Ruddy, Whiteford Run Into Record Book with Championship Rushing Attack

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

August 25, 2023

Ottawa Lake Whiteford won its second Finals championship in 2022 with a power rushing attack that’s become expected of the program, but also with a record-setting quarterback leading the way.

Senior Shea Ruddy was added to the MHSAA record book for 4,461 yards and 52 touchdowns passing over four seasons, plus five touchdown passes in a half last season against Kalamazoo Loy Norrix.

Whiteford, meanwhile, made the record book for 664 points scored, 5,756 total yards and 87 total touchdowns, 4,515 rushing yards, 635 rushing attempts and 68 rushing scores. Whiteford’s 2021 team also was added for 64 rushing touchdowns, 5,468 total yards and 628 points after a Semifinal run. Ruddy is playing now at Hillsdale College.

See below for more recent updates to the 11-player record book.

11-Player Football

Portland lost a 39-34 heartbreaker to DeWitt on Sept. 1, 2022, but a pair of Raiders top a record book list for one of the game’s biggest highlights. Marc Nobis found receiver Chris Battley for a 99-yard touchdown reception, tying the record for longest scoring pass. Nobis was a senior, and Battley was a sophomore.

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek senior Quentin Ubaydi earned a record book listing for a flawless kicking performance last Aug. 25. He made all 10 of his extra-point tries in his team’s 70-0 win over Detroit Mumford.

The list of football programs with at least 500 wins over their histories is short – but growing. St. Joseph was added with a 563-376-34 record dating to its first season in 1913. The Bears also were added for 706 total yards in their Sept. 30, 2022, game against Portage Northern, a 62-49 win.

Walled Lake Western’s Jaxon Lippert became the 21st player to return a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown when he did so against Davison on Sept. 30, 2022. Lippert is a senior this fall.

Kalamazoo Loy Norrix was part of one of the highest-scoring games of the 2021 season, and a pair of then-senior standouts earned individual record listings that day. Quarterback Tyler Roberts threw for 424 yards, and received Kevin Lucas had 223 yards and four touchdowns through the air, although Whiteford prevailed 76-40. Roberts is playing football and baseball at Hope College, and Lucas is playing football at Albion College.

Four decades later, Flint Kearsley standout John Yancer had been added for his 19 sacks over nine games in 1983, including five in the season finale against Flushing. Yancer was a senior that fall.

Holton quarterback Austin Fowler capped his high school career in a big way as a senior in 2021, making the record book seven times for passing – most notably for 2,265 yards, 153 completions and 33 touchdown tosses over nine games. He threw for 463 yards on 32 completions as Holton and Muskegon Heights Academy combined for 108 points that Oct. 30. He’s played baseball at Muskegon Community College this spring.

Tarik Ahmetbasic finished his high school career in 2022 having made 48 straight extra points dating back to the final game of his junior season, and he made the record book three times total for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. He was added also for 87 extra points over 90 attempts over two seasons as the team’s point-after kicker, and for making all nine of his field goal attempts last fall. Ahmetbasic also just missed the career field goals list with 16 in 18 attempts, having kicked all 16 over the last two seasons after attempting one as a sophomore. He is continuing at Michigan State.

Boyne City seniors Jack Neer and Alex Calcaterra didn’t take long to make memories last season. Both made the record book in an opening 51-35 win over Benzie Central, Neer with seven touchdown passes (tied for eighth-most in a game) and Calcaterra catching five of those (tied for third). Neer signed with Hillsdale College, and Calcaterra is playing basketball at Michigan Tech.

Hudson’s 43-0 win over Blissfield on Oct. 8, 2021, was memorable for a few reasons. But arguably the most notable was achieved by the Tigers’ defense, which held Blissfield without a first down.

Mio’s Grant Price earned two listings over a month near the end of the 2010 season, rushing for six touchdowns in a win over Au Gres-Sims on Oct. 8 and then six again in a win over Cedarville that Nov. 5. He was a junior that season.

Mason set a school record for wins in finishing 12-1 last fall, and expectations are high again with junior Cason Carswell and senior Derek Badgley among returnees this season. Carswell was added to the record book three times including for 2,403 yards and 34 passing touchdowns, and Badgley was added for catching four of Carswell’s six touchdown passes in a Regional Final win over Trenton. Sophomore Collin Winters also was added after connecting on 58 of 62 extra-point tries, and the Bulldogs as a whole made the season scoring list with 554 points.

Senior Charlie Martyn joined a group of accomplished Ithaca kickers with his achievements over the last three seasons, earning record book entries for nine straight extra points in a game last fall, 53 extra points in 57 tries total over 11 games and 82 extra points in 95 tries over a three-year career with nearly all of those points coming as a junior and senior. He will next play baseball at Alma College. Ithaca also was added for holding St. Louis to only three first downs during their 2022 meeting.

A pair of Coopersville standouts capped their careers last fall with multiple entries in the record book. Four-year varsity quarterback Colton Bosch was added for 329 completions, 572 attempts and 4,574 passing yards, while three-year receiver Ryan Serba was added for 129 receptions and 1,975 yards for his career. Additionally, then-junior teammate Nick Gordon was added for 14 receptions in a game against Hudsonville Unity Christian on Sept. 9 and four touchdowns against Allendale on Oct. 7. Bosch will continue his career at Concordia-Chicago.

Semaj Morgan capped a magnificent three-season career at West Bloomfield last fall with four record book entries, most notably for his receiving. Morgan was added for 116 receptions and 1,876 yards over 34 career games, including 1,015 yards as a junior in 2021. He also earned a listing for a 100-yard interception return against Lake Orion last Sept. 24. He is continuing his career at Michigan.

Brandon Soltis completed his DeWitt football career in the fall with the career-record 207 extra points over his 47 games and four seasons – 46 more than the previous record holder. He drilled 55 of 57 tries last season to move to the top of the list, including a stretch of 38 consecutive. Teammate Bryce Kurncz was added for his 23 touchdown catches over 21 games and two seasons, and DeWitt as a team was added for 623 yards in a game against Grand Ledge, 5,056 yards over its 12 games for the season and for allowing only four first downs in its season-opening win over Haslett. Soltis is continuing at Hope College, and Kurncz is playing at Michigan Tech.

M'Khi Guy became the latest Muskegon star quarterback to reach the record book, doing so with six rushing touchdowns in his team’s 49-21 Division 3 Semifinal win over DeWitt on Nov. 19. Guy is a senior this fall.

A trio of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice standouts were added for accomplishments last season or over careers that finished in 2022. Senior Henry Garrity made the single-game receiving yardage list with 225 against Warren De La Salle Collegiate on Sept. 16, and senior Griffin Pardi made the longest-punt list that game with a 72-yarder. Senior Owen Pardi finished his three-season varsity career last fall with 85 extra points in 95 tries. Jake Coulter also was added to the longest-punt list for his 71-yarder in 2020. Garrity is continuing at Notre Dame, and Owen Pardi is continuing at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. Coulter plays baseball at Central Michigan.

Belleville kicker Brayden Lane made the single-season extra point list for the second time last season, connecting on 74 of 79 attempts. He’s also now on the career list with 126 in 144 attempts heading into his junior season this fall.

Edwardsburg continued to achieve among the state’s highest-producing offenses the last two seasons, ranking among the all-time leaders with 5,227 total yards, 4,634 rushing, and 89 total touchdowns with 78 rushing in 2021, plus 4,343 rushing yards in 2022. Trevor Houseworth was a senior on the 2021 team and made individual lists with 73 extra points in 79 attempts and a long punt of 81 yards. He’s kicking at Saginaw Valley State.

Reed City continued its run of success in 2022, finishing 11-2 and making the MHSAA record book with 544 points total including 73 touchdowns – with 54 rushing, 13 passing, four on special teams and two scored while playing defense.

PHOTO Ottawa Lake Whiteford quarterback Shea Ruddy takes a snap to start an eventual touchdown run during last season’s Division 8 Final at Ford Field.

Record-Setting Viney Gained Lifelong Confidence at Marine City

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

July 17, 2024

Olivia Viney didn’t have to look far for inspiration while taking on the challenge of applying to veterinary school.

Made In Michigan and Michigan Army National Guard logosThe 2015 Marine City graduate and record-setting placekicker simply drew from her own experience as a high school athlete.

“It just really taught me that I could do hard things,” Viney said. “I was very involved when I was in school. I did soccer, theater, travel soccer and then football. Especially with football, I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do it. That helped me to excel in undergrad. When it came time to get accepted to vet school, it was like, ‘This is what I have to do,’ and I did it. That was very confidence-building. It taught me that I really can do hard things.”

Viney, who graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2019 and Michigan State Veterinary School in 2023, is now working as an associate veterinarian at Deporre Veterinary Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Accomplishing her goals is nothing new to Viney, and not at all a surprise to those who watched her come through the Mariners athletic program.

“She was very serious, she was focused and she was dialed in,” said Dave Frendt, who coached Viney in both football and soccer at Marine City. “She knew what she wanted to accomplish, and she set out to do that. She was a fierce competitor and very driven. She was a good leader in that way where she was kind of feisty, but the team would follow that.”

Viney was an all-state soccer player for the Mariners, leading them to a pair of District titles and a Macomb Area Conference Gold title during her four years as a varsity player. It’s the sport she grew up playing, but the one she was most known for after graduation was football. American football.

The 5-foot-1-ish center attacking midfielder found herself in the MHSAA football record book after hitting all seven of her extra point attempts in the Mariners’ 2013 Division 4 Final victory against Grand Rapids South Christian.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “There were lots of great soccer players, even that I played with. Great players that had gone through school, so I don’t think it’s weird that people remember me for that. When I talk with people, they’ll connect the dots – ‘Oh, you played football.’

“I was more accomplished as a soccer player and had more accolades. But I’m prouder of my football accomplishments, because it was really setting a pathway for girls that wanted to get into that. It’s so much more common now, or accepted. Even though it’s been almost 11 years since we won at Ford Field, I’m so proud of high school Olivia and what she did, the courage she had. She wasn’t scared of anything.”

Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. Viney joined Marine City’s football program as a sophomore, playing on the junior varsity squad. While she was there only to kick, she was all in when it came to practicing.

“Coach (Joe) Fregetto made me do tackling drills and drills in the mud – I really did earn my spot on the team,” Viney said. “I think it was mostly because he didn’t know what to do with me, so I guess just do everything that the guys do.”

She handled varsity kicking duties the next two years, setting the school record in 2013 for most extra points made during a single season – a record that still stands. Former Mariners coach Ron Glodich said that Viney actually never missed an extra point that season, as the four failed attempts were never even kicked.

It was her performance in the Division 4 Final that gained her statewide acclaim, as she hit 7 of 7 attempts, tying a record for most extra points made in a Finals game. It stood until a pair of kickers hit eight in 2022.

One record that never will be broken, however, is Viney becoming the first female to score a point at the Finals.

“Everything was so surreal, I was so nervous,” Viney said. “One of my most vivid memories was that day, or maybe the day before, Coach Glodich said, ‘Just so you know, when you get to the field, the goal posts are two feet narrower on each side. But that doesn’t matter if you kick it in the middle.’

“We got there and watched the team before us so we could get used to it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so narrow.’ … Seeing myself up on the big screen was kind of almost a little embarrassing, because I knew people were talking about me being the girl. But once we were in the game, it was a lot like any other game. I was just waiting for my turn to go on the field and do my job.”

Viney later was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” – ironically, right below current U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh – but she wasn’t looked at any differently by her teammates, and she wouldn’t have wanted to be.

“That team was all about sacrifice for the team,” Frendt said. “For them to realize, ‘None of us can do what she does, so we better embrace it, because no one else can do it.’ They really made her feel like part of the team. They wanted to protect her, too. But she was tough. She wasn’t going to take anything.”

Viney went to SVSU to study biology and played for its club soccer team. During her time there, she volunteered at an animal shelter and made the decision she wanted to help animals in her career. She works in general practice at Deporre, and would eventually like to work in shelter medicine.

She and her husband Matt, who were married in May, live with their three dogs. She’s not far from home, and in the spring of 2023 she visited Frendt’s college and career readiness class to speak with students at her alma mater. Her presentation and the attention to detail and hard work she put into it, Frendt said, blew his students away. Not that it surprised him.

“That’s poured into her life after sports,” he said of her work ethic. “She just kept plugging away. She’s awesome.”

2024 Made In Michigan

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PHOTOS (Top) Marine City’s Olivia Viney kicks at the 2013 11-Player Football Finals, also during her spring soccer season, and cares for one of her patients as an associate veterinarian. (Middle) Viney graduated from MSU’s Veterinary School in 2023. (Photos courtesy of Olivia Viney.)