It is now playoff time, which means I’ll be picking local playoff games for the next five weeks (well, I hope to). From now until the end of the playoffs, I will be making picks on ALL the games in the state. For the playoffs, the games are in order by Division and District order. (For state finals week, games are listed in order of the way they will be played Friday and Saturday.)
This, being state finals week, is the final edition of Jerrod’s Game Picks for the 2011 High School season, but I plan to make college bowl picks when bowl season comes around, so stay tuned for that! Thank you for allowing me to share my High School knowledge with you this season and look forward to this returning in 2012!
Last Week: 12-4 (.750)
Season: 333-85 (.797)
Mendon (13-0) vs. Fowler (11-2)
About the Teams
Mendon Hornets: John Schwartz, Head Coach
Points Scored: 598
Points Allowed: 97
Road to Ford Field: def. Saint Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (45-0), def. Muskegon Catholic Central (28-21), def. Climax-Scotts (35-10), def. New Lothrop (34-13).
Fowler Eagles: Craig Koenigsknecht, Head Coach
Points Scored: 449
Points Allowed: 201
Road to Ford Field: def. Fulton-Middleton (35-15), def. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (24-21), def. Beal City (34-18), def. Saint Ignace LaSalle (45-8).
Mendon Players to Watch: Chance Nightingale (QB), Tyler Harris (RB), Tanner Cook (RB/Defense), Cody Bingaman (TE/Defensive), Cody Henckel (WR), Cody Ross (Defense).
Fowler Players to Watch: Dustin Wirth (QB), Mitch Thelen (RB), Codey Schafer (WR), Kevin Koenigsknecht (Defense), Tyler Koenigsknecht (Defense).
Prediction: Mendon 38, Fowler 10. Despite Fowler being two points from being 13-0, they haven’t met a team deep like Mendon. Mendon, by far, plays the tougher schedule and has the state experience that Fowler does not. And if not for Hudson, Mendon might be making its fourth straight state title run. Fowler’s only chance in to wear Mendon out on offense, as many Hornets on defense play offense.
Birmingham Brother Rice (9-4) vs. Lowell (12-1)
About the Teams
Birmingham Brother Rice Warriors: Al Fracassa, Head Coach
Points Scored: 345
Points Scored: 173
Road to Ford Field: def. North Farmington (34-8), def. Farmington Hills Harrison (30-7), def. Southfield (16-6), def. Detroit Martin Luther King (27-26).
Lowell Red Arrows: Noel Dean, Head Coach
Points Scored: 453
Points Allowed: 185
Road to Ford Field: def. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (13-7), def. Muskegon (36-7), def. Fenton (35-14), def. Walled Lake Western (42-35).
Birmingham Brother Rice Players to Watch: Chayne Lacanaria (QB), Nick Rao (QB), Devin Church (RB), Brian Roney (WR), Joe Warner (WR).
Lowell Players to Watch: Gabe Dean (QB), Josh Addington (RB), Blake Lyman (WR), Luke Digham (WR), Pierce Watson (Defense), Jake Stehley (Defense), Garett Stehley (Defense).
Prediction: Lowell 31, Birmingham Brother Rice 21. While Brother Rice may have faced the toughest schedule in the state and went 5-4, they don’t have the offensive depth to beat Lowell. Lowell has resorted to pass a little more this year then usual and if you’ve played them before, that’s different. Brother Rice’s offense has to beat Lowell’s defense. They have a chance: Lowell has given up 185 points this year.
Constantine (11-2) vs. Ithaca (13-0)
About the Teams
Constantine Falcons: Shawn Griffith, Head Coach
Points Scored: 453
Points Allowed: 303
Road to Ford Field: def. Hartford (28-21), def. Schoolcraft (37-30), def. Grass Lake (42-25), def. Ecorse (45-44).
Ithaca Yellowjackets: Terry Hessbrook, Head Coach
Points Scored: 566
Points Allowed: 109
Road to Ford Field: def. Byron (56-6), def. Montrose (28-13), def. Montague (22-19), def. Iron Mountain (28-0).
Constantine Players to Watch: Tom Reed (QB), Payton White (RB), Ben Mallo (RB), Jeff Steiner (RB/Defense), Justin Bontrager (TE), Brandon Edwards (TE), Ben Barber (Defense), Chase Niblock (Defense).
Ithaca Players to Watch: Travis Smith (QB), Garrett Miniard (RB/Defense), Charles Schnetzler (WR), Jared Evers (WR), David Brown (WR), Tyler Gibson (Defense), Luke Bunting (Defense).
Prediction: Ithaca 38, Constantine 17. Sorry Falcons, the run stops here no matter what, but in a loss. Ithaca will defend its Division 6 title. Ithaca is tough, period. It doesn’t matter top gun Alex Niznak graduated last winter, they have reloaded. Big difference is defense: Ithaca has given up just over 100 points, Constantine–over 300. Plus, Ithaca passes. Constantine can’t stop it. Besides, Ithaca saw the Wing-T last year in the finals.
Marine City (13-0) vs. Zeeland West (13-0)
About the Teams
Marine City Mariners: Tony Scarcelli, Head Coach
Points Scored: 553
Points Allowed: 196
Road to Ford Field: def. Croswell-Lexington (45-21), def. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (55-31), def. Detroit Crockett (15-7), def. Grosse Ile (45-6).
Zeeland West Dux: John Shillito, Head Coach
Points Scored: 569
Points Allowed: 178
Road to Ford Field: def. Grand Rapids South Christian (49-7), def. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (43-21), def. Paw Paw (53-12), def. Comstock Park (30-6).
Marine City Players to Watch: Adam Kroll (QB/Defense), Anthony Scarcelli (RB), Jamie Salisbury (RB), Aaron Loconsole (Defense).
Zeeland West Players to Watch: Clay Coutney (QB), Kyle Kujawa (RB), Derek Postma (RB), Brad Mesbergen (RB/Defense), Jake McKellar (Defense).
Prediction: Zeeland West 37, Marine City 24. Zeeland West will win their second state championship this weekend in just the short time the school has been open. The Wing-T has given the Mariners fits in previous games this season. Although the stats point to an even game both ways, Zeeland West has the offensive size and fire power to win. Although star defensive player Josh Blanton is injured, he will earn his ring: as a leader on the sideline.
Pewamo-Westphalia (13-0) vs. Saginaw Nouvel (12-0)
About the Teams
Pewamo-Westphalia Pirates: Brad Weber, Head Coach
Points Scored: 464
Points Allowed: 122
Road to Ford Field: def. Ravenna (33-7), def. Saranac (24-13), def. Watervliet (20-14), def. Hudson (22-14).
Saginaw Nouvel Panthers: Michael Boyd, Head Coach
Points Scored: 525
Points Allowed: 90
Road to Ford Field: def. Coleman (63-14), def. Blanchard Montabella (62-6), def. Harbor Beach (28-0), def. Traverse City Saint Francis (14-3).
Pewamo-Westphalia Players to Watch: Justin Thelen (QB/Defense), Alex Thelen (RB), Josh Nurenburg (WR), Cameron Trierweiler (WR), Lane Simon (Defense), Collin Nurenburg (Defense), Gavin Smith (Defense).
Saginaw Nouvel Players to Watch: Joe Buchalski (QB), Bennett Lewis (RB), Gabe Augustin (RB), Ty Jacobs (WR), Nick Hammis (WR), Josh Buchalski (WR), Tyler Jacqmain (Defense), Clae Henderson (Defense), Mitch Jacqmain (Defense).
Prediction: Saginaw Nouvel 37, Pewamo-Westphalia 17. Look, I know Pewamo-Westphalia beat Hudson last week, but Hudson wasn’t as good as hyped. Meanwhile, Saginaw Nouvel struggled with Traverse City Saint Francis, winning 14-3 but winning for the second time over them this year. And while Pewamo will put up the points on the run, Nouvel will score both ways: offense and defense. Nouvel wins after wearing the Pirates down.
Detroit Cass Tech (10-3) vs. Detroit Catholic Central (12-1)
About the Teams
Detroit Cass Tech Technicians: Thomas Wilcher, Head Coach
Points Scored: 320
Points Allowed: 123
Road to Ford Field: def. Livonia Churchill (35-6), def. Dearborn Fordson (33-7), def. Warren DeLaSalle (6-0), def. Utica Eisenhower (6-3).
Detroit Catholic Central Shamrocks: Thomas Mach, Head Coach
Points Scored: 356
Points Allowed: 116
Road to Ford Field: def. Northville (56-6), def. Canton (21-14), def. Ann Arbor Pioneer (21-0), def. Rockford (23-20).
Detroit Cass Tech Players to Watch: Jayru Campbell (QB), Royce Jenkins-Stone (RB), Deon Drake (RB), Lile Ruben (WR), Lewis Jordan (WR).
Detroit Catholic Central Players to Watch: Kyle Cooper (QB), David Houle (RB), Anthony Darkangelo (RB), Zach Bock (RB), David Racey (WR), Matthew Donath (WR/Defense), Aaron Hess (Defense), Alex Kozlowski (Defense).
Prediction: Detroit Catholic Central 28, Detroit Cass Tech 14. The Shamrocks are back and ready to beat Cass Tech, who hasn’t been this far before. Catholic Central will play smash-mouth football and that is also something, in the playoffs, that Cass Tech hasn’t seen. Cass Tech will spread out Catholic Central and has hard runners, but you have to win both ways and I don’t believe Cass Tech can stop a hard running team. DCC is making Ford Field look like their hockey team does at state: home on Thanksgiving weekend.
Flint Powers Catholic (9-4) vs. Lansing Catholic (13-0)
About the Teams
Flint Powers Catholic Chargers: Bob Buckel, Head Coach
Points Scored: 317
Points Allowed: 214
Road to Ford Field: def. Frankenmuth (35-13), def. Millington (28-7), def. Hemlock (26-0), def. Almont (27-10).
Lansing Catholic Cougars: Jim Ahern, Head Coach
Points Scored: 573
Points Allowed: 245
Road to Ford Field: def. Olivet (55-41), def. Portland (50-33), def. Dowagiac (61-13), def. Grand Rapids West Catholic (42-35).
Flint Powers Catholic Players to Watch: Garrett Pougnet (QB), Drew Fortier (RB), Prescott Myers (WR), Danny Meissner (WR), Ethan Wiskur (WR/Defense), Danny O’Brien (Defense), Chris Koenigsknecht (Defense).
Lansing Catholic Players to Watch: Cooper Rush (QB), Matt Macksood (WR), Jack Swain (WR/Defense), Conor Bartlett (WR), Devin Fogel (Defense), Dan Liesman (Defense).
Prediction: Lansing Catholic 48, Flint Powers Catholic 28. Lansing Catholic will score a state championship, as no one…I repeat NO ONE, has been able to neutralize their passing attack. When Cooper Rush breaks records in multiple playoff games in multiple categories, you know it’s going right. Needless to say to win, Flint Powers has to keep the Lansing Catholic offense off the field. Even if they do, Lansing Catholic can strike quick. No one stops the Lansing Catholic offense: but the refs and the final whistle.
Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s (11-2) vs. Mount Pleasant (13-0)
About the Teams
Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s Eaglets: George Porritt, Head Coach
Points Scored: 426
Points Allowed: 151
Road to Ford Field: def. Detroit Pershing (56-6), def. Redford Thurston (62-20), def. Linden (49-7), def. Battle Creek Harper Creek (14-10).
Mount Pleasant Oilers: Jason McIntyre, Head Coach
Points Scored: 522
Points Allowed: 222
Road to Ford Field: def. Cadillac (45-10), def. Petoskey (35-28), def. East Lansing (28-20), def. East Grand Rapids (38-37).
Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s Players to Watch: Spencer McInnis (RB), Grant Niemiec (RB).
Mount Pleasant Players to Watch: Ryan Elliott (QB), Michael Tweh (RB), Colton Odykirk (WR), Dustin Lee (Overall Player).
Prediction: Mount Pleasant 31, Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s 24. Look, I realize Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s is making its third straight finals appearance, but Mount Pleasant has been clutch in the spotlight this year. After spending a couple years as a hurdle to East Grand Rapids’ playoff runs, Mount Pleasant finally broke through, on a late field goal to beat the Pioneers last week. Mount Pleasant has to shore up defensively against the heavy run Eaglets, but they should control the line of scrimmage. East Grand Rapids was a stern test for the Oilers, who score a close, but hard fought championship.
On behalf of the Hartford Indian Football Web Site, we would like to wish all of our great Indian Football fans, Web Site viewers and Blog readers a Festive and Happy Thanksgiving!
We are very THANKFUL that you have made HartfordFootball.com the number one destination for all things Hartford Indian Football! And as we continue throughout the remainder of the year into 2012, we will continue to work tirelessly to make sure your viewing experience of the web site is 100% positive and top-notch, just as it should be for you great and loyal fans!
Thank you again and we hope your day with family, friends and even strangers is a happy one! Enjoy the feasts of this day, eat a lot; but create lasting memories with those you are around and with this holiday.
And to those serving around the United States and the world allowing us to have freedom to celebrate this holiday and everyday in peace, a big THANK YOU to you, as well and many blessings sent to you on this holiday wherever you may be serving!
Best Wishes and GO INDIANS!
It is now playoff time, which means I’ll be picking local playoff games for the next five weeks (well, I hope to). From now until the end of the playoffs, I will be making picks on ALL the games in the state. For the playoffs, the games are in order by Division and District order. (NOTE: This week, I will be just listing scores with no local game or statewide game previews. Game previews will return for the state finals next week.)
Local Games Last Week: 4-1 (.800)
Statewide Games Last Week: 21-6 (.778)
Overall Games Last Week: 25-7 (.781)
Season: 321-81 (.799)
Detroit Catholic Central 24, Rockford 17 (@ Battle Creek Central H.S.)
Utica Eisenhower 31, Detroit Cass Tech 14 (@ Troy Athens H.S.)
Lowell 34, Walled Lake Western 20 (@ Central Michigan University)
Birmingham Brother Rice 28, Detroit Martin Luther King 20 (@ West Bloomfield H.S.)
East Grand Rapids 34, Mount Pleasant 31 (@ Ferris State University)
Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s 27, Battle Creek Harper Creek 23 (@ Withington Stadium, Jackson)
Zeeland West 31, Comstock Park 20 (@ Jenison H.S.)
Marine City 38, Grosse Ile 17 (@ Birmingham Groves H.S.)
Lansing Catholic 41, Grand Rapids West Catholic 31 (@ East Kentwood H.S.)
Flint Powers Catholic 28, Almont 27 (@ Ortonville Brandon H.S.)
Ithaca 38, Iron Mountain 21 (@ Northern Michigan University)
Constantine 28, Ecorse 20 (@ Gibraltar-Carlson H.S.)
Saginaw Nouvel 38, Traverse City Saint Francis 14 (@ Central Michigan University)
Hudson 35, Pewamo-Westphalia 30 (@ Vicksburg H.S.)
Saint Ignace LaSalle 24, Fowler 10 (@ Thirlby Field, Traverse City)
Mendon 35, New Lothrop 28 (@ Howell H.S.)
First, before I get to the State Semifinal sites, I would like everyone to take a look at the new banner on top of the Blog and the entire Hartford Football web site. The new banner, created by Josh Fairbanks, highlights the history of our football team and defines our State Championship feat in 1993 the most. The new banner fits the site exponentially and I thank Josh for his hard work on the banner and the splash page you saw all fall!
NOW, onto the state semifinal sites for the playoffs. 32 teams, all next Saturday, will be teeing it up for one of 16 spots in the state Football finals on Thanksgiving weekend in Detroit. All the sites and many of the game times have been set for the semifinals. Below is a list of the games and their game sites. (NOTE: The teams listed first are considered the “Home” team because they were the WINNERS of Regions 1 and 3)
Rockford (11-1) vs. Detroit Catholic Central (11-1)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Battle Creek Central H.S.
Utica Eisenhower (11-1) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (9-3)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Troy Athens H.S.
Lowell (11-1) vs. Walled Lake Western (11-1)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 11:30 AM at Central Michigan University
Birmingham Brother Rice (8-4) vs. Detroit Martin Luther King (9-3)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at West Bloomfield H.S.
Mount Pleasant (12-0) vs. East Grand Rapids (9-3)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Ferris State University
Battle Creek Harper Creek (12-0) vs. Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s (10-2)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Withington Stadium, Jackson
Comstock Park (10-2) vs. Zeeland West (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Jenison H.S.
Grosse Ile (10-2) vs. Marine City (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Birmingham Groves H.S.
Grand Rapids West Catholic (10-2) vs. Lansing Catholic (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at East Kentwood H.S.
Almont (11-1) vs. Flint Powers Catholic (8-4)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Ortonville Brandon H.S.
Iron Mountain (11-0) vs. Ithaca (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Northern Michigan University
Constantine (10-2) vs. Ecorse (10-1)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Gibraltar-Carlson H.S.
Traverse City Saint Francis (11-1) vs. Saginaw Nouvel (11-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 2:30 PM at Central Michigan University
Pewamo-Westphalia (12-0) vs. Hudson (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Vicksburg H.S.
Saint Ignace LaSalle (12-0) vs. Fowler (10-2)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Thirlby Field, Traverse City
Mendon (12-0) vs. New Lothrop (12-0)
Game Time: Saturday, 11/19; 1:00 PM at Howell H.S.
It is now playoff time, which means I’ll be picking local playoff games for the next five weeks (well, I hope to). From now until the end of the playoffs, I will be making picks on ALL the games in the state. The first picks will be from the games within my seven county window (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, Saint Joseph and Van Buren) and will cover ALL games. For the playoffs, the games are in order by Division and District order.
Last Week: 6-0 (1.000)
Season: 296-74 (.800)
@ Zeeland West 38, Paw Paw 20 (7 PM, Friday): Paw Paw will take the road for the first time in the playoffs, but it comes at 11-0 and state-ranked Zeeland West. The Dux are quite possibly the favorite in Division 4 right now to win state, thanks in a large part to a ball-hogging Wing-T offense. The Dux possess two 900-yard rushers, a 700-yard rusher and a 450-yard rusher. They have also thrown for 600 more yards, too. All in all, Paw Paw has to hit everyone, EVERYONE. Paw Paw has scored 40 points per game this season. Zeeland West, 48 points. Favorite at home are the Dux.
@ Lansing Catholic 31, Dowagiac 21 (7 PM, Friday @ Holt): Dowagiac may have faced Parchment and Hopkins, but Lansing Catholic is a major step up in the competition level for the Chieftains. Not saying that Dowagiac can’t win, but they must step up the defensive effort. Why? Lansing Catholic has some big time players in their pass offense. Last week, 23-of-36 passing, 363 yards passing, five touchdowns. Since only scoring 21 in the opener, Catholic has scored 37, 52, 46, 61, 48, 49, 56, 55 and 50 points. Going for Dowagiac? They run a very similar offense and the fact Lansing Catholic has dug big holes early in games this playoff year (14-0 against Olivet, 21-0 against Portland). Dowagiac won’t let them unbury themselves.
@ Grass Lake 28, Constantine 27 (1 PM, Saturday): Another close one for Constantine this week, however, I see it on the losing end. If you consider Constantine has won 28-21 (over Hartford, Hartford threatened to pull an upset) and 37-30 in double overtime last week over Schoolcraft (Schoolcraft led 23-13 late in the fourth quarter), Constantine’s been challenged. All Grass Lake has done is start 11-0, score 30 or more points in seven games and beat two opponents twice. Constantine can win if their offense is solid. Grass Lake has given up 20 or more points in five games.
@ Pewamo-Westphalia 30, Watervliet 24 (1 PM, Saturday): I’m picking this as a “coin flip” and possible upset on the road this week for Watervliet. Why? I think Pewamo-Westphalia may have the athletes on offense, but defensively, they may have trouble covering the spread. Watervliet likes the fast pace, Pewamo-Westphalia likes to chew up clock. Watervliet can win if they score early and often, however, they have struggled early in games so far and Pewamo-Westphalia is not 11-0 for nothing. Pewamo-Westphalia wins based on home field, their stud run offense and the fact their defense has averaged just 8.5 points allowed through eleven games.
@ Mendon 38, Climax-Scotts 28 (1 PM, Saturday): Mendon, by far, is the more challenged team in this game in this postseason (hence, Muskegon Catholic Central last week). Climax-Scotts is a lethal playoff team, but you know heading into Mendon, if you don’t hit everyone on the field in green and white, you’re getting beat. Just ask the Crusaders. Twice they forgot about Chance Nightingale and twice, he had 50+ yard TD runs. Mendon wins at home.
REST OF THE STATE
@ Rockford 31, Grand Blanc 21
@ Detroit Catholic Central 38, Ann Arbor Pioneer 20
@ Utica Eisenhower 41, Walled Lake Central 14
@ Warren DeLaSalle 31, Detroit Cass Tech 28
@ Lowell 38, Fenton 28
@ Port Huron 28, Walled Lake Western 13
Birmingham Brother Rice 38, @ Southfield 17
Detroit Martin Luther King 41, @ Wyandotte Roosevelt 37
@ Mount Pleasant 31, East Lansing 24
East Grand Rapids 41, @ Holland 31
@ Battle Creek Harper Creek 37, Adrian 20
@ Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s 48, Linden 14
@ Comstock Park 34, Alma 30
@ Battle Creek Pennfield 41, Grosse Ile 30
Detroit Crockett 48, @ Marine City 41
@ Grand Rapids West Catholic 34, Menominee 31
@ Almont 28, Jackson Lumen Christi 14
Flint Powers Catholic 38, @ Hemlock 24
@ Iron Mountain 35, Morley-Stanwood 27
@ Ithaca 41, Montague 21
@ Warren Michigan Collegiate 38, Ecorse 10
@ Traverse City Saint Francis 27, Ispheming 22
@ Saginaw Nouvel 31, Harbor Beach 17
Hudson 38, @ Detroit Loyola 35
Crystal Falls Forest Park 38, @ Saint Ignace LaSalle 28
@ Fowler 24, Beal City 14
@ New Lothrop 38, Petersburg-Summerfield 14
It is now playoff time, which means I’ll be picking local playoff games for the next five weeks (well, I hope to). After the second round of the playoffs, I will begin making picks on ALL the games in the state. Until then, games posted will be within my seven county window (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, Saint Joseph and Van Buren) and will cover ALL games. For the playoffs, the games are in order by Division and District order.
Last Week: 13-4 (.765)
Season: 290-74 (.797)
@ Paw Paw 31, Plainwell 17: After Plainwell’s shocking win over Edwardsburg, Paw Paw may have got the opening it needed to get to Regionals. Plainwell, however, poses a stern test. Paw Paw won the regular season battle, giving up only a safety, in a 21-2 decision. While I see more points, home field favors Paw Paw. The Redskins SHOULD win, but if Paw Paw can’t stop the rush (Plainwell had 489 yards rushing last week), could be a different story.
@ Dowagiac 34, Hopkins 24: It’s Dowagiac’s game to win at home. However, Hopkins poses a opposing test at 7-3 overall (1-3 outside of conference). However, Dowagiac is a stronger test than Berrien Springs (Lakeland curse, huh?). Both teams pose a offensive dual-threat (pass/rush), however, I feel Hopkins defense is a little more vulnerable to the big play then Dowagiac. The Chieftains should keep the Vikings in check.
@ Constantine 28, Schoolcraft 20: Yes, after much and much flip-flopping, I’m taking the Falcons at home in this one. Sure, the score above is just one point difference from the week nine 28-21 Constantine win and I believe it will still be THAT close. Schoolcraft’s plan of attack to win is to wear down the Constantine defense. It was showing cracks last week against Hartford. Only problem? Constantine’s offense should show back up after a sub-par Hartford performance.
@ Watervliet 34, Lawton 14: This all Southwestern Athletic Conference district gets a champion this week–and it should be Watervliet. This game was a 33-0 road win for Watervliet in the regular season and those were in tumultuous conditions (delayed one day, then windy the next day). Watervliet struggled to find early traction against Decatur, where it was a 0-0 game after three and a 6-0 Decatur lead in the fourth. Knowing it is a big game, Watervliet steps up.
@ Mendon 24, Muskegon Catholic Central 21: The “WOW” factor is this game, this week. Why? Both of these teams will, most likely, be playing favorite for the state title this week. Mendon wants it worse than Catholic Central in this one. Why? Two straight regional final losses to Hudson. A packed John Schwartz Field. And a desire to put those two road losses behind them, gives them more than enough desire to win. Besides, Saugatuck, without Brad Speet last week, wasn’t the Saugatuck from this season.
@ Climax-Scotts 24, Pittsford 17: Second straight match up for Climax-Scotts with teams from the Southern Central Athletic Association, this time, it’s Pittsford. Like I said last week, Climax-Scotts always, ALWAYS finds ways to win playoff time. Last week, they didn’t play their best, winning 30-16. This game between these two teams was 20-14 (Climax-Scotts win) in the regular season and the point spread shouldn’t be much more than that, but the win? It stays with the Panthers.
This week, I am posting a “look back” Blog at the previous week of Playoff action. This post will include my thoughts of games across the state and take a look at all eight divisions. These thoughts will include major upsets, previous weeks games of the week and a look ahead to big games during the next round of action. I hope you enjoy reading these Blogs and getting my insight on the postseason action!
Look Back at Week One: Last week in Division 1 saw very little in the way of upsets in all honesty. The only game you can look back at with any “upset” potential was the Dearborn/Dearborn Fordson game. However, Fordson had already defeated Dearborn once during the regular season, so even though Fordson was 5-4, you see why it wasn’t such an upset.
Game(s) of the Week: Two games stood out as Games of the Week in Division 1 last week, both of which went three overtimes or more. At Grand Blanc, the Bobcats stayed the course, beating Holt in five overtimes after Holt failed to score in the ninth frame, 59-52. Another overtime game happened between Troy Athens and Romeo, where the visitors got the better end of the scoreboard in the end, scoring a touchdown over a field goal in the seventh frame (third OT), beating Troy Athens, 34-31.
Game(s) of this Week: This week sees two standout games. One of my selections is Grand Blanc (8-2) and Midland (9-1), because I would like to see how Grand Blanc responds to a solid Midland team after a five overtime performance. The other game is Detroit Catholic Central (10-0) and Canton (8-2). Canton usually performs very well come playoff time, however, Detroit Catholic Central is a proven champion, as they were state champions, themselves, just a few years ago. EARLY FAVORITES: Midland, Detroit Catholic Central
Look Back at Week One: Most teams that were considered game “favorites” survived to this week, but two games of significance stood out to me. Both were road wins. Rochester Adams survived 26-20 over Oxford, paying back an overtime Oxford win in the regular season match up. The other game was Southfield going on the road to Birmingham Groves and pounded them, 53-6. The most lop-sided win by a road team this past week.
Game(s) of the Week: The really only close game in Division 2 last week occurred in Bay City last week, where Okemos scored with 48 seconds left in the game to defeat Bay City Western, 46-43. Bay City Western jumped out to a huge lead in the game, only for Okemos to respond with a rally of its own.
Game(s) of this Week: I have two games of the week in Division 2 this week, as well. My first game is pitting defending state champion Farmington Hills Harrison (10-0) against Birmingham Brother Rice (6-4). State followers will know there is no love lost between John Harrison and Al Fracassa and this one should be a classic, despite the records. The other game is Lowell (9-1) against Muskegon (8-2). These two teams have played some classic playoff games in the past and this one should be no exception. Both these teams come to play playoff time. EARLY FAVORITES: Farmington Hills Harrison, Lowell
Look Back at Week One: The only major upset coming to mind in week one of the playoffs in Division 3 was Adrian, who got into the playoffs on playoff points after finishing 5-4 on the season, came from behind; down 21-7, to upset 8-1 Carleton Airport, 28-21. Otherwise, no major upsets were seen, as many of the games in the division pitted even teams together.
Game(s) of the Week: One game stands out as the game of the week this week in Division 3 and that was between East Lansing and Saint Johns. Separated by just around 10-15 miles, these two teams battled back and forth, with no great big lead all night. But in the end, East Lansing scored 14 points in the games final two minutes and held on and beat the Red Wings, 49-42.
Game(s) of this Week: I have three games of the week on tap in Division 3. The first is Mount Pleasant (10-0) taking on Petoskey (9-1). Mount Pleasant has gotten here three straight years, while Petoskey, whose only loss was to Edwardsburg, isn’t here so often. Upset? Also, a rematch of a 50-49 shootout just a few weeks back returns to the fold as Grand Rapids Christian (10-0) faces East Grand Rapids (7-3). These teams have played classics the last two meetings between them. Also, Battle Creek Harper Creek (10-0) takes on Mason (9-1). Harper Creek played in the strong SMAC East, while Mason has won nine straight in a tougher conference. EARLY FAVORITES: Mount Pleasant, Grand Rapids Christian, Mason
Look Back at Week One: Most teams held home field advantage, but one Division Four favorite did not. Defending state semi-finalist Edwardsburg, queued to get to state this year, fell victim of the “Lakeland Conference” bug. Pitted at home against 6-3 Plainwell, Edwardsburg led once all night long, 9-7 in the first quarter, but a 21 spot in the second quarter was the difference. Despite scoring 32 in the second half, the Eddies fell short, 57-48.
Game(s) of the Week: Two games stood out to me as great games in Division 4 last week. Detroit Crockett and Detroit Country Day played a classic Detroit power game, with Crockett holding off Country Day, 13-12. Second year in a row Detroit Country Day leaves in the first round. Also, defending state champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central needed a late field goal in the games waning minutes to hold off a vicious Hudsonville Unity Christian upset bid, going on to win 32-30.
Game(s) of this Week: Three games of the week this week, in my view, in Division 4. The first game pits Zeeland West (10-0) versus Grand Rapids Catholic Central (8-2). This is a rematch of a regional final match up last year, which was won by Grand Rapids Catholic Central, on their way to a state title. The second game features Battle Creek Pennfield (10-0) against Lansing Sexton (7-3). Looking at Sexton’s record, you may not see this as a game of the week, but Sexton was this same record last year and went to the regional final. The final game fits Marine City and Pontiac Notre Dame (10-0). Can’t beat picking a 10-0 vs. 10-0 as a Game of the Week, can you? EARLY FAVORITES: Zeeland West, Battle Creek Pennfield, Pontiac Notre Dame
Look Back at Week One: Only one upset comes to mind in week one of the Division 5 playoffs. Only one home team lost, in Berrien Springs. The Shamrocks jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, only to see visiting Hopkins score the next 28 points, leading the 6-3 Vikings to a 35-20 victory over host Berrien Springs, who came in 7-2.
Game(s) of the Week: The best game of the week in Division 5 came from Hemlock and Carrollton. Former rivals in a former conference, these two battled their way to a 14-14 tie after four quarters of play. Hemlock led at half, 14-0, before Carrollton battled back in the third quarter. In overtime, however, it was Hemlock’s two yard touchdown run that was the difference, as they defeated Carrollton, 21-14.
Game(s) of this Week: Two games stand out in Division 5 this week. The first game is Reed City (10-0) versus defending state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-2). Reed City hasn’t played a level of competition that matches West Catholic, plus, West Catholic is the defending state champions, minus a few pieces of the puzzle. The other game pits Millington (10-0) versus Flint Powers Catholic (6-4). Again, 6-4 as a Game of the Week? Well, Flint Powers Catholic did play one, if not the toughest, schedules this fall and went 5-4. That sets them up well for an upset. EARLY FAVORITES: Grand Rapids West Catholic, Flint Powers Catholic
Look Back at Week One: Not many upsets in Division 6, but the one I could find was a huge road win for Morley-Stanwood over Shelby. Both teams came in at 8-1 and were ranked in their respective divisions polls at seasons end. Morley-Stanwood took a 10-7 lead on a field goal with two seconds remaining (both teams were tied 7-7 after first quarter TD’s), but on the ensuing kickoff, Shelby used two laterals, only to be stopped near the goal line by Morley-Stanwood, who escaped, 10-7.
Game(s) of the Week: Two games stand out in my mind as Games of the Week in Division 6. One is the Hartford/Constantine game. A battle all day, Constantine needed a goal line stop on four downs to keep Hartford from pulling an upset. In the end, they did, winning 28-21. The other game was between Leslie and Manchester. Manchester led all night, leading 22-8 at half and led with a minute to go, when Leslie hit a 80-yard bomb pass to win the game, 34-32.
Game(s) of this Week: Two games of the week in Division 6 this week. The first pits West Michigan Conference rivals Muskegon Oakridge (9-1) against Montague (8-2). Both are postseason powers and both have a chance to take state year-after-year. They played once in the regular season, which was an Oakridge win, 21-20, after Oakridge scored and got two points with :8.4 seconds left in the game. In the other game, it is Montrose (10-0) and Ithaca (10-0). Again, how can’t you pick a 10-0 vs. 10-0, other than the fact one is the defending state champion and the other is a former state champion? EARLY FAVORITES: Montague, Ithaca
Look Back at Week One: Only one upset as well in Division 7 this past week. And it belonged to Blanchard Montabella, on the road at Burton Bendle. Bendle led 14-8 in the second quarter and was looking a victory straight in the face. But those hopes were dashed when Blanchard Montabella scored the games next 22 points to score a 38-22 road win.
Game(s) of the Week: Two games of the week stood out to me in week one in Division 7. The first saw unbeaten Mancelona get tested by Whittemore-Prescott. Despite early success, Prescott couldn’t contain the Mancelona running attack, as Mancelona survived, 16-14. The other game was unbeaten Union City beating Sand Creek in another barn burner, 13-7. Union City had to rely on defense much of the game, as their usually high-octane offense faltered.
Game(s) of this Week: Believe it or not, FOUR games this week in Division 7 stand out. First, it’s Traverse City Saint Francis (8-2) against Mancelona (10-0). Traverse City Saint Francis always is a threat when in the playoffs and if Mancelona plays like they did first half last week, no contest. The next game pits Harbor Beach (10-0) against Reese (9-1). Tough to pick a favorite not seeing them, but Reese did have a slightly tougher schedule. The next game is Union City (10-0) against Hudson (10-0). Both unbeaten, but Hudson is the defending state champions, remember that? And the final game pits Detroit Loyola (10-0) against Royal Oak Shrine (9-1). Another battle in the Detroit area. Expect fireworks. EARLY FAVORITES: Traverse City Saint Francis, Reese, Hudson, Detroit Loyola
Look Back at Week One: Two upsets reigned in Division 8 last week in football action. The first really could be considered a “non-upset” but Beal City did go on the road at 6-3 and knock off Johannesburg-Lewiston and spoiled Coach John Bush’s first playoff appearance, 43-20. The other upset was Melvindale ABT, at 5-4, beating Westland Lutheran quite handily, 46-14, on the road.
Game(s) of the Week: Two games of the week last week in Division 8. The first was a battle of the “Yoopers”, as Crystal Falls Forest Park and Stephenson put on a scoring show. The game ended with 93 points, YES 93 POINTS, between two rushing attacks. In the end, it was the postseason experience of Bill Santilli’s club getting the better of the points, 50-43. The other game saw Ubly (not U-G-L-Y) taking on Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Another back and forth battle saw Ubly take a 22-15 win.
Game(s) of this Week: Two games stand out this week in Division 8. Once again, Crystal Falls Forest Park (8-1) and Felch North Dickinson (8-1) square off. Pretty even match up here. And in the other game, it could be the state champion coming out of this game, as Mendon (10-0) hosts Muskegon Catholic Central (9-1). These teams have battled before. No love lost here, but a lot of blood, sweat and tears have been lost. Saturday’s game–no different. EARLY FAVORITES: Crystal Falls Forest Park, Mendon