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Bubble teams are hoping to secure playoff reservations in Week 9

By: Jeff Dullack, October 22, 2014, 10:00 pm

It’s do-or-die time for a slew of prep football squads across the state this week hoping that a win in their regular-season finales at 5-3 or 4-4 will propel them into the playoffs.

Grandville and Howell are a pair of 4-4 clubs that probably have enough points to qualify for the postseason if they snag victories in Week 9.

Both have been in run-the-table mode for a while now. Howell is on a three-game win streak after opening the year 1-4, Grandville has claimed two straight following a 2-4 start to the campaign.

Currently owner of the second-most playoff points for a .500 team in the MHSAA, Howell travels to Novi (3-5) Friday night.

“We’re starting to come around,” Howell head coach Aaron Metz said. “We’ve really matured these last few weeks. This team has been in playoff-mode for quite a bit now and we want to close things up and get a fresh slate going forward into districts”

Senior tailback Eric Sieman heads Howell’s offense. Junior safety Trevor Wetzel is standing out on the defensive side of the ball lately.

Grandville head coach Eric Stiegel is in his first year on the job. He had been at Taylor Truman. His squad faces Hudsonville (5-3) Friday.

“You just go out and do all that you can do, lay it all on the line” said Stiegel of the needed mindset entering the Hudsonville game. “We knew we had to win-out to get in. We’re playing well at the right time and hopefully it continues.”

Brian Cappiello, Grandville’s star running back, is averaging almost 10 yards per carry. Defensively, 6-foot-5 Eppe Saarenhemo is doing significant damage in the pass-rush department.

Waterford Mott (5-3) is traveling into some familiar territory for Corsairs head coach Chris Fahr when it faces Birmingham Groves (6-2). Prior to landing at Mott, Fahr coached crosstown at Birmingham Seaholm. A number of his assistants at Seaholm are now at Groves.

“I’m excited about going back and seeing some of the old faces,” he said.

Mott sports a high-octane passing attack led by senior quarterback Dakota Kupp.

Fahr knows that beating Groves means stopping Falcons speedster Cedric Boswell, averaging close to 200 rushing yards per outing.

“We’re going to have to be aggressive (with Boswell), put a helmet on him every play,” he said.

Auburn Hills Avondale (5-3) has a speed demon of its own in senior all-state running back and Cincinnati-commit Josh Holloman (clocked at 4.2 in the 40-yard dash), someone the team will look to for a lift into the postseason. The Yellow Jackets and their blazing-fast back need to beat Waterford Kettering (4-4) to punch its playoff ticket.

“Everyone is looking forward to the game, everyone knows how much it means,” Avondale head coach Steve Deutsch said.  “We’ll be fired up and ready to get at it.”

Trying to withstand an injury bug (six starters lost for the season) and still make it into November, Chippewa Valley (5-3) hosts Anchor Bay Friday in a Macomb Athletic Conference crossover affair.

“We don’t make any excuses, I’m proud of how we’ve plugged guys into spots and kept fighting,” head coach Scott Merchant said.

Merchant’s slotback Kyle Muller has 11 touchdowns. Two-way star Sean Bunting is tough to handle as a wide receiver and cornerback. Stefan Clayborne, a junior free safety, is sparking the defense.

Detroit Mumford will be at Ford Field Friday to square off with Detroit Cody in a battle of 5-3 programs. Two of Mumford’s defeats were close losses to PSL powerhouses Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit King (held a second half lead).

“We’re learning how to finish, we’re getting better every week at it and that’s a tribute to the kind of senior leadership we have on this team,” Mumford head coach Donshell English said.

Monte Stewart (quarterback), Deshawn Foster (wide receiver), Navarrio Davis (wide receiver) and Willie Jones (linebacker) are lighting the fuse for Mumford’s senior class.