With Labor Day behind us, all Michigan high schools are back in session – and just in time for league competition to begin for several conferences across the state.
Bay & Thumb
Armada (2-0) at Croswell-Lexington (2-0)
The way this season has begun – and the way last season ended – makes this matchup look like a potential title-decider in the Blue Water Area Conference. Croswell-Lexington was last year champion, thanks in part to holding off co-runner-up Armada 30-14 in the final game on the league schedule. The Pioneers have outscored their first two opponents this fall by a combined 95-14, while Armada made a loud statement immediately with a 28-27 season-opening win over Marine City, last season’s Division 5 runner-up.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Marlette (2-0) at Ubly (2-0), Grand Blanc (1-1) at Saginaw Heritage (2-0), Traverse City Central (1-1) at Davison (1-1), Hemlock (1-1) at Millington (2-0).
Livonia Churchill (1-1) at Belleville (2-0)
Belleville is off to another strong start this fall coming off last season’s Division 1 championship. But tonight’s matchup could help the Tigers do one better this fall in their repeat attempt. Churchill last season won the Week 3 meeting 28-21, handing Belleville its first regular-season loss since 2016 and only loss of 2021. But the Chargers must bounce back quickly to make this game another classic after seeing a seven-game winning streak against Westland John Glenn end with a 21-20 loss last week.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Clarkston (1-1) at Rochester Adams (2-0), Utica Eisenhower (2-0) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (2-0), DeWitt (2-0) at Detroit Catholic Central (1-1), Warren Michigan Collegiate (2-0) at Detroit Country Day (2-0).
Fowler (2-0) at Bath (2-0)
The Bees are off to their best start since 2017, already avenging one loss from when the team finished 2-7 a year ago. But this matchup could tell a lot more about where Bath is headed in 2022. The Bees fell to Fowler 47-14 last season and will be seeking to break a five-game losing streak to the Eagles. Fowler has opened with wins over 2021 playoff qualifiers Carson City-Crystal and Petersburg Summerfield, both by 20-plus points.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Saginaw Nouvel (2-0) at Ithaca (1-1), Fowlerville (1-1) at Mason (2-0), Pewamo-Westphalia (1-1) at Dansville (2-0), Durand (2-0) at Ovid-Elsie (1-1).
Northern Lower Peninsula
St. Ignace (2-0) at Frankfort (2-0)
The Saints own one of the best rebound stories of the early going after finishing 2-7 a year ago and winning one game in 2020. They’ve outscored their first opponents by a combined 74-6. Granted, both opponents are winless so far this season and were winless last year as well, but Frankfort will give St. Ignace a better idea how it measures up in what should be a super-competitive Northern Michigan Football League Legacy division. The Panthers have followed their best finish (6-4) since 2017 with a pair of big victories including last week over 2021 playoff qualifier Mancelona.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Mount Pleasant (2-0) at Cadillac (1-1), Boyne City (2-0) at Grayling (1-1), Charlevoix (2-0) at Mancelona (1-1), Bay City Western (1-1) at Traverse City West (1-1).
Southeast & Border
Napoleon (2-0) at Manchester (2-0), Saturday
This Saturday showdown presents some interesting possibilities as both look to rise in the Cascades Conference. Napoleon was a contender into October last season before losing the final two games on the league schedule, but was in play in part thanks to a 20-18 win over Manchester in Week 3. The Flying Dutchmen have factored into the race a couple of times since their league title season of 2015, and edged reigning Cascades champion Addison 29-26 last week to re-enter the mix.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grosse Ile (2-0) at Milan (1-1), Hanover-Horton (1-1) at Addison (1-1), Hastings (1-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (0-2), Centreville (1-1) at Sand Creek (1-1).
Lawton (2-0) at Constantine (1-1)
Lawton is off to another solid start coming off last season’s run to the Division 7 championship game, and additionally the Blue Devils have won 12 straight regular-season games and 25 of their last 26. All but two of those 25 wins were by double digits – with the lone loss to Schoolcraft in 2020 – but Lawton also hasn’t played Constantine since 2017. The Falcons saw their 15-game regular-season winning streak end with a 22-20 loss to reigning Division 8 champion Hudson last week. Before that, no regular-season opponent had come within single digits of catching Constantine since the second game of 2020.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Schoolcraft (2-0) at Kalamazoo United (2-0), Battle Creek Lakeview (1-0) at Portage Central (0-2), Plainwell (2-0) at Sturgis (1-1), Allegan (2-0) at Berrien Springs (2-0).
Gladstone (2-0) at Menominee (1-1)
The Maroons regained the Great Northern Conference title last season, sharing it with Kingsford, but earned that claim also because they were able to survive a 35-34 challenge from Gladstone. Menominee has won three straight in this series, but is coming off a rough outing last week against an opponent from Illinois. Gladstone, meanwhile, is off to its third 2-0 start in four seasons but looking to get to 3-0 for the first time since 2017. There’s a little more reason for excitement this time though – both of those first two wins came against 2021 league champions.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Houghton (2-0) at Iron Mountain (1-1), Cheboygan (1-1) at Sault Ste. Marie (2-0), Ishpeming Westwood (0-2) at Calumet (0-2). SATURDAY Gaylord (2-0) at Marquette (0-2).
Zeeland East (0-2) at Zeeland West (2-0)
On first glance, this might not seem like much more than the next chapter in a rivalry. But there is some near-uniqueness to this rivalry – it’s one of the few in Michigan where the schools are next door to each other. West has won the last four meetings, including a matchup during the 2019 playoffs, and has rocketed to wins over Stevensville Lakeshore and Cedar Springs – two playoff teams from last season. East’s losses, however, also have come to 2021 playoff qualifiers – Williamston and Spring Lake – and the Chix lost to the Lakers by just seven points.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (2-0) at Byron Center (1-1), East Kentwood (1-1) at Grand Haven (1-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (2-0) at Spring Lake (1-1), Ludington (2-0) at Fremont (2-0).
Lake Linden-Hubbell (2-0) at Norway (2-0)
Two-time reigning Division 2 champion Powers North Central has set the pace lately in the Great Lakes Conference West. But the league is full of contenders. The Jets are ranked No. 1 this week, but Crystal Falls Forest Park is No. 3, Lake Linden-Hubbell is No. 5 and Norway could make its way into the Division 1 top 10 with a win over the Lakes. The Knights won last season’s meeting 30-8 and have opened this fall outscoring its first two opponents by a combined 102-12. Lake Linde-Hubbell’s margin is a similar 119-30.
Keep an eye on these FRIDAY Adrian Lenawee Christian (2-0) at Pittsford (2-0), Bridgman (2-0) at Mendon (1-1), Merrill (2-0) at Fulton (1-1). SATURDAY Marion (2-0) at Mesick (2-0).
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PHOTO: A trio of Muskegon defenders bring down an East Kentwood ball carrier during the Big Reds’ 20-14 season-opening win. (Photo by Tim Reilly.)
This week on STATE CHAMPS! Extra Point: Lorne Plant, Sydney Cariel and Devin Gardner recap the notable games from Week 6 and preview the marquee games going into Week 7.
1:46 - Davison vs. Walled Lake Western Recap
3:21 - Dexter vs. Ann Arbor Huron Recap
5:30 - South Christian vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central Recap
9:05 - Devin on the Rankings
10:37 - Livonia Franklin #17 in Rankings, Who to watch: Forest Hills Central
13:14 - De La Salle #3 in Rankings, Macomb Dakota #6 in Rankings
16:56 - Mr. Football Award
20:47 - DMC Gamechangers
22:05 - Anvil Award
25:51 - Week 7 Preview
28:28 - Romeo vs. Chippewa Valley - Game of the Week Preview