A Game for Every Fan: Week 9
October 21, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
This week more than any other requires a different perspective when considering what football games could turn out as the most significant when the final scores come in Saturday night.
There are still a few league titles to be contested, and we highlighted most of those below. There are 45 teams hoping to finish the regular season undefeated, and we’ve noted a number of those too – including the only game pitting 8-0 teams, Freeland at Frankenmuth.
But we’re also watching closely 90 teams that can guarantee a playoff spot with a Week 9 win – with 12 games pitting 11-player teams with 5-3 records and Parma Western and Detroit Edison Public School Academy needing a victory to join Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy among those this season earning postseason bids for the first time.
Be sure to tune in all weekend to the MHSAA Score Center for results as they come in, updated standings and playoff point averages, and watch Fox Sports Detroit at 7 p.m. Sunday to see the playoff field and brackets for the first time. (There are 13 games on Thursday this week. All games below are Friday unless noted.)
Bay & Thumb
Linden (7-1) at Fenton (7-1)
Four of these teams' last five meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less – and this one will decide an outright league champion. Fenton’s last loss in Flint Metro League play was on opening night 2012 to Linden, and the Tigers have shared or won outright the last four league titles – with Linden tying for first in 2012 and winning outright the year before Fenton’s streak started, in 2010.
Others that caught my eye: Freeland (8-0) at Frankenmuth (8-0), Midland (7-1) at Midland Dow (7-1), Lapeer (8-0) at Davison (5-3), New Lothrop (8-0) at Montrose (5-3).
Detroit Martin Luther King (8-0) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (7-1) at Ford Field
We detailed this rivalry before Week 5, when the two met in what eventually decided the Detroit Public School League East I championship for King. The Crusaders won 31-28 in overtime that day, and have given up a total of eight points over three games since – although two of those games were against the same team because of a rematch in the PSL Semifinals. Cass Tech no doubt has been waiting for this rematch – the Technicians haven’t lost two straight to King since the 2005-2006 regular seasons.
Others that caught my eye: Detroit Central Collegiate (6-2) vs. Detroit Collegiate Prep (8-0) at Ford Field; Warren DeLaSalle (6-2) vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's (6-1) at Ford Field, Saturday; Detroit Loyola (6-2) vs. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (7-1) at Ford Field, Saturday; Farmington Hills Harrison (7-1) at West Bloomfield (8-0).
Grand Ledge (8-0) at Holt (5-3)
It’s fair to say few saw Holt competing for a league title after dropping its first two games to Hudsonville and Rockford by a combined score of 75-14. But the Rams, under first-year coach Chad Fulk, ran off five straight wins before coming up short last week against Jackson. Grand Ledge has won four of the last five against its biggest rival and has a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title regardless of what happens this weekend – but Holt can gain a share as well.
Others that caught my eye: St. Ignace (7-1) at Fowler (6-2), Marshall (7-1) at Portland (8-0), Clare (5-3) at Harrison (6-2), Novi (4-4) at Howell (5-3).
Northern Lower Peninsula
Charlevoix (5-3) at Harbor Springs (5-3)
There are a number of good matchups in the northern Lower Peninsula this week, but this is the only one that will guarantee the winner a playoff berth. Charlevoix is second and Harbor Springs tied for third in the Northern Michigan Football League Legends division, and neither can catch champion Frankfort. But the Red Rayders are looking for a second straight playoff appearance coming off back-to-back 1-8 finishes in 2012 and 2013, and Harbor Springs hasn’t had a .500 record or made the playoffs since 2000.
Others that caught my eye: Kingsley (5-3) at Traverse City St. Francis (8-0), Saturday; Onekama (7-1) at Frankfort (7-1), Walled Lake Northern (5-3) at Traverse City West (4-4), Indian River Inland Lakes (5-3) at Johannesburg-Lewiston (7-1).
Southeast & Border
Ottawa Lake Whiteford (7-1) at Clinton (8-0)
Clinton has won 27 straight Tri-County Conference games (and 35 straight total during the regular-season), and once again no league opponent has come within two touchdowns of the Redskins. But Whiteford has come as close as anyone the last few years, falling by only two points to Clinton in 2012 and scoring 30 in a 24-point loss last fall. The Bobcats have tied last season’s win total and guaranteed a fourth straight playoff berth, and have nothing to hold back in this league finale.
Others that caught my eye: Jackson (6-2) at Jackson Lumen Christi (6-2), Homer (7-1) at Manchester (7-1), Lansing Catholic (7-1) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (8-0), Dexter (0-8) at Parma Western (5-3).
St. Joseph (7-1) at Portage Central (8-0)
For the second time in three seasons, the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West title will come down to this matchup. Portage Central already owns a share, but St. Joseph can snag one as well if it can end a three-game losing streak to the Mustangs. They almost ended it last season, falling to Portage Central 21-14 in the regular-season finale. The Mustangs know how to finish those games though; they’ve won two by seven or fewer points this fall.
Others that caught my eye: Portage Northern (4-4) at Benton Harbor (4-4), Delton Kellogg (5-3) at Schoolcraft (8-0), Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (5-3) at Mendon (5-3), Buchanan (8-0) at Niles Brandywine (5-3).
Crystal Falls Forest Park (5-2) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (8-0)
This has turned into a season of good-byes at least a little for Forest Park since the announcement a few weeks ago that it would move to 8-player in 2015. The Trojans have rallied to split the Mid-Eastern Conference title and make the playoffs for the 19th straight season, and can deal a massive blow to rival Lake Linden-Hubbell by extending a five-game winning streak over the Lakes, who haven’t had a game closer than 12 points this season.
Others that caught my eye: Negaunee (6-2) at Ishpeming Westwood (5-3), Escanaba (4-4) at Kingsford (6-2), L'Anse (5-3) at Munising (6-2), Menominee (8-0) at Marquette (3-4).
Hudsonville (6-2) at Rockford (5-3)
Not only is the Ottawa-Kent Conference Red title on the line – four teams are tied for first, guaranteeing there will be multiple champions – but Rockford needs a victory to continue a 20-season playoff streak, the third-longest in MHSAA history and active leader. These rivals have split their last four meetings – Rockford winning during the regular season and Hudsonville in playoff rematches the last two years.
Others that caught my eye: Grandville (5-3) at East Kentwood (6-2), Lowell (7-1) at Grand Rapids Christian (5-3), McBain (6-2) at Reed City (8-0), Ada Forest Hills Eastern (8-0) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (6-2).
Battle Creek St. Philip (8-0) at Lawrence (7-1)
St. Philip is a combined 34-7 over the last four seasons, but Lawrence has been an obstacle since the latter went to 8-player football in 2013. St. Philip won their first meeting, 54-50, but Lawrence has won the last three and ended St. Phil’s last two seasons in Regional Finals. Lawrence has continued to roll despite graduating a strong nucleus from last season’s MHSAA championship-winning team. It hasn’t lost in-state in two years, with this season’s defeat to reigning Wisconsin champion Prairie Farm two weeks ago.
Others that caught my eye: Pickford (5-3) at Onaway (5-3), Morrice (7-1) at Portland St. Patrick (6-2).
PHOTO: Detroit Collegiate Prep, in red, and enjoying its best season since 2007 (as Detroit Northwestern), will face Detroit Central Collegiate in the Public School League Division II championship game at Ford Field. (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:
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.)