LaDuke's Defense Aids Ludington Rise

December 20, 2017

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Ludington’s run to the Class B championship game last winter was the result of a number of contributions – including senior Sam LaDuke’s on defense.

The now-graduated guard finished last season with 141 steals, third-most in MHSAA history, and with two games of 11 steals apiece (against Traverse City Central and Cadillac) that made the single-game record book list in that category.

LaDuke, who is continuing his career at Calvin College, also averaged 10.4 points per game as Ludington advanced to an MHSAA Finals for the first time since 1953.

Click to see the boys basketball record book in full and read on for more recent additions in football, girls and boys soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling.


Austin Brown set an MHSAA record on the first night of this recently-completed season, throwing eight touchdown passes for Madison Heights Madison during the first half of a 54-7 win over Warren Lincoln on Aug. 24. His six TD tosses in the second quarter tied another record, and those eight total also tied for second-most in one game. The junior quarterback finished the night 18 of 20 passing for 352 yards despite not playing during the second half.

Mesick senior Ethan Humphreys became the first entry on the list for longest fumble recovery touchdown in 8-player history when he snagged a Baldwin handoff and returned it 97 yards for a score on Sept. 8. It was one of Humphreys’ many contributions on the night – he also threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more scores and grabbed an interception in the 54-8 victory.

Girls Soccer

Kelly Bertera was a freshman on the first Southgate Anderson girls soccer team in 1996. Her nine goals in an 11-0 win over Taylor Truman that spring are tied for second-most in one game; she also had two assists in the victory.

Boys Soccer

Ithaca’s Cavun Beck scored eight goals in an Aug. 22 win over Durand, tying for the third-most scored in one game. The Yellowjackets senior also became the first to score at least that many in one contest since 2004, and he also assisted on the ninth goal as his team won 9-5.  


Richland Gull Lake then-sophomore Lauren Esman was one of three players across the state to break the previous MHSAA record for home runs in a season last spring, and she ranks third on the list after knocking 21 (two others hit 22). She also has been added to the record book for 74 runs scored, 81 hits, 24 doubles, 91 RBI and a .675 batting average last season – her RBI rank fourth and her doubles tied for eighth on those lists. Esman has 25 home runs over her career so far and also was added seven times for single-game homers or RBI. Teammate Ashton Whitman (now a senior) also made the records with 20 doubles last season and six RBI in a game, and Shelby Martell (also now a senior) was added for six RBI in a game as well. Esman already has committed to sign with University of Michigan.

Utica Ford’s Meagan VerVaecke finished her career in the spring with a couple of notable accomplishments. Her 17 doubles over 37 games made the single-season list in that category, and her two third-inning home runs against Almont in a May 6 win were added to lists for two consecutive homers and in the same inning. VerVaecke is continuing her career at Saginaw Valley State.

Recent Sterling Heights graduate Shelby Segar earned a spot in the record book with eight RBI in her team’s 19-16 loss to New Haven on May 17. She finished 5 for 5 in the game with pair of doubles. Segar was a four-year varsity player.


Ludington senior Mackenzie Luce dominated a three-set win over Muskegon Heights Academy on Sept. 19, setting a pair of serving records with 20 aces in one game and 32 over the best-of-five match as her team won 25-5, 25-0, 25-7. Luce’s single-game record broke that of another Ludington athlete, Madisyn Brockelbank, who had 17 aces in one game during a 2013 match.


Connor Charping became the latest four-year standout to be added for more than 200 wins, finishing last winter with a career record of 204-24. He also made the career pins list with 119 over those 228 matches. In addition, freshman teammate Sam Rickman was added to the records for tying the fastest pin at 112 pounds, earning a victory in six seconds on Dec. 10, 2016. An MHSAA Finals runner-up in 2016, Charping is continuing his athletic career as part of the Western Michigan baseball program.

PHOTO: Ludington’s Sam LaDuke (10) applies defensive pressure during last season’s Class B Semifinal win over River Rouge. 

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)