Capac/New Haven football

Football

1st & Goal: 2021 Week 2 Preview

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

September 1, 2021

Last week's return to "normal" football was as good as anticipated, if not better. And the good news is we're just getting started. 

As we cruise into Labor Day weekend, the great majority of Week 2 games will again be played Thursday. Additionally, more than 150 games will be viewable live on MHSAA.tv, with Bally Sports Detroit broadcasting Friday's Detroit Cass Tech at Muskegon game on its PLUS cable channel and State Champs! Sports Network streaming live Saturday's Grand Rapids Catholic Central game against Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean. See the full schedule from the MHSAA Score Center.

In addition to our weekly glance at some of the games to watch in every corner of our state, we're also introducing a new feature for this season -- an "Unforgettable 5ive" of highlights from MHSAA.tv and media partner broadcasts. See below for our Week 1 5ive, which includes the following: 

► Marquette's Jordan Demay with the Pick 6 in Marquette's 49-14 win over Alpena.
► Clinton Township Chippewa Valley's Cephus Harris with the 60-yard TD run in a 45-20 win over Detroit Catholic Central.
► Dearborn Fordson's Alex Osman connecting with Antonio Gates Jr. for a 37-yard TD in Fordson's 38-23 win over Canton.
► DeWitt's Tyler Holtz throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Kurncz in DeWitt's 47-27 win over Traverse City Central.
► Grand Blanc's Elijah Jackson-Anderson sealing a 40-34 win over East Lansing with a 40-yard TD run.

Bay & Thumb

Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (1-0) at Ubly (1-0), Thursday

Both got off to solid starts last week, Laker downing Flint Beecher and Ubly upending Unionville-Sebewaing. By October, both could be contending for league championships as well. Ubly was third in the Greater Thumb Conference East last season, while Laker came in third in the GTC West.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Saginaw Swan Valley (0-1) at Frankenmuth (1-0), Saginaw Nouvel (1-0) at Millington (1-0). FRIDAY North Branch (1-0) at Croswell-Lexington (0-1), Lapeer (0-1) at Midland (0-1).

Greater Detroit 

Muskegon Mona Shores (1-0) at Detroit Martin Luther King (0-1), Friday

Mona Shores began its drive last week for a third-straight Division 2 championship with a 42-point win over Lowell, and they’ve lined up 2019 Finals foe King for a second-straight regular-season meeting. The Sailors have won both of those last two matchups, and the Crusaders also have plenty driving them from last week’s 42-40 loss to Indiana power Carmel – decided on a 35-yard touchdown catch on the game’s final play.

Keep an eye on these: FRIDAY Davison (0-1) at Detroit Catholic Central (0-1), West Bloomfield (0-1) at Oak Park (0-1), River Rouge (1-0) at Warren De La Salle Collegiate (1-0), Dearborn (1-0) at Belleville (1-0).

Mid-Michigan

Lansing Catholic (1-0) at Williamston (1-0), Thursday

Formerly league rivals until 2018, both again have league title aspirations after the Capital Area Activities Conference didn’t award championships last season due to the shortened schedule. Williamston, from the CAAC Red, set the tone coming off last year’s Division 4 Semifinal trip by doubling up Croswell-Lexington on the road last week. Lansing Catholic, in the CAAC White, made the Division 5 Semifinals last season and doubled up Lansing Waverly in its opener.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Lansing Everett (1-0) at Lansing Eastern (1-0), DeWitt (1-0) at Portland (1-0), Pewamo-Westphalia (1-0) at Laingsburg (1-0), Jackson (1-0) at Grand Ledge (1-0).

Northern Lower Peninsula

Maple City Glen Lake (1-0) at Kingsley (1-0), Thursday

These are two more who could emerge as league champions over the next eight weeks. Kingsley – from the Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends division – has made the best of last year’s unfortunate circumstance, when the undefeated Stags were unable to take the field for their District Final. Kingsley opened with a 54-8 win over McBain, last season’s Highland Conference champion. Glen Lake was second in the NMFC Leaders last fall, ending a four-year league title streak, but opened last week with a 35-6 win over 2020 Highland co-runner-up Houghton Lake.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Marquette (1-0) at Traverse City Central (0-1). FRIDAY Grand Haven (1-0) at Traverse City West (1-0), Escanaba (1-0) at Petoskey (1-0), Grayling (1-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (1-0).

Southeast & Border

Erie Mason (1-0) at Hudson (1-0), Thursday

The Eagles were one of the best stories of the 2020 season, breaking a string of 15 straight sub-.500 finishes to win the Tri-County Conference in their first season in the league. If this fall’s Week 1 is an indication, former Lenawee County Athletic Association foe Hudson could be a candidate for a similar 2021. The Tigers earned some statewide attention with a 59-14 opening win over annual power Ithaca.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Jonesville (1-0) at Homer (0-1), Ida (1-0) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (1-0), Michigan Center (1-0) at Hanover-Horton (1-0), Harper Woods (1-0) at Pinckney (1-0).

Southwest Corridor

Three Rivers (1-0) at Edwardsburg (1-0), Thursday

Even with reigning Division 6 champion Montague undergoing a bit of a fresh start, few results jumped off the page more last week than the Eddies’ 38-0 win in their opening matchup. A little more undercover but intriguing also was Three Rivers’ 36-34 overtime win over Paw Paw, the most frequent runner-up of late to Edwardsburg’s Wolverine Conference dominance. Three Rivers’ victory also gave it as many wins as it totaled all last season, and this week will be another opportunity to show what’s possible.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Niles Brandywine (1-0) at Cassopolis (1-0), Schoolcraft (0-1) at Centreville (0-1), Battle Creek Pennfield (1-0) at Marshall (1-0), Kalamazoo Hackett Prep (0-1) at Stevensville Lakeshore (1-0).

Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming Westwood (1-0) at Iron Mountain (1-0), Thursday

The Mountaineers have a chance to stake a pretty serious claim as Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper favorites if they can add a win over Westwood to last week’s two-pointer over Negaunee. The Patriots similarly would enjoy a major boost with another Copper contender, Calumet, up next. Iron Mountain and Westwood have split their last four meetings on the field.  

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Calumet (0-1) at Negaunee (1-0), Bark River-Harris (1-0) at West Iron County (0-0). FRIDAY Gladstone (1-0) at Kingsford (1-0), Marinette, Wis. (0-2) at Menominee (1-0).

West Michigan

Detroit Cass Tech at Muskegon, Friday 

This was another anticipated matchup that couldn’t be played last fall because of the late start, but this would be a massive draw any season. Both are coming off big wins, and as in years past both feature plenty of future college players. The Technicians are riding a 10-game regular-season winning streak – but Muskegon has lost only twice at home over the last six seasons.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Cedar Springs (1-0) at Rockford (1-0), Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) at Whitehall (1-0). FRIDAY Grand Blanc (1-0) at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (1-0), East Grand Rapids (0-1) at Grand Rapids South Christian (1-0). 

8-Player

Hale (1-0) at Pellston (1-0), Friday

Pellston is a combined 15-3 over the last two seasons, and Hale is 12-6 over the same span of time – and Pellston won their league matchups in 2018 and 2019 before both moved into different conferences and didn’t play each other last season. This return of the series could feature strength on strength. Hale hasn’t given up more than 20 points in a game since last season’s opener, while Pellston’s 64 points last week followed the 45+ they scored six times a year ago.

Keep an eye on these: THURSDAY Marion (1-0) at Brethren (0-1), Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (1-0) at Deckerville (0-0). FRIDAY Rapid River (0-1) at Lake Linden-Hubbell (1-0), Ironwood (1-0) at Ontonagon (1-0).

PHOTO: Capac and New Haven kicked off their season last week. Capac, returning after playing only one game a year ago, won 22-0. (Photo by Robert Batzloff.)