Lawton's Rueff Caps Career Among State's All-Time Leading Rushers, Scorers
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
April 28, 2023
Lawton’s run to the 2021 Division 7 championship game frequently came on the legs of then-senior Jake Rueff, who posted some of the top performances in MHSAA football history.
He scored 298 points – fifth-most in 11-player history – with his 49 total touchdowns ranking fourth and his 46 rushing touchdowns third. He also made records lists with 2,370 rushing yards, 71 career touchdowns and 430 career points.
Lawton as a team scored 92 touchdowns, tying the record with 10 in one game, gained 5,662 yards of total offense and ran for 4,725 yards over 14 games.
Rueff plays at Michigan Tech.
See below for more recent additions to the 11-player football record book:
Aiden Brunin stacked up many contributions on both sides of the field for Cedar Springs in 2021. But his less frequently-mentioned punting earned the senior a spot in the record book as he booted an 83-yard punt during a Nov. 6 playoff win over Muskegon that ranks as the fourth-longest in state history. The kick flew 62 yards in the air before taking a series of bounces and rolls. Brunin currently is a freshman baseball player at Spring Arbor.
Sturgis’ Jacob Thompson became the 10th to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in one game as a junior in 2021, scoring from 97 and 83 yards out against Paw Paw. Thompson also was added to the records for six rushing touchdowns in a Sept. 9, 2022, win over Plainwell – and he also threw for a score in the 55-34 victory.
Twenty years later, Coleman’s Joshua Moore has been added for a pair of interception returns for touchdowns Oct. 11, 2002, against Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. Moore was a senior that season and scored off those turnovers during the third and fourth quarters.
Nearly a decade later, Cheboygan’s Ben Pearson also was added to the record book for a 99-yard rushing touchdown that tied the record for longest run. Pearson took the handoff deep in his own end zone and scored against Gaylord on Aug. 29, 2013. Pearson, a senior that season, went on to play at Northwood.
A trio of past Grand Ledge standouts have been entered for their achievements going back decades. Mitch Gulker made the record book for 1,002 receiving yards as a senior in 1976. Nick Kissane was added for his 170 completions, 297 pass attempts, 2,452 yards and 29 touchdowns through the air in 2008. Corey Arnouts made the tackles for loss list with 28 as a senior in 2011. Grand Ledge’s Division 1 championship run in 2000 came in part on the arm of Matt Bohnet, and he’s been added for his 2,052 yards passing that season. He went on to play at Iowa and Eastern Michigan. Arnouts went on to play at Ferris State, and Kissane went on to play baseball at Aquinas College.
Justin Brown had multiple returns for touchdowns as a junior at East Lansing in 2018, including a 99-yarder on Sept. 14. That kickoff return tied the record for longest on a list that now stands at 20 players.
Carson Roose earned his 10th record book listing when he threw for five touchdowns during the first half of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s 58-22 win over New Haven on Oct. 22, 2021. Roose graduated last spring.
Frankenmuth’s run to the Division 6 championship game in the fall saw the Eagles make team record book lists with 544 points and 72 touchdowns over 14 games, featuring as well a kicker who will bring an impressive extra point streak into the upcoming season. Junior Will Soulliere made 69 of 70 extra-point tries and has connected on 61 straight as he prepares for his senior season. Additionally, the Eagles’ defense was added after not allowing a first down during its Semifinal win over Detroit Country Day. Sam Barger was added for a 98-yard kickoff return in 2021, and Ryan Brenner was added for 45 extra points during the abbreviated 2020 season. Barger also is a senior this school year.
West Bloomfield’s run to the 2021 Regional Final was fueled in part by a tough defense, including a pair of pass rushers who rank among the all-time leaders in single-season sacks. Michael Williams II recorded 24 that fall, tied for fourth-most for one season, while Brandon Davis-Swain tied for 12th with 18. Williams, a senior that fall, plays for South Florida, while Davis-Swain is finishing his junior year at West Bloomfield.
PHOTO Lawton’s Jake Rueff (22) breaks into the open during his team’s Division 7 Final matchup with Pewamo-Westphalia in 2021.
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.)