Playmakers Make Way for GRCC Repeat

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

January 23, 2021

DETROIT – Frankenmuth came into Saturday’s Division 5 Football Final with staggering defensive numbers. 

The Eagles had held opponents to 6.8 points and 27 yards rushing per game, and 1.1 yards per carry. Just three opponents had scored in double digits, and Frankenmuth had won each of those games comfortably. 

Grand Rapids Catholic Central was well aware of those numbers – so much so that coach Todd Kolster recited them off the top of his head after the game. But the Cougars were also aware of the playmakers they had on offense, and the opportunities they would have to make plays. 

Behind a six-touchdown performance from junior quarterback Joey Silveri, Catholic Central did just that, claiming a 48-21 victory against the Eagles at Ford Field. It’s the second-straight title for the Cougars, and fourth in five years. The previous three came in Division 4. 

“They are a great defense; they don’t give up a lot of rush yards,” Silveri said. “We knew going into this game that we were going to have to win our matchups one on one to make some big plays, and I was very confident in our guys.” 

It was the second-straight year that Silveri accounted for six touchdowns in the Finals, as he did the same against Detroit Country Day in 2019. On Saturday, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more. He finished the night with 172 yards on 9 of 15 passing, and 104 yards on the ground. 

“I love playing in big games,” Silveri said. “It’s what you play for; it’s a lot of fun. All the preparation we did through this week, it all paid off. When you play a defense that’s basically man-on-man coverage, they bring a lot of pressure, it leaves a lot of chances for big plays, and we took advantage of that tonight.” 

Silveri and the Cougars (11-0) wasted little time spreading the field and putting their athletes in space to keep Frankenmuth’s aggressive defense off balance. He hit senior running back Nick Hollern for a 30-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, and each of the first two drives ended with touchdown passes to the Cougars’ Division I-bound receivers – an 11-yard pass to junior tight end Nolan Ziegler (Notre Dame) and a 13-yard pass to senior receiver Jace Williams (Miami of Ohio). 

The Cougars built a 28-7 lead by the half and went up 35-7 early in the third quarter. 

“I thought our guys really came out aggressive, and that was the big thing for us,” Kolster said. “We knew they were a heck of a football team, they’re very physical, they play hard, so we had to be able to match that intensity and get some matchups early. We were able to do that, and we were able to continue to go.” 

The hill was too high to climb for Frankenmuth (11-1), which was making its first Finals appearance. The Eagles have been a near-constant playoff presence, making it in each of the past 10 years and qualifying for seven Semifinals since 1987. This year’s group was able to take a big step, even if it wasn’t the final one.  

“Today, leaving town was amazing,” Frankenmuth coach Phil Martin said. “Our community rallied around this team. It was a sendoff like no other. I want to say it was probably close to 14 miles long with people lined up showing support for this team. The community was outstanding. They stepped up and supported us for this state championship with contributions for buses and meals. It’s just been awesome.” 

While Frankenmuth finally broke through this season, Grand Rapids Catholic Central has entered elite territory, with five titles since 2010 and its recent dominant stretch. With key players like Silveri and Ziegler coming back, it might not be over – although Silveri wasn’t quite ready to think beyond Saturday’s accomplishment.  

“I’m just trying to enjoy tonight – enjoy the win,” he said. “We’ll worry about next season when we get there, and hopefully we’ll win another one.” 

Ziegler had a pair of touchdown catches on the night, adding a 35-yarder early in the second quarter. Silveri’s rushing touchdowns came on runs of two, one and 12 yards. Hollern, who had 192 yards rushing, added a one-yard touchdown. Ziegler and Dan Mikolay each had seven tackles to lead the Catholic Central defense. 

Daniel Barger, Davin Reif and Konnor Roche had touchdown runs of four, seven and four yards, respectively, for the Eagles. Cole Lindow led the team with 99 yards rushing, while Reif had 85. Ben Reinert led the Frankenmuth defense with 12 tackles, while Dalton DeBeau had eight.  

Barger’s touchdown was set up by an Ashton Benkert fumble recovery, with the ball sprung loose by Ethan Jacobs. That made the score 14-7 late in the first quarter, but Catholic Central scored the game’s next 21 points to pull away. 

“I can’t ask any more of our kids; they came out and fought hard,” Martin said. “We got a little behind early. Field position kind of put us in a bind, and we didn’t convert a couple first downs early, and they were able to take advantage of that field position. We made a couple pretty good adjustments at half, but it just wasn’t enough.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Joey Silveri (6) makes a move upfield as Michael Carter gives chase. (Middle) Frankenmuth quarterback Davin Reif (4) unloads a pass as GRCC’s Ryan Beggs (59) works to break free of Zach Adkins’ block. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.