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FH Harrison will ride rough in 2014 playoffs, Herrington undeterred

By: Scott Burnstein, October 30, 2014, 3:00 pm

Farmington Hills – This year’s playoff pairings didn’t do Oakland Activities Association White Division co-champion Farmington Hills Harrison any favors.

The road to tournament success for the Hawks will be a tough one.

To start things off, Harrison (7-2) travels to undefeated and Flint Metro League champ Fenton (9-0) Saturday night in its’ Division 2 district opener. If they win this weekend, either Walled Lake Western (8-1) or South Lyon (8-1), a pair of powers out of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association, await the Hawks in the district finals. Again, on the road.

The silver lining to the daunting district draw if you’re Harrison? Since the Hawks hold more playoff points than any team outside their district, if they survive and advance into the third week of tourney play, they’ll be hosting their regional championship game.

Legendary Harrison coach John Herrington (built Hawks program from scratch, MHSAA-record 13 state titles) isn’t complaining about where his team was placed in the districts.

“I’m happy with the draw, it’s going to be very competitive and that’s exciting” he said. “We’re all looking forward to the chance to go up there to Fenton and show what we’ve got.”

That’s not to say he wasn’t surprised when the pairings were announced Sunday night.

“I was a little shocked, I’m not going to lie,” said Herrington, in his 44th year at the helm of the Harrison program. “It is what it is though, we can’t control what we can’t control. We’re going to play who they tell us to play and that’s Fenton and we’re going to be ready to go when it’s kickoff time Saturday.”

Harrison’s only two losses this year are to Oak Park (fellow co-champion of OAA White along with Southfield) and defending Division 1 state-champion, 9-0 Clarkston (fell 31-24 in Week 9).

Last year, Herrington’s club went 10-2 and won a district crown. Two years ago, Harrison made a trip up to Fenton for its’ first-round game and lost 22-19.

The Hawks are led by star senior dual-threat quarterback Jevon Shaw on offense and college recruits, Mike Ojemudia (linebacker), Khalid Kareem (defensive end) and Devon Cook (safety) on defense.

Ojemudia’s older brother, Mario, currently playing at the University of Michigan, started on both sides of the line on Harrison’s last state-title team in 2010.

Fenton is fresh on the heels of  “running the table” in the regular season for the first time in 29 years. The Tigers’ Flint Metro League championship is its’ first since 1987. Senior quarterback Ross Ebert anchors a Fenton offense putting up close to 40 points per outing. Ebert’s thrown for 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns.