Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.)

Missed Junior Season Can't Keep Mercy's Smith from All-Time Greatness

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 18, 2023

Despite the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19, Jillian Smith finished her Farmington Hills Mercy career in 2021 with 49 record book listings – and one of the most accomplished careers in MHSAA girls lacrosse history.

Despite not playing a junior season, Smith tallied 340 goals – third-most all-time – and 423 points, good for sixth all-time on that career list. She had 119 goals and 157 total points over 17 games as a senior, and did set the single-game points record with 21 against Canton that spring.

Smith is continuing to star at Michigan.

See below for more recent record book additions for girls lacrosse:

Girls Lacrosse

Grandville’s Madeline Kreiger was added to the single-game goals list twice last spring, both times for seven goals. The then-sophomore scored seven in her team’s 24-5 win over Lowell on April 18, 2022, and then seven again in a 20-6 win over Jenison on April 25.

A trio of Hartland standouts earned record book listings for their accomplishments in 2022. Then-junior Ava Gilardone was added twice for seven goals in a game and for 69 goals and 87 points for the season. Madeline Turcotte, also a junior last spring, was added for eight goals in a game, five assists in another, and 59 goals, 44 assists and 103 points for the season. Senior Tessa Chuba was added for seven goals in a game twice, 83 goals and 104 points for the season and also 50 goals in 2021. Senior Rebecca Schaller was added for a 2021 junior-year achievement, when she posted 188 saves, good to tie for eighth all-time.

Bloomfield Hills now-junior Ella Lucia earned five record book entries during the 2022 season, including for six goals and 12 total points in a June 1 game against Birmingham United. She also made the single-game assists list with five in an April 11 game against Clarkston, the single-season goals list with 50 and the single-season points list with 89 over 20 games. Now-senior teammate Ilana Watson also was added for five assists in a game twice, and now-junior goalie Sydney Butler made the single-season saves list with 165 across 21 games.

Several standouts helped Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central reach the Division 2 Regional Finals last spring, including four who made the record book. Now-senior Gabby Hendricks had 111 points and earned seven listings total including for 69 goals and 42 assists. Also now a senior, Shannon Murphy earned six entries including for 68 goals and 101 points, and Julia Brown earned three entries including for 78 goals and 92 points in her final season. Another senior this school year, goalie Tori Bates, was added for her 18 saves in a 21-16 win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Brown is playing at Hope College, Murphy has committed to Marquette University, Hendricks has committed to Jacksonville University, and Bates has committed to George Mason University.

Stella Bottum capped her Caledonia career last spring with four record book entries. She made the single-season goals list with 76 – including eight in one game – and the career goals list with 134 over 48 games and three seasons (due to the cancelation of 2020). She also made the single-season points list with 90. She’s playing at Aquinas College.

Warren Regina’s Holly Watson earned seven record book entries last spring, including for 175 saves over 12 games – which is tied for 13th-most all-time. She had a season-high of 27 against Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett on April 25, which is tied for second most in one game. She’s a senior this school year.

Jenna Allie finished her two-season varsity career at Dearborn Divine Child last spring with her second scoring 68 goals – and she also made the single-season points list with 93 over 19 games. Allie’s 136 career goals also earned a record book entry, and her scoring last season contributed significantly to Divine Child making the team single-season goals list with 274. Additionally, then-senior teammate Sam Stevens was added for 15 goal saves against Bloomfield Hills last May 16. Allie is continuing her career at Siena Heights.

Amanda Granader capped her career last spring by leading Brighton to the Division 1 championship, and she made the MHSAA record book 18 times – including for career goals and points again despite the 2020 season being canceled. She made the single-game goals list several times including with a high of 10 last April 30 against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Her 113 goals last spring rank 10th, and her 118 as a junior are eighth on that list – as are her 259 over three seasons. Granader’s 322 points for her career rank 11th all-time.

Lansing Catholic’s Leah Reid is cruising into the elite of scoring all-time in this sport, and entered this season with nine record-book entries. She had at least seven goals in a game six times and finished last season with 89 goals over 20 games. She also made the single-season points list with 106 total as a junior.

PHOTO Farmington Hills Mercy's Jillian Smith directs the attack during her team's 2021 Semifinal against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. (Photo courtesy of Detroit News.)