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Detroit Sports Commission announces match-ups for 15th annual Prep Kickoff Classic

By: Matthew B. Mowery, February 14, 2019, 4:40 pm

The Detroit Sports Commission announced the match-ups for next fall’s 15th annual Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic, and the impressive roster of teams includes the reigning champions in Divisions 1, 2 and 3.

Division 1 champion Mt. Clemens Chippewa Valley, two-time D2 champ Warren De La Salle and D3 champion Detroit King will all play in the event, which takes place Aug. 29-31 at Wayne State University. Also participating will be traditional powerhouses Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Detroit Cass Tech and Muskegon.

The match-ups are as follows (records are from 2018):


Aug. 29

• Birmingham Brother Rice (7-4, 1-2 CHSL Central) vs. Utica Eisenhower (6-4, 3-2 MAC Red), 4 p.m.

It’s the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Ike lost to MAC Red rival Chippewa Valley in the D1 predistrict a year ago, while Brother Rice lost to Birmingham Groves for the second time in three playoff appearances, falling 38-24 in the D2 district finals.


• Chippewa Valley (14-0, 5-0 MAC Red) vs. Saline (11-2, 5-0 SEC Red), 7 p.m.

These two teams played a classic in Week 1 of the 2018 season, with the Big Reds coming from behind to win in the fourth quarter, kick-starting their unbeaten run to the D1 title. Chippewa Valley held off Clarkston, 31-30, in the D1 title game to win its first ring since 2001. Saline won an overtime nail-biter in the regional finals against Rockford, then fell 21-2 to Clarkston in the D1 semifinals.


Aug. 30

• Grosse Pointe South (8-2, 5-0 MAC White) vs. Birmingham Groves (10-3, 5-1 OAA White), 4 p.m.

Both are first-time participants in the Prep Kickoff Classic. Groves finished second in the OAA White behind Oak Park, then made a run all the way to the D2 semifinals before losing to De La Salle, 28-0. The winner of the MAC White, the Blue Devils fell 24-17 to Dearborn Fordson in the opening round of the D1 playoffs.


• Warren De La Salle (12-2, 2-1 CHSL Central) vs. Muskegon (13-1, 6-0 OK Black), 7 p.m.

The Big Reds beat the Pilots, 36-21, in a Week 1 matchup in Muskegon last fall, dropping De La Salle to 0-3 all-time vs. Muskegon. The Pilots went on to beat Muskegon Mona Shores to repeat as D2 champions, while Muskegon fell just short of a repeat in D3, losing to King in the title game.


Aug. 31

• Novi Detroit Catholic Central (7-4, 2-1 CHSL Central) vs. Detroit King (12-2, 5-0 PSL Black), 1 p.m.

These two teams have not met since the 2001 playoffs, when CC beat King, 34-7, in the D1 district finals. The Shamrocks hold a 4-1 advantage all-time. King knocked off No. 1-ranked Muskegon in the D3 title game last season, while CC lost to West Bloomfield in the D1 district finals.


• Detroit Cass Tech (10-1, 4-0 PSL Green) vs. Chicago’s Wendell Phillips Academy, 4 p.m.

Wendell Phillips won the Illinois Class 5A titles in 2016 and 2017. The reigning PSL champ, Cass Tech had its shortest playoff run since 2009 last fall, losing to Dearborn Fordson, 41-14, in the D1 district finals.