By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Kalamazoo United has finished a combined 19-4 over the last two seasons in part because of a high-powered offense that has left its mark all over the MHSAA football record book.
The co-op program of Hackett and Kalamazoo Christian this past fall scored 600 points (50 ppg) in finishing 11-1 and reaching a Division 5 Regional Final before losing to eventual champion Hudsonville Unity Christian. Quarterback Eric Wenzel completed his three-season varsity career with MHSAA records for 42 completions (on 61 attempts) in a 2017 game against Delton Kellogg and for 56 passing touchdowns this past fall.
He appears in the football record book a total of 14 times, including for 3,624 passing yards in 2018 (eighth most), 8,643 career passing yards over 28 games (second), 401 pass attempts in 2017 (seventh), 941 career pass attempts (third), 256 completions in 2017 (second), 598 career completions (third) and 110 career touchdown passes (second).
Senior receiver Andrew Widger ranks ninth for receiving touchdowns in a season after grabbing 20 this past fall, and made the single-season yardage list with 1,077 and the career touchdowns list with 26 over two years. Senior received Heath Baldwin was added for 105 catches, 1,744 yards and 30 touchdown catches over the last two seasons, and junior Christian Bartholomew with a season to play has made career lists already with 141 receptions, 2,144 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Wenzel will walk-on at Western Michigan University, while Widger has committed to Kalamazoo College and Baldwin – last season’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 champion in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump – will continue his track & field career at University of Michigan.
Click to check out the football record book in full, and read on for more recent entries.
Reed City has finished 33-4 over the last three seasons, and senior Phillip Jones-Price finished his three-season varsity career among the leading rushers and scorers in MHSAA history. His 284 points this season rank as seventh most, and his 604 career points over 37 games are tied for 11th. His 44 touchdowns (all rushing) over 12 games this past fall are tied for seventh most, and his 95 career touchdowns rank 11th on that list. He ran for 2,223 yards this season and ranks 17th on the career yardage list with 5,475. Those 44 touchdowns in the fall also rank third for most rushing scores in one season, and he’s listed seventh on the career list with 90. Reed City as a team made the total points list with 573 over 12 games this past fall and 546 over 13 games in 2017, rushing for more than 4,300 yards as a team both seasons and gaining at least 5,100 yards as a team during both. Jones-Price will continue at Albion College.
Brad Dunn became the latest Saugatuck offensive standout to leave his name all over the MHSAA record book, finishing up a three-year varsity career in the fall on lists with 472 points and 78 touchdowns. He had 260 points, 43 touchdowns – with 41 rushing – and 2,574 rushing yards in 11 games in his final season. He also was added for six rushing touchdowns in a game against Fennville, as was older brother Blake Dunn for six against Martin in 2014. Teammate Nick Stanberry tied the longest rushing touchdown with a 99-yarder against Kent City on Oct. 26, and kicker Griffin Milovanski made both the single-season extra points list with 69 and career consecutive extra points list with 53 straight last season. As a team, Saugatuck was added 11 times, most notably for scoring 524 points (47.6 per game) this past fall, and taking its place atop the single-season rushing list for its 5,281 yards over 14 games in 2010.
Delton Kellogg’s 86-50 win over Niles Brandywine in a first-round Division 6 playoff game Oct. 26 ranks among the highest-scoring in MHSAA history. Brandywine junior receiver Shane Brown was one of the shining individual performers, making the MHSAA records with 259 receiving yards (on 11 receptions) and five receiving touchdowns.
A pair of Corunna grads were added for defensive performances in 2015. Then-senior Dakota Ryan ranks tied for fourth for single-game interceptions for his four against Flint Beecher that season, and then-junior Brandon Blair made the list for longest fumble return touchdown with a 95-yarder against Durand. Blair now plays at Northwood University.
DeWitt joined the list of consecutive winning seasons this fall with 19 straight after finishing 12-1. This fall’s success also pushed coach Rob Zimmerman over 200 career wins – he’s 207-62 in 20 seasons at DeWitt and three at Cedar Springs. Junior Carson Hayes was added in two individual categories, for extra points (making 56 of 59) in one season, and for connecting on 37 straight.
Quarterback Blake Fialek and receiver Brent McLaughlin earned Holton’s first football record book entries with their contributions against Lakeview in 2016. Fialek was added for 413 yards passing on 24 completions (and 40 attempts), while McLaughlin caught 14 of those passes for 269 yards to earn two record entries. Fialek was a senior that fall and plays now at Alma College, and McLaughlin graduated last spring.
Elk Rapids’ added three players to the record book for accomplishments over the last four seasons. Sophomore Gordie LaFontaine earned four entries this past fall, including for 2,033 passing yards and six touchdown tosses in a half against East Jordan on Aug. 30. Senior Alex Villegas was added for 143 receptions and 1,773 receiving yards over four seasons, and kicker Marshall Fox made the career extra point list with 82 in 85 attempts also over the last four years.
A pair of Crystal Falls Forest Park juniors joined the growing 8-player record list. Tommy Peltoma made the single-game rushing attempts list with 50 (for 272 yards) against Phillips, Wis., on Sept. 21. Evan Hedtke was added for five tackles for loss against Felch North Dickinson on Oct. 5. He finished with 11 tackles total in the game.
Cedarville senior Jarron Masuga earned three 8-player record book entries including the first for fumble recoveries in a season (12) and fumble returns for touchdowns in a season (five on defense; he also returned a fumble for a touchdown while playing offense). He also moved to the top of the list for sacks with 18 over 12 games last fall. He will continue his career at Albion College.
PHOTO: Kalamazoo United quarterback Eric Wenzel (center) congratulates teammate Andrew Widger (10) after a touchdown this fall. (Photo by Daniel J. Cooke.)