In Play with Tom Markowski


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State Playoffs: Ithaca catches a break in Division 5, Cass Tech/CC a dream final matchup

By: Tom Markowski, October 25, 2016, 9:09 pm

As it turns out Snooze isn’t sleeping on the job after all.

Snooze, the guru of the football playoff pairings before the official pairings are released by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, was perfect in his assessment of every matchup in Division 7 and Division 8.

He was spot on in a number of regions and districts in the other six divisions but there were some discrepancies. And those discrepancies is where we will dissect as best we can.

Let’s start in Division 5, or is it Division 6.

Ithaca caught a break. The defending Division 6 champion, and owners of five of the last six titles, was thought to be, by our almighty guru, slated to play Lansing Catholic Central, a Division 5 power recently. Ithaca, by virtue of its enrollment, moved up to Division 5 for the first time this season. Snooze had Ithaca playing at Lansing C.C. in a pre-district. The MHSAA doesn’t even have these teams in the same region or same district let alone being matched up in the first round. Ithaca is hosting Belding (5-4), one of 38 additional qualifiers, in Region 2 District 1.

Meanwhile, Lansing C.C. is hosting the three-time defending Division 5 champion, Grand Rapids West Catholic, in a Region 3 District 1 pre-district. These teams met in the 2014 final.

Imagine the ramifications. On the private versus public side this is just what the doctor ordered. Get rid of one the private powers and open the door for a public school power.

If Ithaca would have been paired with Lansing C.C. the chances of the Yellowjackets advancing would have been greatly diminished.

As an observer, and a fan, this (Lansing C.C. playing W. Catholic) isn’t such a bad thing.

Look at it from West Catholic’s perspective and you might think that the deck is stacked.

We’ll see.

Continuing this discussion, Snooze had West Catholic hosting Grandville Calvin Christian, a program with little football playoff history.

Let’s move to Division 1 where much speculation, I mean Snooze’s prognosis, had the state’s top two teams, Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit Catholic Central, playing each other in a region final, at Detroit C.C., no less.

Well, as it turns out, these teams are in separate brackets and would only meet in the final. That would be nice but for some it might seem contrived. Detroit C.C. is a swing team, meaning the Shamrocks are sometimes placed in the west with teams from the Grand Rapids area and the like or in the east with teams from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

All in all, there aren’t many surprises in Division 1.

A discrepancy does take place in Division 2. U-D Jesuit, a private school, was a Snooze-predicted to be a home-field advantage team to a Ferndale club not considered a pre-district survivor. As it turns out U-D will host Oak Park, one of the top teams in Oakland County, and perhaps a sleeper in this division. The Knights have, on their resume, a victory over Division I Clarkston.

Ferndale didn’t receive any favors as the Eagles play at defending state champion Detroit King.

Snooze had Division 3 pretty well pegged but in Division 4 there were somewhat minor differences.

Those at Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood can’t be pleased with finding Detroit Country Day playing host to the Cranes in a pre-district. Snooze had the Cranes playing at St. Clair Shores South Lake. Country Day is a top contender for the state title and its former coach, Joe D’Angelo, he of the book ‘Goodfellows’ fame, is the head coach at Cranbrook.

Also of note, St. Clair Shores Lakeview will host a pre-district against Grosse Pointe North in Division 2. North is the top seed in Region 4 District 2 but the school is prohibited from hosting any MHSAA-sanctioned sport in 2016-17 because of a rules violation. So, if Grosse Pointe South wins its pre-district game against Port Huron Northern. it would host the district final regardless of its opponent.


State champion picks

D1: Cass Tech

D2: Lowell

D3: Muskegon

D4: Grand Rapids Catholic Central

D5: Menominee

D6: Jackson Lumen Christi

D7: Detroit Loyola

D8: Muskegon Catholic Central