Hornets Prevail in Record-Setting Final
November 24, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
DETROIT – Clint Galvas didn’t need to tell Avery Moore what his junior quarterback already knew.
In fact, the New Lothrop coach didn’t necessarily want Moore to try to match Madison Heights Madison senior signal-caller Austin Brown on Saturday. Moore just needed to stay within himself, play his game, if the Hornets were to have their best shot at winning the Division 7 championship.
But Galvas also knew better. “He’s a 16-year-old kid who wants to go out there and outplay every kid,” the coach admitted, not long after the Hornets clinched a title seemingly years in the making.
Moore vs. Brown? Let’s call it a draw. But New Lothrop finished with the final edge in a record-breaking championship performance, outlasting Madison 50-44 to claim its first MHSAA football championship since winning Division 8 in 2006.
The combined 94 points broke the previous MHSAA Finals record of 91 set in Belding’s 50-41 Class B win over Detroit Country Day in 1994. Brown and Moore, meanwhile, both made the Finals record book in one or more categories.
“I respect him a lot. He’s a heck of an athlete,” Moore said of his counterpart Brown, who has committed to play collegiate baseball at Marshall University.
“But I knew to get the win I had to play my best game.”
Brown completed 17 of 30 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 105 yards and four scores on 25 carries – his 403 total yards tied for fifth-most in a championship game, and the four rushing TDs tied for third most. Moore threw for 99 yards on 7 of 13 passing and ran for 132 yards and four scores, also making the single-game rushing TD list.
They provided historical highlights to a game already deep with narrative.
New Lothrop (13-1) has lost just two regular-season games over the last nine seasons, but before Saturday’s hadn’t made the Finals since 2006. Three times over that nine-year run, the Hornets were stopped in Semifinals.
One of those regular-season defeats came this fall, 35-14 to Traverse City St. Francis in Week 9. That combined with moving to the first-year Mid-Michigan Activities Conference might have nudged the program that final step back to Detroit.
“Getting in a new league, playing a tougher regular season, definitely made us more battle-tested,” Galvas said. “Going to Traverse City and playing that team – that was a heck of a team that I thought we’d see down here as well. But at the end of the day, coming out of that loss Week 9, it kinda forced us all to take a step back, maybe have a little bit of humble pie because we were feeling good about ourselves.
“So I think that was actually a big thing for us. Since then, we hit another gear, like we can do this.”
And it was a big thing again Saturday morning.
New Lothrop built leads of 22-8 early in the second d quarter and 30-16 going into halftime. But Brown – who entered the game with 2,060 yards and 22 touchdowns passing and 1,831 yards and 33 scores rushing – capped two straight drives with short touchdown runs, and then answered a Moore scoring run early in the fourth quarter with one more to make it 36-36 with 6:38 to play.
“Our whole team is built for it, so in those situations we’re just looking forward to them,” Brown said of the back-and-forth. “But that’s a good team over there. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”
Moore led the Hornets back down the field, capping a nine-play, 66-yard drive with another rush score. And then, amid a battle of quarterbacks, a junior defensive back made one of the biggest plays of the game’s 130.
With Madison facing 3rd-and-12 at its 24-yard line, and trying to match scores again with just more than two minutes to play, New Lothrop junior Dylan Shaydik ripped away what would have been a first-down pass and returned the interception 33 yards. Two plays later, Moore broke through for a 13-yard score to make the advantage 14 point.
Madison added one last touchdown with 29 seconds to play. But off the onside kick, who ended up with the ball? Moore, of course.
“I never thought that we wavered at all,” Galvas said. “It wasn’t like heads hanging. It was like let’s go, let’s get the ball back and get (the lead) back. Just from having the schedule we had, from the games we played throughout the year, we knew we’d been in tight games, been in those games. No big deal, let’s keep playing, and that’s kinda how they handled it.”
Senior Aidan Harrison – who will play next at University of Missouri – added 93 yards and a score on the ground and returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore Will Muron added a rushing score as well.
Senior Tanner Barndollar caught four passes for 102 yards for Madison, while senior Sylvester Whitley caught five for 71 yards and a score and junior Makai Johnson also pulled in a touchdown grab.
Madison (13-1) was making its first Finals appearance since finishing Division 5 runner-up in 2006, and was seeking its first MHSAA football title. The Eagles just missed returning to the Finals last fall, losing by seven to Saugatuck in a Division 7 Semifinal. They are 25-2 over the last two seasons.
“We definitely had a bitter taste in our mouth last year after falling short in the Semifinals,” Madison coach James Rogers said. “These kids have been working super hard in the offseason and the entire season to get to this point today. And I’m glad they got here and got a taste of it. But I’m sure they’ll be calling my phone in December ready to get back after it again.”
New Lothrop’s run included a Regional Final win over two-time reigning champ Pewamo-Westphalia and then a Semifinal victory over previously-unbeaten Lake City. The championship would have been memorable in the small community for a long time on its own.
But the Hornets also were playing in honor of Braden “Buddy” Miller, who had died Oct. 19 at age 9 after a fight with a rare brain cancer. Miller had been best friends with Galvas’ son Jude, and the lime green socks worn by the Hornets on Saturday were in his honor.
“We kinda embraced him as our inspiration, and obviously when he passed it was a big healing process,” Clint Galvas said. “Our football team did a huge service to help heal and continue healing with that loss. We tried the best we could to represent him, obviously with the green socks and those things, but this is really big for the community in that regard as well. … I’m just proud of the way we represented our team and represented Buddy.”
PHOTOS: (Top) New Lothrop quarterback Avery Moore scores one of his four touchdowns Saturday at Ford Field. (Middle) The Hornets’ Dylan Shaydik (10) snags an interception late as his team held off Madison Heights Madison.
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.)