to make the playoffs for the 13th straight season regardless of what happens tonight. (This game can be viewed live with subscription on MHSAA.tv.)
Others that caught my eye: Byron Center (5-1) at Zeeland West (6-0), Wyoming Godwin Heights (4-2) at Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (6-0), Big Rapids (4-2) at Remus Chippewa Hills (5-1), East Kentwood (4-2) at Rockford (4-2).
Waldron (6-0) at Battle Creek St. Philip (6-0), Saturday
This has been a history-making season for Waldron, off to its first 6-0 start since 1978 and approaching at least eight wins for the first time since 1984 (its final two opponents, Litchfield and Carsonville-Port Sanilac, are winless). Beating St. Philip would put the Spartans’ run into another echelon. The Tigers’ only losses the last two seasons were three times to reigning 8-player champion Lawrence – and they have a 49-0 win over 4-2 Webberville and a 65-32 win over 5-1 Morrice this fall.
Others that caught my eye: Portland St. Patrick (5-1) at Webberville (4-2), Lawrence (6-0) vs. Prairie Farm, Wis. (7-0) at Madison Middleton, Wis. (Sat.).
PHOTO: St. Johns' Steven Linton (20) turns the corner during a two-point win over Haslett in Week 4. (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:
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.)