History-Making Huskies Reverse Course

October 12, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Breckenridge football coach Kris Robinson is doing his best to remain guarded despite his team’s history-making run to begin this season.

But the signs something special is playing out in his community are impossible to miss.

Like the multiple TV crews that came to practice Tuesday, one from WJRT, a local channel that still is based more than 60 miles away in Flint. The second crew, from Fox Sports Detroit, was putting together a feature for its statewide audience.

And they are just the latest to take note of the undefeated Huskies, who are 7-0 and clinched their first league championship Friday since 1946 after finishing 0-9 last season.

“The atmosphere here Friday night against Merrill was ridiculous. Our student section, the outpouring has been pretty awesome,” Robinson said. “I was always told – our AD Ryan Sklener played basketball here in the (19)80s and he said when our team was good, they would line up four deep around the basketball court. He said that would happen (for football). I was waiting for it. It didn’t happen when we went 5-4, so I’ve been anxious to see it happen. And it sure has.”

The Breckenridge football team is the first Applebee’s statewide Team of the Month for the 2016-17 school year.

The Huskies have the opportunity to become the first Michigan team in the playoff era (beginning in 1975) to follow an 0-9 finish with a 9-0 regular season – not counting Bellaire, which went 0-9 in 11-player in 2010 but then 9-0 in 8-player the following fall. Even if Breckenridge falls short on that goal, it has guaranteed it will become just the eighth team since 1975 to come back from a winless season to make the playoffs the following year.

A “perfect storm” is how Robinson describes how his team has gone undefeated heading into this week’s matchup with Vestaburg. But truly, a number of pieces have fallen into place to help the Huskies make history – with more opportunities to do so on the way.

Robinson is in his fourth year as coach, having taken over a program in 2013 that went 1-8 the year before and hadn’t made the playoffs since 1993 before qualifying this season with a 38-0 win over Carson City-Crystal on Sept. 30.

His first team finished 2-7, and the Huskies improved to 5-4 in 2014. But they felt all the way back to square one last fall with only three seniors on the team and freshmen at quarterback and running back. Breckenridge scored 68 points over nine games and lost all of them by at least 21.

But things were about to change – and quickly.

“They were ticked off, especially that (current) sophomore group,” said Robinson, who previously coached wrestling at the school and as a football assistant at Farwell and Roscommon. “They’ve won at every level, and for them to come out last year and not win a game, there were some moments last year that were really tough on them.”

First, Breckenridge – a Class C school with 235 students – is enjoying a roster of 28 players after finishing last fall with only 12. With that jump in numbers has come the opportunity to fit players at their best-possible positions, and at least half on both sides of the ball are playing only one way. Although this team will graduate 14 seniors, another solid group is waiting that is 4-1 at the junior varsity level with only a two-point loss to Fowler. Of 110 boys in the school, 50 are playing football.

Many also put in the time during the offseason. Robinson credits commitment to the weight room for a lot of this team’s turnaround as well, pointing to players like sophomore Lukas Ebright, who was a good JV player last season but added 25 pounds and increased his vertical jump to 32 inches during the offseason to line up this fall as a 5-foot-5, 155-pound cornerback.

It's also helped greatly that those freshmen playmakers from a year ago have become leading sophomores. Quarterback Carter Staley had run for 773 yards and 10 touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes for 711 yards and 12 scores heading into last week’s Merrill game. Including that 12-0 win over the Vandals, Hunter Collins has run for 762 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging more than nine yards per carry. (Click to watch the replay of Breckenridge vs. Merrill on MHSAA.tv.)

In front of them is an offensive line that averages 240 pounds, sizable for sure relative to the size of their school. It’s also been brought up that Breckenridge moved to a league this fall – the Mid-State Activities Conference – that is a better fit, as the Huskies have the third highest enrollment among eight schools in the league compared to when they were the third-smallest of eight schools in the Tri-Valley Conference West in 2015. But that doesn't mean the MSAC is some easy run; Breckenridge included, five of eight teams are 4-3 or better, and four teams are tied for second place in the league at 4-2 in conference games.

The Huskies can clinch the title outright Friday, which would represent another accomplishment – Breckenridge hasn’t won an outright conference championship since 1941. 

Trophies celebrating those long-ago league championship seasons are among five total owned by the school – with two others a cup from 1917 and a 1931 trophy with a player kicking a football, except all that’s left is the foot. But that will change shortly, as well.

“We broke the season scoring record in Week 6, and they knew we broke the season scoring record and actually asked me that night if we’ve broken the record for breaking the most records yet,” Robinson said. “So they get it.

“But I don’t think they understand the gravity of the situation. This is older than their grandparents.”

PHOTOS: (Top) A pair of Breckenridge defenders wrap up a Merrill ball carrier during Friday’s 12-0 league title-clinching win. (Middle) Huskies coach Kris Robinson (left) speaks with quarterback Carter Staley. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.