GUIDE TO HIGHLIGHTS: A look at what we’re covering on the second weekend of the MHSAA 2020 football postseason
Here are the games we’re covering here at STATE CHAMPS! for the second round of the 11-player postseason this week — we’ll have full highlights packages available on social media over the weekend, as well as full coverage packages from our partner stations around the state:
To see links for the pairings in all divisions, CLICK HERE.
Livonia Stevenson (4-3) at Canton (7-0)
The Chiefs’ Wing-T attack is powered by a three-headed monster in Zack Badger, Wesley Faulkner and Marco Johnson, running behind a big offensive line, but Canton has showed it can pass when opponents stack the box to stop the run. Very few teams have been able to stop Stevenson’s run game, though, with Harvard-bound Mr. Football candidate Caden Woodall rumbling for 1,900 yards and 30 touchdowns. Canton leads the all-time series by just one, 8-7, and the two teams split the previous playoff meetings in 2006 and 2008.
Grand Blanc (6-1) at Clarkston (7-0)
The leading passer in the regular season for the Saginaw Valley League’s southern division resided at Grand Blanc, in Ty Brotebeck, and the senior already piloted the Bobcats to their first playoff win since 2012, snapping a six-game postseason skid. The team that started that streak back in 2012? The Clarkston Wolves, who were yet a year away from their first of three state titles in the ensuing five seasons. The Wolves are 4-1 all-time against Grand Blanc in the postseason.
Romeo (3-4) at Macomb Dakota (6-1)
The Bulldogs of Romeo get a chance to play spoiler against the Macomb Area Conference Red Division co-champions from Macomb Dakota, and with as tight as the MAC Red race was, it’s hardly a stretch to think they could. The 34-28 Dakota win in Week 5 clinched the first share of the conference since 2015 for the Cougars, but it was their closest win all season. Dakota’s Swiss Army knife, DJ Stepney scored three times in that win. The two programs have met 18 times, but just once in the postseason, in 2018, when Dakota eked out a four-point win.
Novi (3-4) at Detroit Catholic Central (7-0)
Maurice Langford and quarterback Luke Aurilia scored twice each and helped pace Novi to 461 yards on the ground in a 41-27 win in the opening round that eliminated last year’s Division 1 runner-up, Brighton, and set up the battle of Novi against Detroit Catholic Central. The two schools, separated by four miles, have met four times in the playoffs — three of those since the Shamrocks moved to town — all of them CC wins. Catholic Central is looking to extend its unbeaten season past the second round for the first time since 2017.
Birmingham Groves (4-3) at Birmingham Seaholm (5-2)
Both teams wanted this rematch, the third time in three seasons these two squads have met up in the postseason. While the first playoff meeting came back in 1997, the last two have propelled one of these two teams on to the semifinals — Groves in 2018 and Seaholm in 2019. Seaholm leads the all-time series against Groves, 42-21, but last year’s playoff win by the Maples snapped an eight-game win streak by the Falcons in the series. Seaholm added to that with a 35-28 win in Week 4 that featured one of the top defensive plays of the year from quarterback Caleb Knoer.
North Farmington (4-3) at Fenton (7-0)
The regular season this year for North Farmington wasn’t as magical as last year, but the postseason has been better so far, as the Raiders won their first playoff game since 1978, beating Waterford Kettering handily. Now they’ll get an unbeaten Fenton program that they’ve never met on the field before. The Flint Metro League champions are allowing less than 10 points per game, and extended their streak of seasons making the playoffs to 13, but has yet to put together a truly deep run in that span. Three times — 2010, 2011 and 2016 — the Tigers lost in regionals, but the other nine seasons, they’re 4-9 in the postseason.
River Rouge (5-1) at Riverview (7-0)
This might be one of those ‘something’s gotta give’ matchups in the postseason. The defending D3 champions from River Rouge haven’t given up a point on the season outside of the 21 scored in their Week 2 road loss at East Lansing, while the Pirates of Riverview — the Huron League champions — are averaging nearly 44 points per game in the six contests they’ve had on the field. The Panthers are used to being road warriors, though, playing three of five regular-season games on the road this year. It’s the first time these two programs have met in the postseason.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2-3) at Birmingham Brother Rice (6-1)
These two Catholic League Central Division rivals have met 33 times, but only twice in the postseason: In 2005, when they ended up meeting three times, en route to the Warriors claiming the Division 2 state title, and the year prior in 2004, when the Eaglets fell in the D2 finals. The regular-season meeting between the two came down to a 31-yard field goal by backup kicker Connor Kalka in Week 3. Will Rocco Milia continue to cement his candidacy for Mr. Football? Could be.
Detroit Country Day (4-2) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (6-1)
Country Day hasn’t ever lost to Notre Dame Prep in six previous tries, including twice in the postseason. The most recent meeting was in Week 2 of this season, when a bigger team from Country Day, the reigning D4 runner-up, won the battle in the trenches against Notre Dame Prep, but only managed a 10-0 win on the road at ND Prep’s William Kozyra Field — where this rematch will also be played. Country Day’s only on-field loss came against Birmingham Brother Rice in Week 6.
Goodrich (6-1) at Ortonville Brandon (6-1)
These two new conference mates have both won a Stars Division title in the Flint Metro League since its expansion two seasons ago, with the Martians winning last year’s regular-season matchup by six, and the Blackhawks taking this year’s by 13. While this particular conference arrangement might be new, the two schools are not unfamiliar: Both were members of the Flint Suburban Conference from 1961 to 1975, and met every season from 1952 to 1992, regardless of conference affiliation, before resuming the series in 2014. Brandon hasn’t faced any other opponent more often than the 47 times it’s played Goodrich since 1950 — with the Martians winning 31 — but they’ve never previously met up in the postseason.