Grignon’s return to South Lyon with WLW highlights list of top games for Week 8
WIXOM — All season long, Alex Grignon’s phone has gone off with regularity, the new football coach at Walled Lake Western communicating with all his old friends.
That line of communication may have closed off somewhat this week, though, since a lot of those friends will be on the other sideline Friday night.
Grignon’s second-place Warriors (5-2, 5-1 Lakes Valley Conference) will be traveling to South Lyon (7-0, 6-0) to take on the first-place Lions — in a game that maybe few outside of Lyon Township thought would have as much significance in Week 8, back when Grignon got the job in June.
“It’s going to be a big game. It’s going to be intense for me,” said Grignon, who was the South Lyon offensive coordinator last season.”I talk to their staff every week, still friends with those guys, so it’ll be a fun game.”
With a one-game lead on the Warriors, South Lyon can claim the league title with a win. A loss by the Lions would continue the chaos that has been the LVC title chase to date, with the Lions having to face cross-town rival South Lyon East (4-3, 4-2) and the Warriors taking on district rival Walled Lake Central (1-6, 1-5).
That’s not how even the league coaches themselves predicted it would be, when they met for media day back in the summer. In almost every story from that event, Western was tabbed as co-favorite, along with another of last year’s three champs, Lakeland, while South Lyon was generally mentioned as being in the league.
Same with South Lyon East, which was a player in the race, as well, until losing to those two preseason co-favorites over the last three weeks — and could be again, if Western wins Friday.
“It’s pretty amazing this year. I think at the start of the year, South Lyon and us weren’t picked to be up there towards the top, and we’ve both been plugging along, taking care of business. They’ve obviously been doing a really great job being undefeated. It’s great – it’s high school football,” East coach Joe Pesci said.
“It’s great that there’s that many good teams at the top. Every game that goes on, everybody is competitive. There’s none of that just annihilation every week. It’s good for for our league, and it’s especially good for the South Lyon community.”
East was coming off a 4-5 season in 2017, so winning an additional two or three games hasn’t been quite as shocking as the turnaround on North Lafayette (Pontiac Trail) and 11 Mile. South Lyon was 1-8 last year, but has reversed that, and is off to its first 7-0 start since 2006.
Count Grignon as one of those not surprised.
He spent much of the offseason still working with the Lions before his new opportunity sprang up out of nowhere midsummer, and he knows how many youngsters got thrown into the fire last year, and how much those kids worked their tails off since last season ended with a four-game skid, punctuated by the first-ever loss to East in the 10-year existence of the rivalry.
“I was over there last year. I left there late in the summer to come over here. I was telling everybody all year I’ve got great respect for that program. They’re blue-collar kids, work their (butts) off, believe in their coach, believe in their system. They have fun playing the game, and they work their tails off. You can almost call them over-achieving, but with the work they put in, in the offseason, they deserve every bit of success their having,” Grignon said. “It’s going to be a tough one, especially down in ‘The Jungle.’ I know how hard they play there, and they’ll definitely want to give it to me, if they can. It’s going to be a fun one.”
It’s not the only key matchup with league title implications this week.
There are a TON of them around the state.
Here are some of the most impactful games, as well as some key non-conference games that are just darned good matchups:
Conference clashes with title implications —
Muskegon Mona Shores (7-0, 4-0 OK Black) at Muskegon (7-0, 4-0 OK Black)
Warren De La Salle (6-1, 2-0 CHSL Central) at Novi Detroit Catholic Central (5-2, 1-1 CHSL Central), Sunday 1 p.m.
Walled Lake Western (5-2, 5-1 LVC) at South Lyon (7-0, 6-0 LVC)
Zeeland East (6-1, 4-0 OK Green) at Zeeland West (6-1, 4-0 OK Green)
Midland Dow (5-2, 5-0 SVL Red) at Mt. Pleasant (7-0, 5-0 SVL Red)
Monroe (6-1, 4-0 SEC Red) at Saline (6-1, 4-0 SEC Red)
Romeo (5-2, 3-1 MAC Red) at Mt. Clemens Chippewa Valley (7-0, 4-0 MAC Red)
St. Clair Shores Lake Shore (6-1, 4-0 MAC Gold) at Warren Woods-Tower (7-0, 4-0 MAC Gold), Saturday 1 p.m.
Farmington (6-1, 6-0 OAA Blue) at Birmingham Seaholm (6-1, 5-0 OAA Blue)
Clinton (6-1, 5-0 Tri-County) at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (7-0, 5-0 Tri-County)
Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (6-1, 5-1 TVC West) at Ithaca (6-1, 6-0 TVC West)
Detroit Community (7-0, 2-0 Michigan Metro Red) at Ecorse (6-1, 2-0 Michigan Metro Red)
Hudsonville (5-2, 3-1 OK Red) at East Kentwood (6-1, 4-0 OK Red)
Grand Rapids West Catholic (4-3, 4-0 OK Blue) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (6-1, 4-0 OK Blue)
Springport (7-0, 6-0 Big 8) at Reading (7-0, 6-0 Big 8)
Riverview (6-1, 5-1 Huron League) at Grosse Ile (7-0, 6-0 Huron League)
Newaygo (5-2, 5-1 CSAA Gold) at Reed City (7-0, 6-0 CSAA Gold)
Sandusky (7-0, 5-0 GTC-East) at Harbor Beach (6-1, 4-1 GTC-East)
Hillsdale (7-0, 5-0 LCAA) at Brooklyn Columbia Central (6-1, 5-1 Lenawee County AA)
Harper Woods Chandler Park (3-3, 3-0 Charter) at Warren Michigan Collegiate (7-0, 3-0 Charter)
Gibraltar Carlson (6-1, 6-1 Downriver) at Wyandotte (5-2, 5-2 Downriver)
Fenton (5-2, 5-2 Flint Metro) at Swartz Creek (6-1, 6-0 Flint Metro)
Port Huron Northern (6-1, 4-0 MAC Blue) vs. Roseville (5-2, 4-0 MAC Blue)
Non-confererence tilts (or non-title intra-conference clashes/rivalry games) —
Grosse Pointe South (7-0, 4-0 MAC White) vs. Grosse Pointe North (1-6, 1-3 MAC White)
Lake City (7-0, 5-0 Highland) vs. Kent City (7-0, 5-0 CSAA Silver)
Lapeer (7-0, 5-0 SVL Blue) vs. White Lake Lakeland (5-2, 5-2 Lakes Valley)
Berrien Springs (6-1, 3-0 BCS-White) vs. Olivet (7-0, 5-0 GLAC)
Haslett (6-1, 4-1 CAAC-Red) vs. Goodrich (5-2)
Farmington Hills Harrison (5-2, 4-1 OAA White) vs. Birmingham Groves (5-2, 4-1 OAA White)
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (4-3, 2-1 CHSL Intersectional 2) vs. Madison Heights Bishop Foley (6-1, 2-1 CHSL Intersectional 2)
Oak Park (7-0, 6-0 OAA White) vs. West Bloomfield (5-2, 4-2 OAA Red)
Alma (6-1, 4-1 TVC Central) vs. Millington (5-2, 4-1 TVC East)