A Game for Every Fan: Week 8

October 11, 2012

One team more than half of the 2012 MHSAA football playoff field has been decided, with 129 teams qualified for the 256-team field with two regular-season games to play.

And each of these final weeks includes opportunities for plenty to do something they've never done before.

Over the last two weeks, Swartz Creek, Grand Rapids Northview and Detroit East English have earned their first playoff berths ever (East English in its first year as a school). Detroit Consortium, Mayville, Walled Lake Northern and Saginaw Valley Lutheran all can earn their first berths with wins this weekend.

See below for some of the best games being played in every corner of the state. And visit the MHSAA Score Center all weekend for updated scores and standings.

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

Greater Detroit

Clarkston (7-0) at Lake Orion (7-0)

These Oakland Activities Association Red rivals have two of the top three playoff point averages among potential Division 1 teams this fall, and are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, by The Associated Press' media panel. This is as true a rivalry as they come -- the schools are nearly the same size at more than 2,500 students each, they are located only 11 miles apart, and they've split their last 10 meetings including three in the playoffs.

Others that caught my eye: Detroit Cody (5-2) vs. Detroit East English (6-1) at Detroit Northwestern, Dearborn Heights Robichaud (7-0) at Dearborn Fordson (6-1), Oak Park (7-0) at Oxford (4-3), Detroit Martin Luther King (4-3) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (6-1) at Detroit Northwestern.

Lower Up North

Traverse City St. Francis (4-3) at Maple City Glen Lake (7-0)

At stake this week and potentially next is St. Francis' 22-season playoff berth streak, the state's longest. Its losses are to teams with a combined 19-2 record, but the Gladiators took a significant step last week by beating Saginaw Nouvel. Glen Lake is much like the teams that have beaten St. Francis. The Lakers have given up only 44 points total and own a win over Kingsley, which beat the Gladiators on opening night.

Others that caught my eye: Benzie Central (3-4) at Cheboygan (5-2), Boyne City (7-0) at Elk Rapids (4-3), Lake City (6-1) at Manton (4-3), Kalkaska (5-2) at Frankfort (3-4).

Bay and Thumb

Midland (7-0) at Bay City Western (7-0)

Like some games these teams have won this season, their league race is coming right down to the final minutes. The winner claims a share of the Saginaw Valley Association North championship, with both then facing city rivalry games to finish the regular season. Western has survived three straight eight-point wins, and Midland edged two of those same opponents by seven points apiece. The Chemics have beaten the Warriors in six of their last eight meetings.

Others that caught my eye: Swartz Creek (7-0) at Fenton (6-1), Walled Lake Western (5-2) at Grand Blanc (4-3), Saginaw Valley Lutheran (5-2) at Merrill (4-3), Marine City (6-1) at St. Clair (7-0).

West Michigan

Grand Rapids Catholic Central (7-0) at Hastings (6-1)

The winner of this matchup will claim a share of the O-K Gold championship. Grand Rapids Catholic Central is the reigning champion, but Hastings can claim a league title for the first time since 2001. The Cougars have won three of the four between these two since joining the Gold, but Hastings if off to its best start since that last league championship season.

Others that caught my eye: Lowell (6-1) at Caledonia (6-1), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (4-3) at Grand Rapids Christian (6-1), Fruitport (7-0) at Muskegon Catholic Central (5-2), Grandville (4-3) at Rockford (5-2).


Grand Ledge (5-2) at East Lansing (5-2)

This has been one of the best rivalries in mid-Michigan for more two decades. And although this game likely won't decide a league champion this time -- Lansing Everett leads both by a win in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue standings -- it's remains significant as both the Comets and Trojans' playoff hopes could hinge on which wins tonight. East Lansing might be in better shape, with one-win Okemos coming up in Week 9. But the Comets finish with Holt, 4-3 and another team playing for a postseason berth.

Others that caught my eye: DeWitt (6-1) at Portland (6-1), Walled Lake Northern (5-2) at Hartland (7-0), Williamston (4-3) at Haslett (4-3), Mason (5-2) at Lansing Waverly (4-3).

Southwest and Border

Stevensville Lakeshore (7-0) at Mattawan (7-0)

No region of the state has more big games this week, with titles being decided all over the Kalamazoo area and southwestern corner. But these are the big schools from the biggest league, and the game longest-awaited as both have navigated a tough Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West. Mattawan does have to face third-place Portage Northern next week, but the winner tonight will be riding high no matter what opponent is up next. Mattawan did win last season, breaking an eight-game losing streak against the Lancers.

Others that caught my eye: Watervliet (7-0) at Decatur (6-1), Edwardsburg (6-1) at Dowagiac (7-0), Paw Paw (7-0) at Otsego (6-1), Union City (5-2) at Reading (6-1).

Upper Peninsula

L’Anse (6-1) at Eagle River Northland Pines (7-0)

Northland Pines, the only Wisconsin team in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference, leads both L'Anse and Calumet by a win with this the final weekend of the league schedule. Calumet fell to Northland Pines by two on opening night and defeated L'Anse by 20 last week, which doesn't seem to indicate good things for the latter. But a win tonight would add another huge accomplishment to the Hornets' first winning season since 2007. 

Others that caught my eye: Negaunee (7-0) at Marquette (4-3), Pellston (4-3) at St. Ignace (7-0), Crystal Falls Forest Park (5-2) at Bessemer (4-2), Iron Mountain North Dickinson (7-0) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-3).

PHOTO: Elk Rapids' Derek Sentieri works to break away from Traverse City St. Francis tacklers during their game earlier this fall. (Click to see more at Terry McNamara Photography.)

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.)