Record Runner Helps Revive Manistique
By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com
November 6, 2019
MANISTIQUE – Schyler Andersen had no idea what he had just accomplished.
The senior running back may have known he rushed for 126 yards in Manistique's 54-21 loss in the regular-season finale at Lake Linden-Hubbell on Oct. 26.
What he didn't know right away is he had set the school's single-season rushing record at 1,491 yards, topping the previous-best by the late Ron Rubick (1,388) in 1959.
"I wasn't sure what the record was at the time," said Andersen, who also finished this season with 22 touchdowns for the 3-6 Emeralds. "When I found out later on, I was real happy about that. I'm very grateful for all the opportunities I had. The most satisfying part is we won some games."
Rubick, an Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame member who went on to play at Michigan State University, set a U.P. scoring record as a senior with 29 TDs and 183 points on 103 carries for a 13.5-yard per carry average.
Andersen ran 233 times this season for a 6.4-yard average and was 26-of-62 passing for 409 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. He was a media All-U.P. Dream Team selection at running back and Offensive Player of the Year in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference’s Iron Division.
"It's sad that I didn't get to meet Ron," said Andersen. "I would have liked to have gotten to know him. Obviously, I didn't know this was going to happen. Just having my name next to Ron Rubick is a real big honor. My teammates and coaches deserve all the credit. I couldn't have done this without them."
Manistique had fallen on hard times prior to this season, finishing 1-8 in three straight (2013-15), 0-9 in both 2016 and 2017 and playing just two games last year before cancelling the remainder of the season.
Then on Sept. 6, the Emeralds defeated Gwinn 28-8 for their first home victory since 2012.
"That got the ball rolling for us," said Andersen. "We gained more confidence as the season went on. There was definitely a sense of relief after we won that game. The explosion (of fans) after the game was unbelievable. We played better here than anywhere else. All of our wins happened on our home field. Without the support of our hometown crowd, our season wouldn't have been what it was. I don't think our record shows how successful we really were."
Manistique also topped Munising 29-7 for Homecoming on Oct. 4 and Norway 19-14 on Oct. 18.
"A lot of teams looked down on us," said Andersen. "The Norway game was kind of a statement win, and our loss to Negaunee (24-22 on Sept. 20) was a little controversial in the end. We had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter against Negaunee and were pretty disappointed we didn't win, but I think we did a pretty good job overcoming that. I don't think our confidence ever really went down."
Andersen believes having more players made a significant difference for the Emeralds this year.
"This was the first season in a while in which we had more than 20 players," he said. "We had good depth to go to in case of injuries or sickness. We had a lot of young players. I think this is a step in the right direction."
Andersen, who plans to major in journalism after high school, hopes to continue playing football in college as well.
"Writing is one of my favorite things to do," he said. "Football is my favorite game for sure. It was great to see the other guys so happy this year, and I was happy to be part of it. I'm looking into playing at Northern or Central (Michigan University)."
John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
PHOTOS: Manistique's Schyler Andersen breaks through the line during a Sept. 6 win over Gwinn. (Middle) Andersen finds an opening during his school record-setting rush Oct. 26 against Lake Linden-Hubbell. (Photos courtesy of Faith Andersen.)
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 27, 2023
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.
The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.
Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.
“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”
Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.
All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.
MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.
“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”
The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.