Scoring Record Falls, North Central Soars

January 16, 2021

By Tim Robinson
Special for Second Half

BRIGHTON – It's not often when a pair of defensive plays are key in a 70-48 decision.

But that's the way it went for Powers North Central, which beat Portland St. Patrick by that score in the 8-Player Division 2 championship game at the Legacy Center.

The North Central Jets (11-0), who won their third MHSAA Finals championship, sacked St. Patrick quarterback Connor Cross seven times. But he completed 25 of 38 passes for 374 yards and six touchdowns.

"My hat's off to Portland St. Patrick," North Central coach Leo Gorzinski said. "They tested our kids like no one has this season."

The Jets were led by Luke Gorzinski, who rushed for 299 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 156 yards and three more scores. 

"I was on the team last year, when we lost in the Final," he said. "It was a heartbreaking loss, but this is the top of the world."

Wyatt Raab rushed for a pair of touchdowns and caught two passes for scores. He also sacked Cross in the end zone for a safety that gave the Jets a 10-0 lead after the first quarter. 

But the Shamrocks (10-1) then got going, scoring 22 points in the second quarter, only to see the Jets add 24 to take a 34-22 halftime lead. 

While the game would go on to set multiple 8-Player Finals scoring records, including for most points scored by both teams combined, the aforementioned pair of defensive plays helped North Central pull away during the third quarter.

The Jets thwarted the Shamrocks on the first drive of the second half, when Luke Klieman intercepted a pass at the Jets’ 40. After the teams exchanged touchdowns, North Central forced St. Patrick to turn the ball over on downs. Raab then scored two plays later from 28 yards out to effectively put the game out of reach.

The Jets’ defense, which allowed St. Patrick 404 yards in total offense, allowed only 31 on the ground, most of them after the game was out of reach, and stopped the Shamrocks on four attempted two-point conversions. 

Both teams were without starters due to the coronavirus or contact tracing.

"We were missing some key players," Luke Gorzinski said. "But their replacements stepped up. We had freshmen and sophomores out there, and they were awesome."

North Central racked up 579 yards in scoring 70 or more points for the fifth time this season.

The Shamrocks, to their credit, kept after the Jets to the end.

"That's the way we've played all year, through the shutdown and everything" St. Patrick coach Patrick Russman said. "They want to play and have fun, and that's what they wanted people to see. That's their character."

Shane Cook had 13 catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns for the Shamrocks.

But a North Central team that had several starters and their defensive coordinator at home had enough to take the championship trophy home to the Upper Peninsula, thrilling the 100 or so fans who made the long drive.

"It was fun to play in the (Superior) Dome last week," Raab said, referring to the Jets' Semifinal win over Cedarville, "but it felt weird with no fans. To have our families here to watch meant a lot."

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) North Central’s Wyatt Raab celebrates a defensive stop during Saturday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) Portland St. Patrick’s Jacobe Hayes-Dunning works to get out of the grasp of a pair of Jets defenders. (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.