Wide open Division 1 playoffs head to regionals
Commerce Township – We told you the Division 1 playoffs was wide open. Now you have proof.
The top seeds from Region 1 district 2, Region 2 district 1 and Region 3 district 2 advanced to the regionals but the other top five seeds did not.
Granted, Detroit Cass Tech (11-0), the No. 2 seed in Region 4 district 2 was favored and got past the top seed, Dearborn Fordson on Friday, 28-21 but that makes half of the regions where the favorite lost.
Defending champion Clarkston (11-0) remains the favorite but even the Wolves struggled last week against Lapeer (23-20). Next for Clarkston is Walled Lake Central (9-2), which pulled off the shocker in this division to this point when it defeated host West Bloomfield 11-7. West Bloomfield’s only loss during the regular season was to Clarkston 55-41. The teams were tied at 34-34 after the third quarter and many anticipated a rematch, and perhaps an upset.
The Clarkston-Central game is set for Friday at 7 p.m.
Central coach Bob Meyer’s game plan worked as well as he could hope for as Central forced six turnovers, including four interceptions, and controlled time of possession.
“We only gained 121 yards or so but we were able to burn clock,” Meyer said. “We tried to hang on and not hurt our defense. We had one turnover, a fumble, and one penalty. That was our best performance (of the season) as far as that goes. The room for error was miniscule. Everybody picked them. We had nothing to lose.”
Central, the No. 3 seed in Region 2 district 2, will be in the same position this week as it heads to northern Oakland County.
Naturally the stars were on defense with safeties Drake Temple and Ethan Rodriguez at the forefront. Temple had three interceptions and a fumble recovery, and Rodriguez had an interception return for a touchdown.
Central’s defense focused its attention on West Bloomfield quarterback Trishton Jackson and continually frustrated the athletic junior. Six times West Bloomfield got inside the 30 and three times it got inside the 10 but that’s when Central’s defense made plays.
Meyer pointed to his team’s competitive schedule for helping his team in their preparation. Playing against playoff teams like Walled Lake Western, Northville, Waterford Mott and Farmington sharpened the Vikings.
Macomb County switch
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley ended a 16-game losing streak to Macomb Dakota on Friday with a 28-27 victory at Dakota.
Dakota (8-3) was the top seed in Region 4 district 1; Chippewa Valley No. 4. Dakota had won the last two district titles and four of the last five.
“You are talking about 10 years,” Chippewa Valley coach Scott Merchant said. “And all of the coaches who came before me and all of the brothers of the players on this team. We tried to approach it like every other game. We’re a different team than we were nine weeks ago.”
That’s a fact. Chippewa Valley (8-3) lost to Dakota 42-21 on Sept. 6 and a week later it lost by two touchdowns to Sterling Heights Stevenson. The Big Reds defeated Stevenson 30-6 in pre-district before taking on Dakota.
The Big Reds took the opening kickoff, drove for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. And it never trailed.
Chippewa Valley rushed for 320 yards and quarterback Patrick Briningstool passed for a touchdown and ran 40 yards for another. Stefan Claiborne recovered a block punt in the end zone for a touchdown and blocked an extra point after Dakota scored to pull within 28-27 in the fourth quarter.
It doesn’t get easier for Merchant and his team. Chippewa Valley will play at Detroit Cass Tech (11-0) in a region final on Saturday at 1 p.m.