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GUIDE TO HIGHLIGHTS: A look at what we’re covering in round 1 of the MHSAA football postseason

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, October 29, 2020, 4:20 pm

Here are the games we’re covering here at STATE CHAMPS! for the first round of the 11-player postseason this week — we’ll have full highlights packages available on social media over the weekend:

DIVISION 1

Howell (3-3) at Hartland (3-3)

The Highlanders won Round 1 at home back on Oct. 2, 27-13, own a 29-13 advantage in the all-time series since 1950, and have won 7 of the last 10 meetings — but the Eagles won the only previous playoff meeting, back in 2008, and have the game at home this time.

Lapeer (3-3) at Davison (6-0)

These two Saginaw Valley League compatriots have met three times in the playoffs — 2015, 2017 and 2019 — since the merger of Lapeer East and West (), with the team that won the regular-season match-up duplicating it in the playoffs twice. Last year’s meeting was the lone exception, and that helped propel the Cardinals — who’d finished second in the SVL’s southern division, thanks to the 24-21 loss in Week 9 — to their first state title run. The series between the two is a dead split at 5-5, with Davison winning four of the last six, including a 37-6 win in Week 6. (The Cardinals were 5-2 against Lapeer West and 1-0 against Lapeer East, beating the Eagles in the 2002 district finals)

East Kentwood (2-3) at Hudsonville (4-2)

The Eagles won the initial match-up in Week 1, 21-13, and their only on-the-field loss was a four-point setback to second-place Grandville in Week 3, 21-17 (Hudsonville’s Week 6 date with Jenison resulted in a forfeit loss.) The two OK Red conference mates have met three times in the playoffs before — three straight seasons from 2013-15 — with Hudsonville, which leads the all-time series since 1950 by a 20-10 margin, winning twice.

Detroit Western (5-1) at Dearborn Fordson (4-2)

The young-but-talented Tractors bounced back from an 0-2 start to win four straight heading into the playoffs. Western’s only loss was to defending PSL champion and Division 2 runner-up Detroit King. 

Rochester Adams (2-4) at Rochester (6-0)

The Falcons won their first league title since 1993 with an unbeaten regular season — just their third winning season since 2010 — but they’d certainly like to get another monkey off their back with a first-round playoff win over cross-town rival Adams. The Falcons have lost 22 straight to the Highlanders, and 35 of 49 meetings in the all-time series, with Rochester’s last win coming in 1996. 

Utica Eisenhower (2-4) at Clinton Twp. Chippewa Valley (2-3)

After snapping a five-game losing streak to the Eagles in the 2018 regular season helped propel Chippewa Valley to the 2018 state title, the Big Reds had their three-game win streak in the rivalry snapped two weeks ago, when they lost, 21-20, on a fourth-quarter TD pass from Preston Crum to Jack Wittwer. Eisenhower has won 3 of the 4 playoff meetings, the lone exception in 2018. 

DIVISION 2

Port Huron Northern (2-3) at St. Clair Shores Lakeview (4-2)

These were two programs moving in opposite directions. Lakeview moved up from the MAC Blue to the White, and held its own, finishing third with close losses to Anchor Bay and Warren Mott, finishing the regular season on a three-game win streak. Meanwhile Northern — having graduated last year’s highly decorated class — finished the regular season on a three-game skid, ending its four-year run of winning seasons. Northern has won three of the four all-time meetings with Lakeview, including both meetings in 2018. Lakeview won the only other postseason meeting between the two, back in 2010. 

Temperance-Bedford (3-3) at Livonia Franklin (3-3) 

These two teams have only met twice, both times in the playoffs over the last four years, with Franklin winning by two in 2018, and Bedford by 17 two years earlier. This year, three of Franklin’s six games were settled by a total of six points, including one-point wins over Dearborn Fordson and Livonia Stevenson in overtime. The Kicking Mules enter the postseason on a three-game losing skid, but the three teams they lost to were a combined 14-4 in the regular season. 

Trenton (3-3) at Allen Park (4-2)

This game is a replay of Week 1’s 29-7 win by the Jaguars, but that might not necessarily be predictive of the result in the rematch. In the 51 games played since 1950, Trenton leads the all-time series, 26-23-2, but the only two times they met in the playoffs — in 2018 and 2019 — the winner of the regular-season contest (both times Trenton) did not win the postseason rematch. Both teams lost a one-score game to Downriver League leader Woodhaven, but Allen Park’s only other setback was a forfeit loss to Ecorse that interrupted what was otherwise a three-game win streak to end the season.

DIVISION 4

Fremont (2-4) at Spring Lake (4-2)

With two win this season, the Packers have doubled their win total for the previous five seasons combined (only win from 2015-19 was Sept. 14, 2018 vs. Central Montcalm, snapping a 30-game losing skid), and are in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Spring Lake won three straight to finish third in the OK Blue Conference race. The two teams have never faced each other.

[NOTE: SC! will also have coverage packages with yet-to-be-determined games from the west side as well as northeast Michigan]

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Other games of note around Southeast Michigan:

DIVISION 1

Westland John Glenn (2-4) at Livonia Stevenson (3-3)

This one’s a rematch of Week 6, when the Spartans won, 42-21. Why is this game relevant? Because Caden Woodall might just be worth the price of admission — if you can get it — after he carried the ball 26 times for 354 yards and six touchdowns in the first meeting, giving him nearly 1,600 rushing yards and 25 scores on the season. 

Plymouth (1-5) at Belleville (6-0) 

This one is worth tuning in to, just to see if Tigers senior signal-caller Christian Dhue-Reid can toss four touchdown passes to put him in a tie with Stockbridge’s Mason Gee-Montgomery for the state’s career record. Dhue-Reid, who currently sits at 120 career TD passes, had two scores in last year’s 41-14 win over the Wildcats in the KLAA title game. This year’s Plymouth squad hasn’t won since it’s opener, when it beat former coach Brian Lewis and his new Howell squad, 24-17.

Lake Orion (3-2) at Grand Blanc (5-1)

While it may seem more lopsided on paper, the top teams in the Saginaw Valley League’s southern division have, for whatever reason, struggled mightily against teams from the Oakland Activities Association and Macomb Area Conference’s Red Divisions. The Bobcats are 0-for-their-last-4 playoff appearances, and have gone 1-4 against teams from those two conferences since leaving the Big 9 after the 2008 season. They’ve met Lake Orion three times in the postseason, winning in 1999, losing in 2001 and 2010.

DIVISION 2

Oak Park (0-6) at Grosse Pointe South (4-2)

If you’d have mentioned this potential playoff matchup in the preseason, there would’ve been a ton of excitement, but injuries were part of the story for an Oak Park team that had won seven or more games four straight seasons to go winless in the regular season for the first time since 1985. The Blue Devils had an excellent showing in their first year in the MAC Red, but Oak Park still has the talent to pull the upset. 

Warren De La Salle (2-4) at Roseville (4-2)

Winless and outscored 231-81 in their previous six playoff appearances, the Roseville Panthers are getting at least one first out of the way automatically — they’re hosting a playoff game for the first time ever. Their only two losses are to a pair of unbeaten teams in Eastpointe and Port Huron, hinting at a good chance at getting their first playoff win. But De La Salle isn’t a typical four-loss team, with all of its losses coming against top 20 competition, three of them unbeaten squads. 

Ypsilanti Community (3-3) at Dearborn Heights Crestwood (5-1)

Somebody’s getting their first postseason win in this matchup. This season marked just the 10th winning season for Crestwood since 1991, and the Chargers are 0-4 in their previous playoff appearances, most recently in 2018, when they made the postseason for the first time in 13 years. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a non-losing record for just the second time in the brief history of the school, created in 2013 when Willow Run and Ypsilanti High merged. The Grizzlies lost their only other playoff appearance in 2014.

DIVISION 6

Dearborn Advanced Tech (3-3) at Ida (3-3)

The second-year program at Advanced Tech made the playoffs for the first time, matching last year’s win total, finishing third in the MIAC. The Lakers are facing an Ida program that missed the postseason last year for the first time since 2012, but has a trip to the semifinals as recently as 2015. The Bluestreaks’ three losses this season came against three teams with a combined 15-3 record.