A Game for Every Fan: Playoffs Week 2
November 5, 2015
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Emotions run high by nature during the football playoffs. But this weekend’s schedule of 11-player District Finals and 8-player Regional Finals is especially charged.
Rivalry games dominate this second round of the postseason as teams that competed for league titles meet again for another trophy – or in the case of Division 8, contenders for an MHSAA title a few years ago find themselves on the field together again.
See below for some of the most intriguing from this week’s list, and follow all weekend on the MHSAA Score Center for results as they come in and updated brackets. Watch as well four games at once Friday on Fox Sports Detroit’s Prep Zone, and catch another marquee matchup live on MHSAA.tv with subscription. All games below are Friday unless noted.
Romeo (9-1) at Lapeer (10-0)
Lapeer is 20-1 in two seasons as a program after the merger of the former Lapeer West and East in 2014. Its lone loss was by three in last fall’s District Final to eventual champion Clarkston – and after the Lightning beat Romeo by eight in the playoff opener. Romeo earned this rematch by ending Clarkston’s reign last week, but its defense – giving up a meager 6.5 points per game – should receive its toughest challenge since Lapeer put up 23 last season.
Others that caught my eye: Brighton (9-1) at Grand Ledge (10-0), Hudsonville (7-3) at Rockford (7-3), Ann Arbor Pioneer (7-3) at Saline (9-0), Utica Eisenhower (7-3) at Macomb Dakota (8-2), Saturday.
Muskegon (8-2) at Muskegon Mona Shores (10-0), Saturday
This gets higher billing than the matchup below between undefeated teams because it might be the state’s most anticipated game regardless of division. More than 10,000 fans watched Mona Shores’ 21-18 win over the Big Reds in Week 8, and an additional few thousand are anticipated for Saturday’s 5 p.m. kickoff. Last time, Mona Shores jumped out to a 21-3 third-quarter lead before Muskegon came back with two scores during the fourth. This one should stay closer from the start.
Others that caught my eye: Midland Dow (9-1) at Fenton (9-1), Birmingham Groves (10-0) at Walled Lake Western (10-0), Detroit East English (8-2) at Grosse Pointe South (7-3), Southfield (7-3) at Berkley (8-2).
Edwardsburg (10-0) at St. Joseph (9-1)
The Eddies already scored one for the Wolverine B Conference over the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference by eliminating Stevensville Lakeshore last week. Now they get SMAC West co-champ St. Joseph, and on the road. The Bears’ only loss this season was to Lakeshore, by a pair of scores in Week 4, but they closed the regular season with three wins over playoff teams over the final month.
Others that caught my eye: Zealand East (7-3) at East Grand Rapids (7-3), St. Johns (7-3) at DeWitt (9-1), Chelsea (9-1) at Trenton (9-1), Vicksburg (8-2) at Coldwater (10-0).
Comstock Park (8-2) at Ada Forest Hills Eastern (9-1)
Forest Hills Eastern can take the next step in a record-setting season that’s already seen the Hawks win their most games ever and first in the playoffs – and come within three points of being undefeated. Offense should reign. Forest Hills Eastern runs well and Comstock Park gave up more than 200 yards to Swan Valley’s leading rusher last week, and the Panthers are dangerous throwing and running and could find some gaps in an FHE defense giving up 19 points per game.
Others that caught my eye: Benton Harbor (6-4) at Zeeland West (10-0), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (8-2) at Richmond (9-1), Big Rapids (7-3) at Remus Chippewa Hills (8-2), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood (9-1) at Detroit Country Day (9-1), Saturday.
Lansing Catholic (9-1) at Portland (10-0)
This either will be the first and only loss for a Portland team seeking its second MHSAA championship in four seasons, or final game for a Lansing Catholic group that came within five points of winning Division 5 a year ago – and will graduate University of Minnesota quarterback recruit Tony Poljan. Portland won their regular-season matchup 28-6 in Week 4, but can’t expect the Cougars to repeat an uncharacteristic four turnovers. They’ve both been impressive since; Lansing Catholic entered the postseason with wins over playoff teams Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central by a combined 77-23, while Portland allowed only Marshall to come closer than 22 points and held a record-setting Stockbridge offense to only 18 last week.
Others that caught my eye: Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-2) at Reed City (10-0), Frankenmuth (9-1) at Freeland (10-0), Berrien Springs (9-1) at Buchanan (10-0), Almont (8-2) at Algonac (9-1).
Montague (10-0) vs. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (10-0) at Comstock Park
The Wildcats have nearly come all the way back to their former roost among the elite after going 2-7 a year ago. But NorthPointe Christian provides a substantial obstacle as Montague pursues its first District title since 2011. NorthPointe’s only loss in the last 19 games came last season in an MHSAA Semifinal, and it’s giving up only 7.6 points per game.
Others that caught my eye: Sanford Meridian (10-0) at Ithaca (10-0), Jackson Lumen Christi (7-3) at Manchester (9-1), Clinton (10-0) at Madison Heights Madison (9-1), Calumet (8-2) at Boyne City (9-1), Saturday.
Flint Beecher (7-2) at New Lothrop (10-0)
Beecher easily is the smallest school on its side of the Genesee Area Conference, the only Class C school in a Red group of otherwise all Class B. This matchup will satisfy some curiosity, as New Lothrop hasn’t lost a game in the Class C-dominated GAC Blue since 2009 – and in Week 8 defeated Flint Hamady 49-0. Beecher just edged Hamady 30-28 to open the playoffs last week.
Others that caught my eye: Saugatuck (10-0) at Pewamo-Westphalia (10-0), Class City (8-2) at Sandusky (10-0), Dansville (9-1) at Homer (8-2), Cassopolis (8-2) at Bridgman (9-1).
Muskegon Catholic Central (7-2) at Beal City (9-1), Saturday
One of these two has played in the Division 8 Final the last three seasons, and they met in the 2013 championship game, a 35-12 MCC win. This Crusaders’ team has a much different lineup than the one that won back-to-back championships the last two seasons, but new players gained valuable experience in losses to Division 5 Muskegon Oakridge and Division 4 Detroit Country Day. Beal City has a few who were part of the 2013 loss, setting this up as a potential classic as they seek a different result.
Others that caught my eye: Onekama (9-1) at Frankfort (8-2), Crystal Falls Forest Park (6-3) vs. Bark River-Harris (8-2) at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome, Ottawa Lake Whiteford (8-2) at Morenci (8-2), St. Ignace (9-1) at Johannesburg-Lewiston (9-1).
Lawrence (8-2) at Battle Creek St. Philip (10-0)
St. Philip regained the upper hand on Lawrence in Week 9 after three straight losses – and now has to keep it as the favorite to follow Lawrence as the 8-player champion. St. Philip won that meeting two weeks ago only 47-44 but led by 14 points halfway through the first quarter and by 15 points heading into the fourth. Lawrence obviously can score quickly, meaning this one should again come down to the final minutes.
Other Regional Finals: Rapid River (7-3) at Powers North Central (10-0), Cedarville (8-2) at Posen (10-0), Deckerville (9-1) at Morrice (9-1).
PHOTO: Lapeer has 20 wins over the last two seasons, including against Saginaw Heritage this fall. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 27, 2023
The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.
The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.
Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.
“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”
Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.
All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.
MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.
“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”
The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.