In Play with Tom Markowski


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Predictions for the first round of the state playoffs: Rematches highlight the predistricts; Zeeland teams play consecutive weeks

By: Tom Markowski, October 26, 2017, 5:18 pm


It seems it’s what we’re stuck with in the first round of the state playoffs. Sometimes we get them in the second round, too.

Good? Bad? Indifferent? Until a change in the playoff format is made we have no choice but to swallow them.

Open wide now.

Let’s start at the top. Maestro? Hit it.


All game are Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted.

Division 1

Grandville (6-3) at Holland West Ottawa (8-1): The O-K Red Division was so balanced this season. It’s too bad East Kentwood, at 5-4, didn’t get a chance to compete. Grandville took it on the chin last week from West Ottawa, 34-18, and there’s no reason to believe West Ottawa has lost anything in the six days that followed. Pick: West Ottawa by 7.

Lapeer (6-3) at Davison (8-1), Sat., 1: Davison faced Lapeer the week after losing to Midland. The Cardinals were not in a good mood that evening and will be on a mission here. Look for Davison quarterback Cannon Hall to have a huge game. Pick: Davison by 8. 

Walled Lake Central (5-4) at White Lake Lakeland (6-2): Central defeated Lakeland, 20-13, in the season opener. It must seem like that game was played last season for these teams. Lakeland has averaged over 30 points since. Central has been on a slide since. Pick: Lakeland by 6. 

Warren Mott (5-4) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (8-1): Chippewa Valley blitzed Mott, 45-13, in week five. Mott quarterback Jake Dube did not play in that game due to an injury. If he’s available, Mott will make this game competitive. If not, expect the same result. Pick: Chippewa Valley by 10.

Bloomfield Hills (6-3) at West Bloomfield (7-2): These teams have a history, though brief. Bloomfield Hills is in its fifth season (after Andover and Lahser merged) and the Black Hawks are 1-3 against Bloomfield Hills. That victory occurred in week two this season, 28-24. Revenge is sweet. Pick: West Bloomfield by 12.


Division 3

Zeeland West (6-3) at Zeeland East (9-0) at Zeeland Stadium: Last week East defeated West, 28-8. That was the closest game the Chix have played this season. Pick: East by 11.

Grand Rapids Christian (7-2) at DeWitt (8-1): These team met in the season opener with Christian winning, 38-30. DeWitt has improved quite a bit since then. Not sure Christian has. Pick: DeWitt by 7.

Coldwater (6-3) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (9-0): Harper Creek has had some close games this season. One came against Coldwater, 17-7. Just a feeling here but after Coldwater defeated Traverse City West, 24-9, last week momentum could take hold. Pick: Coldwater by 5. .   

St Joseph at Stevensville Lakeshore (8-1): Lakeshore defeated St. Joseph, 14-6, in week four. These rivals have met eight times in the playoffs. Lakeshore has won five. Pick: Lakeshore by 3.

Redford Thurston (6-3) at Romulus (6-3) at Romulus Middle School: Romulus handed Thurston its only loss in the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue Division, 31-22. Romulus owns a 7-6 edge in this series. Pick: Thurston by 2.


Division 4

Coopersville (6-3) at Comstock Park (6-3): This is Coopersville first playoff game since 2008. Coopersville lost to Comstock Park, 42-27, in week three and the moment might be a bit too large for the Broncos. Pick: Comstock Park by 8. 

Wyoming Godwin Heights (7-2) at Wyoming Kelloggsville (9-0): Kelloggsville surprised Godwin Heights, 21-20, in week six at Godwin Heights. Revenge is sweet. Pick: Godwin Heights by 2.

Vicksburg (7-2) at Three Rivers (7-2): Vicksburg won at home last week, 30-20, over Three Rivers. It’s strange that Three Rivers has home field here as both teams play nine Wolverine Conference games. Vicksburg’s loss to Plainwell costs the Bulldogs home field. Pick: Three Rivers by 2.  

Milan (5-4) at Chelsea (8-1): Chelsea won at Milan, 27-7, in the season opener and the Bulldogs have been consistent on both sides of the ball. Pick: Chelsea by 12.

Detroit Mumford (6-3) at Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (6-3): Mumford won a wild one, 36-32, in the season opener. Chandler Park doesn’t really own a quality win. Pick: Mumford by 5.


Division 5

North Muskegon (6-3) at Muskegon Oakridge (7-2): Forget the two losses. Oakridge is a strong team. The Eagles beat North Muskegon, 42-14, in week two. Look for more of the same. Pick: Oakridge by 15.

Grant (6-3) at Newaygo (7-2): Newaygo lost to Grant, 32-19, last season and came back with a 20-6 victory this season. Newaygo beat Grant in the 2012 playoffs and look for a repeat performance. Newaygo by 5.

Carrollton (6-3) at Freeland (6-3): Two weeks ago Freeland got the better of Carrollton, 35-18. More of the same. Pick: Freeland by 9.

Ovid-Elsie (7-2) at Portland (8-1): Portland opened the season with a 26-17 victory at home against Ovid-Elsie. This won’t be easy for the Raiders. Pick: Portland by 8.


Division 6

Houghton Lake (6-3) at Harrison (6-3): Harrison won three weeks ago, 24-22. Flip a coin. Pick: Houghton Lake by 3.

Schoolcraft (5-4) at Watervliet (9-0): Watervliet defeated Schoolcraft by 22 points earlier but something tells me this will be closer. Pick: Watervliet by 8.


Division 7

McBain (7-2) at Lake City (9-0): McBain has played well since losing to Lake City, 28-8, on Sept. 8. This one could be a surprise. Pick: Lake City by 5.

Unionville-Sebewaing at Cass City (8-1): Cass City defeated USA, 18-14, on Sept. 15. You want an upset? Here’s one. Pick: USA by 3.

Union City (7-2) at Reading (7-2): Reading was by far the best team in the Big 8 Conference. Reading defeated Union City, which tied for second in the conference, 36-14. Pick: Reading by 12.


Division 8

Bark River-Harris (5-4) at Norway (8-1): The first game was fairly close as Norway slipped by the Broncos, 28-14. Pick: Norway by 15.

Hillman (5-4) at AuGres-Sims (8-0): This is AuGres second undefeated regular season. The Wolverines have never won a playoff game. AuGres defeated Hillman, 50-14, in week three. AuGres has never played Hillman in the playoffs until now. Pick: AuGres by 20.

Ubly (7-2) at Harbor Beach (8-1): These are the top two teams in the East Division of the Greater Thumb Conference. Harbor Beach won at Ubly, 26-14, two weeks ago. Pick: Harbor Beach by 9.

Athens (5-4) at Pittsford (8-1): Back on Oct. 6 Pittsford defeated Athens, 24-0. Pick: Pittsford by 16.

Petersburg-Summerfield (6-3) at Morenci (6-3): Last week Morenci defeated Summerfield, 40-28, at Summerfield. Morenci leads the series 31-16. Pick: Morenci by 14.

Waterford Lakes (6-2) at Clarkston Everest Collegiate (7-2): Everest defeated Lakes, 23-13, in midseason, and has been in the playoffs in all of the school’s five seasons competing at the varsity level. Last season the Mountaineers won their first playoff game. Pick: Everest by 4.  

Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (6-2) 50.556 at Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (6-3): Parkway finished second in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference behind Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest. Parkway defeated Oakland Christian, 25-13, to earn its second-place finish. Pick: Parkway by 6.


Last week’s record: 5-5

2017 record: 61-31