State playoff preview: State Champs! looks at Division 3 and Division 4
The Division 3 playoffs are rather cut and dry if one is looking for which teams will make the final.
There’s plenty of drama if you are looking for the team that win district and regional title, however.
Muskegon should make it to Ford Field again to play Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a rematch of the 2014 final won by St. Mary’s.
Even if St. Mary’s loses to Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday the Eaglets are almost assured of making the playoffs as an additional qualifier. Four of the teams (Birmingham Brother Rice, Detroit Loyola, Warren De La Salle and U-D Jesuit) they defeated this season all should win easily this weekend giving the Eaglets more than enough playoff points to get in.
St. Mary’s will likely play Allen Park is a region final and Chelsea in a semifinal. It’s possible Allen Park could get upset by Dearborn Divine Child in the districts. It’s happened before.
Mason could give Chelsea a tussle in the districts and after that a representative from the Flint Metro League, Fenton for example, could provide a test in the regionals.
In Muskegon’s region (1), DeWitt is the team to watch if you’re looking for a dark horse. DeWitt’s only loss was to Division 1 Grand Ledge (by seven) and the Panthers have been around the block once or twice. Muskegon would have to turn the ball over two or three times for DeWitt to pull off the upset.
In Region 2 the picture isn’t so clear. Zeeland West is not the Zeeland West we’ve been accustomed to seeing. This is not to say West can’t win this region. It’s just not a sure thing.
Teams like Vicksburg, Coldwater, Edwardsburg, Stevensville Lakeshore and St. Joseph are all quality teams that can play well on any given night to win a tight game.
In Division 4 the Region 4 final between Detroit Country Day and River Rouge should be a dandy. Look for that winner to reach the final out of the east bracket. River Rouge made it to the Division 5 final last season and Country Day has made it to seven finals winning three times.
Region 3 could see a rematch of Lake Fenton-Corunna (Lake Fenton won the first meeting) in a district final. The team to look for to advance and play the River Rouge-Country Day winner is Marysville. The Vikings have had some close games this season but that will only help them at this time of year.
Region 1 is all Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
In Region 2 Hudsonville Unity Christian is likely the popular pick, and rightly so. Unity Christian’s T-formation offense is suited for the playoffs. But the wild card here is Benton Harbor. The Tigers are undefeated but haven’t played a rugged schedule. This is part of the reason why they are such a wild card. The best team they played was Division 2 Traverse City West (21-16). A Unity Christian-Benton Harbor region final would be quite entertaining.