By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Football teams have represented Michigan high schools for more than a century, beginning long before the MHSAA was formed during the winter of 1924-25.
This weekend, nearly all of the 614 varsity teams scheduled to play this fall will kick off their seasons – and for a fortunate 18, start a journey that will last more than three months through the MHSAA Finals.
This will be the 40th season of the MHSAA football playoffs, which were first played with a much smaller field of teams in 1975. The field expanded to its current 256 11-player teams in 1999, and an 8-player tournament was added in 2011.
The above photo was taking during a 23-0 Muskegon victory over Escanaba during the 1989 Class A playoffs (senior Marcus Longmire celebrates scoring his team's second touchdown). The Big Reds advanced from this Pre-Regional game to face Midland, then Lansing Sexton, and finally Detroit Martin Luther King in the Class A Final – which Muskegon won 16-13.
The Big Reds have won five MHSAA titles total, and also made Finals the last three seasons, finishing runner-up in Division 2 in 2012 and 2013 and last season in Division 3 after falling 7-0 to Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
Ten unforgettable plays from the 2022 Football Finals (one from each division):
► Taegan Harris runs the kick back 94 yards in Martin's 74-24 win over Merrill in 8-Player Division 1.
► Jacob Gorzinksi throws a 33-yard touchdown pass to Luke Gorzinksi in Powers North Central's 66-26 win over Mendon in 8-Player Division 2.
► Shea Ruddy scores from seven yards out as Ottawa Lake Whiteford defeats Ubly 26-20 in Division 8.
► Derrick Walker scores from two yards out as Jackson Lumen Christi downs Traverse City St. Francis 15-12 in Division 7.
► Timmy Kloska propels Grand Rapids West Catholic to a 59-14 win over Negaunee thanks in part to this 61-yard touchdown run.
► Gladwin defeats Frankenmuth 10-7 in Division 5 on this field goal from Treyton Siegert with two seconds left.
► Jacob DeHaan scores from 54 yards out as Grand Rapids South Christian wins in Division 4, 28-0 over Goodrich.
► Detroit Martin Luther King repeats as Division 3 champ, defeating Muskegon 56-27 as Sterling Anderson scores from 80 yards out.
► Jack Yanachik catches the 38-yard touchdown pass from Brady Drogosh as Warren De La Salle Collegiate downs Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 52-13 in Division 2.
► Bryce Underwood keeps it 48 yards for the touchdown as Belleville defeats Caledonia 35-17 in Division 1.