By John Johnson
MHSAA Director of Broadcast Properties
A few weeks back, we highlighted one of two of the “longest play” records in the MHSAA Football Finals where there’s a tie for the top spot – longest rushing play. Today, we feature the longest kickoff returns in the history of the games.
The longest kickoff return you can record in high school football is 99 yards, and that’s what Caden Goggins of Edwardsburg did in the 2017 Division 4 11-Player Football Final against Grand Rapids Catholic Central to tie a Finals game record with Tommy Scott of Muskegon Catholic Central, who accomplished the same against Munising in the 2014 Division 8 title game.
Goggins’ runback came in a game where he said “top that” to the other mammoth scoring plays – runs of 54, 55, 64, 79 and a Finals-record 90 yards.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central had just scored on its first possession of the second half to take a 28-13 lead. Goggins found daylight on the ensuing kickoff and was off to the races. “I saw the hole and just took off,” he told the South Bend Tribune after the game.
The pesky Eddies kept nipping at the heels of the Cougars all night long, getting within four points at 35-31 midway through the final period. But in the end, the Grand Rapids team prevailed, 42-31. Goggins would bring Edwardsburg back to Ford Field the next year, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-7 win over Chelsea.
As for Scott, his 99-yard streak sent a second shock wave through the crowd after Munising had torched the Crusaders secondary for a 79-yard touchdown pass just 13 seconds earlier.
"It was huge to get the momentum right back after they took the momentum in the first three plays," Scott told the MHSAA Second Half after the game. "Making a big play like that can change a game."
Scott wasn’t finished. After being held to 14 yards rushing in the first half, he scored three second half touchdowns as MCC broke things open and won, 31-6. Scott finished the game with 92 yards on the ground.
Scott’s TD return broke the previous record of 97 yards by Brad Mesbergen of Zeeland West in the 2011 Division 4 Final.