A Game for Every Fan: Week 9

October 18, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Most of this weekend is about numbers for hopeful MHSAA football teams. 

There are still a few league titles to award. Some are listed below. But much of the focus is on the 256-team playoff field that will be determined Sunday. As of this morning, 178 teams have achieved automatic berths.

Some other numbers of note:

  • Only five games this weekend feature 5-3 teams facing each other. That means at least five more teams will be added to the automatic qualifier list.
  • Six 5-3 teams face undefeated opponents, and 16 5-3 teams face opponents that have only one loss.
  • A total of 31 teams face opponents with six or more losses, including eight that face teams that haven't won this fall.

See below for some of the most significant games being played in every corner of the state. Visit the MHSAA Score Center all weekend for updated scores and standings, and tune in to Fox Sports Detroit at 6 p.m. Sunday for the Selection Sunday Show.

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

Greater Detroit

Detroit Catholic Central (5-3) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary (6-2), Saturday at Ford Field

The Detroit Catholic League Central title had seemed all but sown up by the Eaglets before DCC’s stunning 35-13 win last week that pushed Brother Rice out of this Prep Bowl game and set up this rematch instead. But two of DCC’s losses were to Ohio powers and it’s fast becoming the expectation for three Catholic League Central teams to make runs at MHSAA Finals.

Others that caught my eye: Detroit Martin Luther King (5-3) vs. Detroit East English (7-1) at Ford Field, Clarkston (8-0) at Oak Park (7-1), Allen Park Cabrini (6-2) vs. Detroit Loyola (8-0), Saturday at Ford Field; Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (7-1) vs. Pontiac Notre Dame (8-0), Saturday at Ford Field.

Upper Peninsula

Kingsford (7-1) at Escanaba (4-4)

The Flivvers have secured a share of the Great Northern Upper Peninsula Conference title, but can win it outright with one more victory tonight. That would appear likely as Kingsford has beaten Escanaba in 12 straight. But the Eskymos are holding onto a faint hope of making the playoffs at 5-4, and winning this one would go a long way beyond the obvious toward making that happen.

Others that caught my eye: Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-4) at Crystal Falls Forest Park (6-2), Bellaire (5-3) at Rapid River (7-1), Cheboygan (6-2) at St. Ignace La Salle (8-0), Powers North Central (5-3) at Stephenson (6-2).


Holt (5-3) at Grand Ledge (6-2)

This may be the best rivalry in the Lansing area. These are the only regular Division 1 teams, and they’ve split their last 10 meetings. With it unlikely that Lansing Everett will lose to winless Jackson tonight, Grand Ledge probably won’t gain a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title. But the Comets can continue to improve their playoff point average – and possibly keep Holt from qualifying at all.

Others that caught my eye: Portland (7-1) at Charlotte (6-2), Fruitport (8-0) at DeWitt (6-2), Grass Lake (7-1) at Leslie (8-0), Mendon (8-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (6-2).

Thumb and Bay

Midland Dow (5-3) at Midland (8-0)

The Chemics secured a share of the Saginaw Valley Association North title by defeating Bay City Western last week, but easily could end up sharing the championship. Western plays Bay City Central, a tough foe, but perhaps not as tough as the Chemics run against in Dow – which must win to secure a playoff berth. Midland has won nine of the last 10 against the Chargers.

Others that caught my eye: Vassar (7-1) at Frankenmuth (8-0), Montrose (7-1) at Lake Fenton (7-1), Linden (7-1) at Swartz Creek (7-1), Lapeer West (6-2) at Fenton (7-1).

West Michigan

Muskegon (8-0) at Zeeland East (8-0)

Muskegon might’ve left a more competitive conference top to bottom when it moved from the O-K Red to Black after last season. But it still has to face a similarly tough foe for the title in the Chix. Zeeland East is seeking its second league title in three seasons; Muskegon its first since 2008, plus the possibility of home playoff games through Regionals.

Others that caught my eye: Lowell (7-1) at Grand Rapids Christian (7-1), Hastings (6-2) at Grand Rapids South Christian (5-3), Grand Rapids Northview (7-1) at Grand Rapids West Catholic (5-3), Hamilton (5-3) at Hudsonville Unity Christian (4-4).

Lower Up North

Boyne City (8-0) at Grayling (8-0)

These teams have succeeded in avoiding all obstacles on the way to this deciding game in the Lake Michigan Conference, which was dominated lately by Traverse City St. Francis before the Gladiators left the league after this spring. Grayling has won their last three meetings by at least 27 points and is going for its first perfect season since at least 1950 (the 1970 team didn’t lose, but had a tie). Boyne City is hoping for its first perfect regular season since 2001.

Others that caught my eye: Elk Rapids (4-4) at Kalkaska (6-2), Menominee (7-1) at Petoskey (5-3), Muskegon Catholic Central (5-3) at Traverse City St. Francis (4-4), Mayville (5-3) at Big Rapids Crossroads (0-8).

Southwest and Border

Lawton (7-1) at Watervliet (8-0)

Watervliet can claim the Southwestern Athletic Conference South championship for the second straight season and is averaging 50 points per game in league play. Lawton would love to get the title back after winning in 2010 but falling to Watervliet in the deciding game last season.

Others that caught my eye: Otsego (6-2) at Dowagiac (8-0), Paw Paw (8-0) at Edwardsburg (6-2), Portage Northern (7-1) at Mattawan (7-1), Portland St. Patrick (8-0) at Waldron (6-2).

PHOTO: Pontiac Notre Dame, here against Dearborn Divine Child, will face Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in a Prep Bowl game Saturday at Ford Field. (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.)