Calumet Invite Produces Northern Stars

September 18, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The Calumet Invitational dates back roughly 30 years as an annual staple of the cross country schedule for schools at the northernmost tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 

A creative move by the Copper Kings last year added some statewide prestige to the event. 

Last week, for the second season, Calumet ran the series of races at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, a resort near Copper Harbor and the northern bank of the Keweenaw Peninsula. 

Calumet is the northernmost high school in Michigan. And moving this race another 35 miles northeast more or less guaranteed it's the northernmost event run in the state. 

"We figured it was pretty safe. We're the northernmost school in the state, and you can only go four more miles and you're in Lake Superior," Calumet athletic director Sean Jacques said. "Nobody else is going to do anything more north than that." 

A total of 10 schools were represented this fall in the races for boys and girls varsity, junior varsity and middle schoolers. 

Jacques said the event formerly was run at a golf course in Calumet. But a few years ago, Calumet graduate and former Copper Kings cross country runner Dan Harri moved home from Florida to become general manager at the Mountain Lodge (he's also a renowned chef and has owned restaurants in Miami with Hall of Fame Dolphins coach Don Shula). 

Harri had asked a few times about bringing a cross country or golf event to the lodge. Jacques told him last year they'd give it a try, so Harri set up a course that includes golf course, a couple of bridges, trails and finishes with a climb on the No. 1 fairway. It also provides various points for fans to watch runners go by, not always available on other courses.

"We were looking for a little bit of a change, and it's a beautiful course," Jacques said. "We thought if people were willing to make the extra drive, it would be really nice."

Calumet won the boys race this season, just ahead of runner-up Houghton. Houghton's girls were victorious, followed by the host Copper Kings. 

Click to read more about this year's event from the Houghton Mining Gazette.  

Michigan's claim to an NFL evolution

As part of its NFL preview this month, Sports Illustrated reported on one of the most significant developments for offenses over the last few decades – the silent snap count, which is used regularly by visiting teams because offensive linemen can’t hear the quarterback calling for the ball over the clamor of the home crowd.

And the article explained that the silent snap count might’ve gotten its start at one of Michigan’s smallest high schools – Flint’s Michigan School for the Deaf.

Offensive linemen during the 1980s were feasted on by pass rushers like Lawrence Taylor and Bruce Smith, who built record sack totals by blasting past blockers who seemed a step slow. Turns out, that was true. Defensive players were getting an edge by attacking as soon as they saw the ball move. But blockers (especially offensive tackles), focused instead on the defensive ends and linebackers lined up across from them, and didn’t have the luxury of watching the ball – and since they also couldn’t hear the snap count, started each play a step behind.  

Enter the silent count. The quarterback signals to the center that he is ready to receive the ball (with a pat on the back, by raising a foot, etc.). The center then raises his head, and after a predetermined count of at least one second snaps the ball without a sound. This means an offensive tackle doesn’t have to listen for a snap count – he just counts after seeing the center get set.

The SI report recognized longtime offensive line coach Howard Mudd as the guru of the silent snap count. But Mudd recalled a conversation he’d had while working for the Seattle Seahawks with another coach, the late Andy MacDonald, who also had coached early in his career at a school for the deaf in Michigan.

The article doesn’t mention Michigan School for the Deaf by name. But it seems to make sense that the Tartars were the first to use the now-revolutionary count. MacDonald – who played at Central Michigan University and went on to coach at Michigan State and four other colleges and also for the Buffalo Bills – grew up in Flint and attended Flint Northern before playing for the Chippewas from 1950-53. The historical web site has results for Flint’s Michigan School for the Deaf dating to 1950, making it a decent assumption that MacDonald might’ve gotten in a little early coaching experience at the school down the road from his home.  

Click for the SI story and go to page 4 for the mention of Michigan’s school.

Michigan mourns trooper, running standout

The law enforcement community is mourning the death of Michigan State Police trooper Paul Butterfield, who was shot Sept. 9 during a traffic stop in Mason County. He also was a well-known distance runner during the 1980s and the MHSAA Class A cross country champion running for Bridgeport in 1987.

According to a Ludington Daily News report, Butterfield continued running after high school at the University of Tennessee, and also competed at the 1989 Pan American Junior Games in Argentina.

Butterfield was stationed in Hart after previously serving in Manistee, and lived in Mason County. He also had served in the U.S. Army. Click to read more from the Ludington Daily News.

PHOTO: Calumet's Chelsea Jacques (right) won this season's Calumet Invitational with a time of 21:08.06, just ahead of Ironwood's Jessica Gering at 21:46.16. (Photo courtesy of Calumet athletic department.)

Record-Setting Saving, Historic Scoring Send Grosse Ile to 2018 Boys Soccer Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 17, 2024

Grosse Ile’s Division 3 runner-up season in 2018 included multiple MHSAA team records for defensive and offensive success.

The Red Devils set a record with 21 straight shutouts and 24 total over 29 games, and also finished third all-time scoring 158 goals.

Their 23-game winning streak that season remains tied for seventh-longest as Grosse Ile finished 27-2.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA boys soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.

Boys Soccer

Keeper Ethan DeJager and Grandville Calvin Christian were nearly unbeatable in 2020, finishing 19-1-2 and runner-up in Division 4. They set a record allowing only four goals for the season, while DeJager is fourth on the season shutouts list with 19 over those 22 games and tied for the second-longest shutout streak at 13. DeJager was a senior that season.

Seth Davidson capped his four-year varsity career this past fall on three records lists for shutouts – 15 over 22 games this past season, 26 for his career and nine straight as a senior. Berkley as a team also made the fewest goals allowed list, giving up only 11 in finishing 18-2-2.

Caden Saxton capped a memorable four-year Flint Kearsley varsity career in the fall with four entries in the record book. He made the assists list with 27 over 21 games as a senior and also the single-season points list with 65, and made career lists in those categories with 63 assists and 149 points, respectively, over 71 games.

Jonesville advanced in its District this past season with an 8-5 overtime win over Blissfield on Oct. 12, and Warrick Elder played a big part scoring six goals. He’s a senior.

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals saw contributions from several players, and junior James Whiting was among those leading the way. He made the assists list with 30 over 22 games, and also the total points list with 49. He also sits on the career assists list after three seasons with 66 and one more season to play.

Holland Christian made the team list for 12 straight shutouts from Sept. 8-Oct. 19, and 15 shutouts total over 20 games this past season. Junior Adam Bergman was in goal for all 15 including the 12 consecutive.

Muskegon Oakridge senior Arturo Romero-Serrano capped his career in the fall with his second season reaching 40 goals, netting 42 total to finish his four-year career with 105 and also on the MHSAA career points list with 125. He also added a second six-goal game, against Muskegon Catholic Central on Aug. 25.

Monroe Jefferson’s season came to an end Oct. 11 in a District game against Riverview, but senior Gabe Gelso finished with a state record. He made 49 saves in the 9-0 defeat as the Bears had only eight players total.

Ian Klenk added eight more shutouts in goal this past fall to finish his three-season varsity career with 25 in 60 games and make the career list in that category. He’ll continue his career at Kuyper College.

PHOTO Grosse Ile's keeper Brendan Ebler (1) gathers the ball and charts his next move during the 2018 Division 3 Final.