Mekhi Wingfield’s journey to becoming one of the most dynamic football players in all of 8-player football in Michigan began in Detroit and is continuing today at Jackson County’s Concord High School.
Wingfield moved to the Concord area when he was in the sixth grade. He was still two years away from playing football for the first time. Basketball was his thing. And meeting people.
“The first day of school I made friends,” Wingfield said. “I’m one of those guys who like to talk. I’ll go up to anybody and try and talk to them. I like to hear different perspectives in life.”
Wingfield doesn’t need any introduction in 8-player football. Last season, the 6-foot-3 receiver had a record-setting season for the Yellow Jackets, making a name for himself across the state.
In nine games, he had 76 catches for 1,035 yards and 16 touchdowns. He set an 8-player record with 17 receptions in a game and moved to the top or close to the top of the charts in numerous other categories, including career touchdowns (26) and career receptions (139).
Britton Deerfield head coach Erik Johnson saw firsthand what Wingfield can do on the football field.
“He is a very talented football player,” said Johnson, who competes against Concord in the Tri-River 8 Conference. “Last year he almost singlehandedly beat us with big play after big play.
“They run a lot of jet sweep action with him where they toss it to him … but he has the size, speed, and athletic ability to hurt your defense with the short passing game and then just running right by you for the deep ball.”
Johnson has watched Wingfield for a couple of seasons now. This year, BD plays Concord twice.
“In the 8-player game, it is really tough to dedicate two defensive players to one offensive player, but Mekhi's ability almost makes you have to that,” he said.
Wingfield says his best game came against BD.
“There is a small little rivalry with them,” he said. “When they came to our place last year, I had like three touchdowns on them. That was so fun. Best game of my high school career.”
Wingfield’s family moved to south central Michigan to help care for his grandmother, who lived in Albion, when he was about 10. His older siblings went to Marshall, but he enrolled at Concord.
He and his twin sister are the youngest of seven in the family.
He was introduced to football in the eighth grade and played some that season, but not the full year. By his freshman year, his athletic ability blossomed.
“When I got to the ninth grade is when I got into Coach (Max) Clark’s program, and I started being dedicated to football and sports,” Wingfield said. “I got in the weight room and just became a field rat.”
Clark has had an impact on his life, Wingfield noted: “Football with Coach Clark – I can’t say it was always easy, but he’s helped me and guided me and took me under his wing. I had to work for my spot. I was the underdog coming in. I didn’t have football under my belt. I had to learn. I sat back and learned until it was my time to shine.”
Wingfield, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, picked up football rather quickly.
“I used to watch it on TV, but I never played it,” he said. “When I got onto the field, it was like second nature. My coach loved me, so he got me the ball so much. It was just a lot of fun to me.”
Wingfield’s athletic ability is why he touches the ball so much.
“I like to classify myself as a route runner,” he said. “I can run routes, I can get open, I can create space and catch those 50-50 balls. I’m hoping the defensive backs have a long night when they face me.”
Clark said Wingfield was a great athlete even as a freshman.
“He’s a relentless worker,” Clark said. “You can tell he wants to be good. We took him to Albion, and he was learning some track technique, long jump. Even on his warm-up laps, he had to be first.”
Last season’s surge in receptions, yards, and touchdowns surprised Wingfield.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “We had a new quarterback. We had played basketball together, but I didn’t even know he could sling it like that. We just went out and had fun. My goal was to have a better year than my sophomore year. I didn’t know I was going to go quote-unquote ‘crazy’ like that.”
While Wingfield said basketball is still his favorite sport, football is gaining ground. He spent much of this past summer at football camps, fine-tuning his game. He received an offer to play football at Grand Valley State University.
He’s also an outstanding track athlete. Last season he helped Concord’s 400 relay win a Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals title. The relay units he was on also finished second in the 800 and 1,600, and he was second in the long jump.
Concord opened the season last week with a loss to Bridgman. Wingfield said the team has already moved on from that defeat and is geared up for a chance to make the playoffs. Concord wasn’t eligible last season due to its enrollment but is under the threshold this season and could qualify.
“We’re just moving forward week by week,” he said. “I think that helped us to see a good team early. We know how to handle getting punched in the mouth. That is a good team we played. We’ve got to just keep on going. This is like the first year that we could get to go to the playoffs. I’m very excited about that.”
Clark is a social studies teacher at Concord and has Wingfield in one of his classes.
“This week we were doing an activity where we asked the students if they would rather live in a city or the country,” Clark said. “Mekhi said country. I was surprised, knowing he grew up in a big city. He just said, ‘I’d rather live in the country, because that’s where Concord is.’”
“It was huge difference coming here,” Wingfield noted. “Culture shock, you might say. I went to Concord and have loved it ever since. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Concord’s Mekhi Wingfield breaks away from a Britton Deerfield defender during last season’s matchup. (Middle) Wingfield is a senior this fall. (Action photo by Madisyn Barrett/Concord Chronicle. Posed photo courtesy of the Concord athletic department.)
Jhace Massey ♦ Gladwin
Senior ♦ Football
Massey, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound starting receiver for the reigning Division 5 champion, moved to quarterback after the team’s starter and top backup were injured against rival Clare on Friday. He went on to run 18 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns, throw for 61 yards and two scores and snag a fourth-quarter interception to help land the Flying Gs a 44-28 victory after they’d trailed 21-3.
The win put Gladwin in first place alone in the Jack Pine Conference halfway through the league schedule. The Flying Gs entered the game ranked No. 4 in Division 5 by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, and Clare was ranked No. 8 in Division 6. Although football has become his favorite sport, Massey also is a top contributor on the basketball team and ran primarily the 100 and 200 meters and on relays during track season in the spring.
@mhsaasports POW: Jhace Massey #football #quarterback #gladwin #letsgo #touchdown #interception #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
(Top photo by Mike Kolleth. Headshot provided by the Gladwin football program.)