With four state titles already won, CHSL teams in the hunt for more

Everest Collegiate won its fourth straight MHSAA Division 8 football district title and fifth overall in 11 years by its 19-14 win over Cardinal Mooney. The Mountaineers have qualified for the MHSAA playoffs every fall since 2013, when the school started playing football. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Goethals)

CLARKSTON — We’re past the midway point of the Michigan High School Athletic Association fall sports playoffs.

Champions have been declared in cross country, girls golf, boys soccer and boys tennis, and four of them are from the Catholic High School League.

The most recent crowning happened this past weekend when Jackson Lumen Christi, one of six new members to the CHSL this academic year, won the Division 3 girls cross country title.

Earlier, in boys tennis, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood won in Division 3 and Ann Arbor Greenhills in Division 4. Greenhills was a repeat winner, in a sense, having won Division 3 in 2022.

Farmington Hills Mercy successfully defended its Division 2 girls golf championship.

That leaves the eight divisions of football (finals Nov. 25-26), three divisions of girls swimming (finals Nov. 17-18), and four divisions of volleyball (Nov. 18).

Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

FOOTBALL: Five in the chase

At stake for the winners is a spot in the semifinals, one victory removed from playing for a state championship.

The spotlight, as expected, shines the brightest on Warren De La Salle, winner the last two Division 2 titles. The Pilots haven’t faced a severe test so far in the playoffs, overwhelming Warren Cousino, 49-6, and fellow CHSL member University of Detroit Jesuit, 25-6. They come up against Roseville (8-3) for the third year in the playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Wayne State University.

De La Salle, ranked No. 1 in Division 2, is in the hunt along with potential foes No. 3 Muskegon (9-2), No. 4 Byron Center (10-1) and No. 7 Saginaw Heritage (9-2).

Macomb Lutheran North, at 9-2, has its best record since 2010. Unrated in Division 5, the Mustangs, after losing to Everest, 35-28, in the Prep Bowl, slipped past No. 9 Marine City, 32-30, to win their first MHSAA district trophy in 13 tries.

Their next challenge seems almost herculean. They travel to No. 3 Corunna for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday, Nov. 10. Corunna has averaged seven touchdowns a game in assembling an 11-0 record.

Jackson Lumen Christi (10-1), the defending Division 7 champ, Prep Bowl champ and season-long leader of the Division 7 rankings, will host No. 5 Clinton (10-1) at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10.

The difference between these two squads that have near-identical powerful offenses and rugged defenses is in the personage of Lumen Christi coach Herb Brogan, third winningest record (403-95) in state history accumulated over 44 years.

Clarkston Everest Collegiate (9-2, No. 10 Division 8) and Riverview Gabriel Richard (7-4) clash at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at Everest.

Gabriel Richard, after an early-season coaching staff shakeup, has averaged 41 points a game in its last six contests. The two squads last met in the 2020 Prep Bowl, which the Mountaineers won 35-0.

Everest is riding an eight-game winning streak, capped off by its fourth straight district title, a hard-fought 19-13 victory last week over Marine City Cardinal Mooney.

Everest’s junior running back Kevin Cronin raced 57 yards for a first-quarter touchdown for a 6-0 lead. Quarterback Patrick Cooper and receiver Thomas Powrie III collaborated on a 22-yard touchdown pass to increase Everest’s lead to 13-0 late in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mooney quarterback Brian Everhart returned a punt en route to an 81-yard score, only to fumble about 25 yards from the end zone. Junior Averey Brohl alertly scooped up the ball and completed the touchdown run.

Everhart and Brohl cooperated on a less dramatic 10-yard pass to put Mooney in front 14-13. Junior running back Jim Nedwick burst through left tackle for a 21-yard run late in the fourth quarter to give Everest the 19-14 victory and its fourth district title in a row.

Cronin wound up with 175 yards on 19 carries in his return to the lineup after missing some time with a leg injury.

SWIMMING: Mercy on top

Farmington Hills Mercy is currently ranked No. 1 in Division 2. The Marlins have won 11 state championships, most recently in 2017-18-19 under current coach Mike Venos.

In Division 3, Bloomfield Hills Marian is the defending champ. The Mustangs have four state titles.

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, No. 2 in Division 3, also has four titles.

VOLLEYBALL: Four-for-four?

Bloomfield Hills Marian has been the rage of high school volleyball the last three years with back-to-back-to-back Division 1 state championships.

Whether they can bring home a fourth trophy has been a question coach Mayssa Cook has faced all season long.

She repeatedly has pointed out that her squad is young: two seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen. Yet, they have matured to compile a 42-7 record that includes a CHSL Bishop Division trophy, a Division 1 No. 4 ranking, and a 13-13 record against seven of the state’s top 15 ranked teams.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep (25-9-1), ranked No. 6 in Division 2, and Clarkston Everest (13-1), No. 10 in Division 4, are among 11 CHSL volleyball squads still in the chase.

SOCCER: ‘Cherish the moment’

Madison Heights Bishop Foley had a magical run for a Division 3 boys soccer state championship.

It started with a 1-0 overtime win against Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, who had beat them four weeks earlier for the CHSL Cardinal Division crown, to earn their first regional championship in 26 years and a berth in the Division 4 state semi-finals.

Then, the Ventures rallied from behind to beat Kalamazoo Hackett, 2-1, in another overtime contest, to advance to the finals.

Poof! The No. 1-ranked and defending Division 3 titlist, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, shut down Bishop Foley, 3-0, for the title. The Ventures wound up ranked No. 7 with an 18-4-1 record. Bishop Foley defeated Ludington, 2-1, to with the 1997 Division 3 title.

“I told the kids to cherish every moment of this," sixth-year coach Nino Maniaci said. "To be here, it's just another step in the right direction. But yeah, definitely I’ve been telling them to cherish the moments all the time.”

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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