Playoffs: Pre-Districts in Review
December 13, 2011
A total of 272 MHSAA playoff football teams has been cut in half heading into this weekend's District finals. Here's one take on the highlights from the opening weekend of the postseason – and a look at some matchups to watch as we move on to the next round.
See a game or a highlight I should've mentioned? Post below and let us know. And click here for results, schedules and more.
DIVISON 1: Canton 24, Plymouth 21 – These schools are located about five football throws from each other, and were ranked adjacently in the final Associated Press state poll; Canton was No. 6 and Plymouth was No. 5. Three weeks earlier, Plymouth beat Canton 31-30. Plymouth also knocked Canton out last season.
DIVISION 2: Rochester Adams 26, Oxford 20 – Rochester Adams has more experience this time of year, with 15 straight playoff appearances, while Oxford was making its first since 2008. But thanks to a 22-16 win over Adams on Sept. 30, Oxford was ranked No. 6 (Adams was unranked) and home for this one, which qualifies this as an upset.
DIVISION 3: Adrian 28, Carleton Airport 21 – This gets the upset tag as well, with Carleton Airport entering No. 8 in Division 3 and Adrian unranked. The Maples had snuck into the playoffs at 5-4 and after losing their regular-season finale by 14 to Traverse City West.
DIVISION 4: Detroit Crockett 13, Detroit Country Day 12 – Country Day opened with a 12-0 lead, but Crockett – ranked No. 5 – emerged with a Pre-District win for the third straight season. Crockett also downed Country Day in last season’s District final.
DIVISION 5: Hemlock 21, Carrollton 14 (OT) – These former Tri-Valley Conference West league mates needed overtime to settle their Pre-District game. Hemlock finished the regular season among those getting votes in Division 6 before moving into 5 for the postseason.
DIVISION 6: Morley Stanwood 10, Shelby 7 – Maybe the finish of the night (see explanation and link below). Also a notable upset, as Shelby was ranked No. 6 heading in – although both were 8-1 during the regular season.
DIVISION 7: Iron River West Iron County 26, Ironwood 22 – These two actually aren’t that close to each other, in case you’re wondering from their communities' similar iron-themed names. But they are league rivals going back decades, and West Iron made up for last season’s loss to Ironwood with two wins this fall – by four points this time and five when they met in mid-September.
DIVISION 8: Muskegon Catholic 28, Saugatuck 0 – This game had statewide eyes watching, with Muskegon Catholic tied for the top spot in the final state poll and No. 5 Saugatuck the reigning state runner-up.
8-PLAYER: Bellaire 76, Akron-Fairgrove 58 – The number players on the field might be fewer, but the number of points frequently are more in the 8-player game.
8: Number of overtimes, combined, needed to decide two Division I games. Romeo needed five to outlast Troy Athens 34-31, and Grand Blanc downed Holt 59-52 in three overtimes.
1: Total playoff victories for Holland High, thanks to a 27-16 win over Stevensville Lakeshore in Division 3. This was Holland's second playoff game ever.
111: Number of points combined scored by Grand Blanc and Holt, which ranks 14th in the MHSAA football record book for most points scored by two teams in a game in which the losing team finished with at least 40.
13: Number of straight seasons Marine City has led off the playoffs with a win, going back to 1999, and including this fall’s 45-21 victory against Croswell-Lexington. Marine City was ranked No. 1 in Division 4 and Croswell-Lexington was No. 8.
MORE FANTASTIC FINISHES
Walled Lake Central 20, Lake Orion 17 – A fake punt followed by a 15-yard penalty eventually turned into a 20-yard winning field goal by Bryan Maxwell – and the defeat of last season’s Division 1 state champion. (Read more in the Detroit Free Press).
Temperance Bedford 28, Brighton 20 – Brighton jumped to a 20-0 lead in this Division 1 game. But Temperance Bedford quarterback Aaron Czesak ran for 133 of his 164 yards during the second half including the 27-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to give his team its final advantage. (Find out more in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus).
Morley Stanwood 10, Shelby 7 – This was named above, but worth mentioning a second time in more detail. After Morley-Stanwood took the lead with a field goal with 2 seconds to play, Shelby brought the kickoff back to inside the Mohawks’ 1-yard line – but didn’t cross it. (Read about it in Muskegon Chronicle).
Crystal Falls Forest Park 50, Stephenson 43 – The score itself means it was a wild night. (Find out the details in the Iron County Reporter.)
UP NEXT – DISTRICT FINALS
DIVISION 1: Canton (8-2) at Detroit Catholic Central (9-1) – By beating its closest rival, Canton earned a shot at No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central. DCC knocked Canton out in 2009.
DIVISION 2: Muskegon (8-2) at Lowell (9-1) – The Red Arrows are ranked No. 2 and Muskegon is No. 3. They’ve met in the playoffs the last three seasons, with the winner of this matchup twice eventually claiming a state title.
DIVISION 3: East Grand Rapids (7-3) at Grand Rapids Christian (10-0) – Their meeting two weeks ago – a 50-49 Eagles win – was arguably the most hyped regular-season game west of I-75. East Grand Rapids is No. 9 and Grand Rapids Christian is ranked No. 2.
DIVISION 4: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (10-0) at Marine City (10-0) – These are two of four undefeated teams left among the top six in this state poll, with Marine City entering No. 1 and Notre Dame Prep No. 6 – and coming off a win over No. 7 Marysville last week.
DIVISION 5: Portland (9-1) at Lansing Catholic (10-0) – These two determined the CAAC White title Oct. 8, a game the top-ranked Cougars won 42-24. But if No. 3 Portland has figured out a way to at least slow Lansing Catholic quarterback Cooper Rush, the rematch could be much closer.
DIVISION 6: Ithaca (10-0) at Montrose (10-0) – Ithaca is No. 1 and Montrose is No. 2, and that right there is enough to make this arguably the biggest game of the weekend in any division. Throw in that the Yellowjackets are the reigning state champions and are riding a 24-game winning streak – and that Montrose’s last loss was to Ithaca in last season’s Regional final – and it gets that much more intriguing.
DIVISION 7: Royal Oak Shrine (9-1) at Detroit Loyola (10-0) – This might not look like as great a matchup given Loyola’s 40-0 Prep Bowl win over Shrine just two weeks ago. But Shrine still hung on to a No. 10 ranking to start the playoffs; Loyola came in No. 2.
DIVISION 8: Muskegon Catholic Central (9-1) at Mendon (10-0) – Arguably the state’s toughest District closes with a final matching the two teams that finished the regular season tied for the No. 1 spot in the state poll. The only things separating these two are a Muskegon Catholic loss (to a Class A school) and Mendon’s receiving one more top-spot vote from the Associated Press’ five-person panel.
8-PLAYER: Eben Junction Superior Central (8-2) at Rapid River (9-1) – Of the eight teams remaining in the 8-player tournament, these two had the fourth and third-highest playoff points, respectively, at the end of the regular season.
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 25, 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 16-19 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.