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