A Game for Every Fan: Week 8
October 18, 2013
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Week 8 of the high school football season can mean a lot of things to teams and communities, depending on one’s circumstances.
On one side of the scale, those that have been eliminated from playoff contention are hoping to finish on a positive note and send out their seniors with one last memory. On the other, there are 61 undefeated teams left in Michigan – and 12 face off in six of our best games this week.
There’s definitely a challenge in forecasting which from this week’s slate might end up the most significant when all is said and done. In fact, a number of Detroit-area games not mentioned below are worth mentioning now: Detroit Martin Luther King (6-0) faces Detroit Mumford (6-1) and Detroit Cass Tech (7-0) faces Detroit East English (5-2) in Detroit Public School League semifinals, and Northville (6-1) faces Canton (7-0) with Grand Blanc (6-1) at Walled Lake Western (7-0) in Kensington Lakes Activities Association semis. In the Detroit Catholic League, second-placers Detroit Catholic Central (6-1) and Warren DeLaSalle (5-2) face off Saturday with a Prep Bowl berth on the line.
See below for more from an incredible statewide slate of games this weekend, and remember to check the MHSAA Score Center all weekend for updated scores and standings.
Southwest and Border
Portage Central (7-0) at St. Joseph (7-0)
Although St. Joseph still must face a competitive Mattawan squad in Week 9, the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West probably comes down to this matchup. Portage Central’s totals this fall certainly are more impressive – 326 points for and 83 against, while St. Joseph has outscored opponents only 201-103 – but because of its strong nonleague slate, St. Joseph projects to have the second-highest playoff point average in Division 3 (Portage Central currently falls sixth among teams expected to be in Division 2).
Others that caught my eye: Battle Creek Harper Creek (6-1) at Battle Creek Lakeview (7-0), Decatur (5-2) at Watervliet (7-0), Dowagiac (6-1) at Edwardsburg (7-0), Otsego (5-2) at Paw Paw (7-0).
Greater Detroit and Southeast
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-0) at Macomb Dakota (7-0)
Twitter followers of @DakotaFootball got a feel for this game Thursday from a few selected re-tweets from players, including one that read: “Tomorrow is the biggest game of our lives.” Dakota, during its nearly two-decade history, has lots of experience in these types of games – the winner tonight will claim the Macomb Area Conference Red title outright – and Chippewa Valley and Dakota have the second and third-highest playoff point averages, respectively, among teams expected to be in Division 1. This is the first time in a decade the Big Reds have been in this spot, and if they can crack Dakota’s defense (35 points allowed this fall), it could be another classic.
Others that caught my eye: St. Clair (7-0) at Marine City (7-0), Birmingham Groves (7-0) at Birmingham Seaholm (7-0), Lake Orion (6-1) at Clarkston (6-1), Warren Michigan Collegiate (5-2) at Harper Woods Chandler Park (6-1).
Lower Up North
Elk Rapids (5-2) at Boyne City (6-1)
Both co-leaders of the Lake Michigan Conference have tough matchups this week, but Elk Rapids being third in the league gives this game a potentially heavier impact. Boyne City faces Grayling in Week 9 in a game that should decide the league title – both are 4-0 in LMC play heading into this weekend – but Elk Rapids definitely could throw a wrench and did beat the Ramblers in two straight before falling last fall.
Others that caught my eye: Lake City (6-1) at Evart (6-1), West Branch Ogemaw Heights (5-2) at Traverse City Central (4-3), Sault Ste. Marie (4-3) at Kingsley (5-2), Grayling (6-1) at East Jordan (4-3).
Lansing Sexton (7-0) at Lansing Everett (5-2)
Those who don’t follow Lansing-area football closely probably don’t realize that Sexton, with roughly 680 students, is slightly more than one-third the size of the biggest schools in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue – and pushed to rejoin the league with its traditional rivals after a few years playing in other divisions. That makes this Big Reds run even more impressive – although Everett would love to keep their rivals from celebrating a league title this week. The Vikings looked like favorites coming into the fall, and this one could be closer than some might expect.
Others that caught my eye: Portland (7-0) at DeWitt (7-0), Battle Creek St. Philip (7-0) at Portland St. Patrick (7-0), Constantine (5-2) at Olivet (6-1), Haslett (5-2) at Williamston (4-3).
Grand Rapids Christian (6-1) at Lowell (7-0)
Lowell’s wild October run through the rest of the O-K White contenders ends tonight in the likely league-deciding matchup against Grand Rapids Christian, which like the Red Arrows is 3-0 in the division. Lowell’s strong competition has paid off not just in preparation for games like this, but in helping the Red Arrows build the highest playoff point average in the MHSAA. Only Muskegon during Week 2 has tripped up the Eagles (Lowell beat Muskegon two weeks later), who continue to await the season debut of injured star receiver Drake Harris.
Others that caught my eye: Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (6-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (6-1), East Grand Rapids (4-3) at Caledonia (5-2), Muskegon Catholic Central (5-2) at Fruitport (5-2), Holland Christian (4-3) at Byron Center (5-2).
Bay and Thumb
Marlette (7-0) at Harbor Beach (6-1)
It’s fair to say this is turning into Marlette’s best season ever – or at least since the Red Raiders went 8-1 in 1975. And it would become infinitely sweeter if they are able to beat defending MHSAA Division 8 champion Harbor Beach to win the Greater Thumb Conference East title. Harbor Beach is riding a 15-game league winning streak and owns two straight wins over Marlette, including by a score of 66-10 a year ago. The Pirates’ only loss this season was in Week 3 to much larger Menominee.
Others that caught my eye: Fenton (7-0) at Swartz Creek (4-3), Richmond (6-1) at Yale (5-2), Deckerville (4-3) at Peck (7-0), Vassar (4-3) at Cass City (4-3).
Bessemer (5-2) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (7-0)
This scenario bears similarity to 2012; Forest Park was cruising through the Great Western Conference before getting run over by Bessemer 46-15 in Week 8, a result that created an eventual three-team sharing of the league title. Forest Park is 3-0 in the league again. And while Bessemer at 2-2 in the conference has only an outside shot at sharing the title this time, the Miners have come back from a midseason two-game losing streak to get within a win of qualifying for the playoffs for the second season in a row.
Others that caught my eye: Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-3) at Felch North Dickinson (6-1), Marquette (5-1) at Negaunee (6-1), Bellaire (5-2) at Cedarville (6-1), Hancock (3-4) at Iron River West County (7-0).
PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central (in blue), here during a Sept. 27 loss to Birmingham Brother Rice, faces Warren DeLaSalle this week for the opportunity to face Brother Rice again in next weekend’s Detroit Catholic League Prep Bowl. (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:
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.)