In Play with Tom Markowski


  • All

State playoffs difficult to predict as a number of underdogs have their day in the sun

By: Tom Markowski, November 8, 2015, 4:00 pm

’s your football playoff bracket looking?

Mine took a hit on Friday when two of the teams I picked to win state titles last. Montague got beat by Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian, 31-28, in Division 6 and, in a game I witnessed, Portland lost to Lansing Catholic Central, 21-14, in Division 5.

I can take some solace knowing that the Montague game was one of the top games of the weekend, a game that came down to the final minute of play.

Those weren’t the only casualties. Lapeer, a team I picked to reach the Division 1 final, was soundly beaten by Romeo, 34-14, and Muskegon Mona Shores, whom I picked to make a return trip to Ford Field, was defeated by Muskegon, 21-10, in Division 2.

There were also a number of teams which were expected to advance to the regional final or beyond that got upended.

DeWitt’s 42-28 loss to Saint Johns shocked many in mid-state. DeWitt had defeated Saint Johns by 28 points during the regular season.

Berkley’s 28-20 upset of Southfield in Division 2 places another feather in the cap of teams in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. For Berkley, it was the program’s first district title. A week earlier Birmingham Groves, also a member of the Blue, upset Farmington Hills Harrison, 10-0, in Division 2.

In the Grand Rapids area, Hudsonville Unity Christian’s 23-21 victory over Grand Rapids Catholic Central has to be considered a stunner. Many saw Catholic Central as one of the few teams that had a shot at defeating Zeeland West in Division 4.

And McBain’s 20-19 victory over Saginaw Nouvel in Division 7 had to open some eyes. It’s McBain second district title since 2001 when it reached the Division 6 final and lost to Schoolcraft. Nouvel had won nine straight and most of those victories were lopsided.

Finally there’s Constantine’s 49-48 victory over Watervliet in Division 6. Constantine (7-4) entered the playoffs as one of 40 teams with four losses. It beat Schoolcraft 31-28 in overtime in the first round. Schoolcraft defeated Constantine 42-24 during the regular season. Constantine lost to Watervliet 55-34 in midseason.

There’s sure to be more upsets this week. Will Detroit East English Village Prep take down mighty Detroit King? King slipped past East English 20-15 during the regular season. Does Constantine have another trick in its bag as it will play the underdog role once again when it faces unbeaten NorthPointe Christian?