Two of the best 8-man programs in the state squared off on Thursday night. The Martin Clippers, champions of the SWMFL-I took on the Bridgman Bees, champions of the SWMFL-II. It had all the makings of an epic clash, and it lived up to the billing. In the end, Bridgman held off Martin for a 35-34 victory.

Bridgman got the scoring started with a 13-yard touchdown run by star Reid Haskins. The lead was short-term, as JR Hildebrand kept the football for a short run. Martin’s Karter Ribble booted the extra point to give them a 7-6 lead.

Martin would push their lead to 8 points when Hildebrand and Ribble paired up for a 29-yard touchdown strike. With just over a minute until halftime, Reid Haskins returned to the end zone with a 7-yard carry. Martin tried a 35-yard field goal, but they missed, leaving the game even at 14.

Martin took the lead back with a 15-yard scamper by quarterback JR Hildebrand. That lead lasted about a minute, when Reid Haskins broke off a 22-yard keeper.

The Clippers responded, with Hildebrand and Sam Jager pairing up for a 17-yard touchdown. With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, it was 28-21 in favor of the Clippers.

Bridgman got their equalizer with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, Reid Haskins rushed for his fourth touchdown of the evening.

Travis Locke‘s ability to force a fumble at the end of the third quarter set Bridgman up for success. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bees took the lead. Reid Haskins kept the ball once more for a 15-yard carry.

With 8:43 to go, Martin returned to the end zone. JR Hildebrand kept the football for a 4-yard carry. The Bees’ Alec MacMartin was able to step up and block Martin’s extra point attempt.

Over the final quarter, Martin could not overcome the deficit. As a result, they will finish the regular season at 7-2. The Clippers will look to make a deep playoff run, with the bracket released Sunday.

Bridgman finishes the regular season at 9-0. It is the 23rd straight victory for Bridgman, and they finish the year undefeated for the second straight campaign. Due to their enrollment, they are ineligible to compete in the MHSAA playoffs.