Top 25 HS teams – Mona Shores moves into top 5; Cass Tech to No. 3
1. Birmingham Brother Rice (9-0): The Warriors escaped Ford Field on Saturday with a 35-28 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Prep Bowl. Now they begin their road to what they hope is a return trip to Ford Field and a fourth consecutive state title.
2. Clarkston (9-0): The Wolves completed their third undefeated regular season with a 31-24 victory over Farmington Hills Harrison. Clarkston has clinched home field throughout the playoffs and is favored to repeat as Division 1 champions.
3. Detroit Cass Tech (9-0): Cass Tech played perhaps its best game of the season last week as it defeated Detroit King 39-7 to retain the PSL title. Mike Weber, Jr., scored three touchdowns and Cass Tech’s defense was dominating.
4. Muskegon Mona Shores (8-1): The Sailors pulled off a big upset last week defeating then No. 3-ranked Muskegon 48-27. Hunter Broersma’s 55-yard interception return for a touchdown broke a 20-20 tie for Mona Shores. The victory game the Sailors their first division (O-K Black) or league title since 1968 (Lake Michigan Athletic Conference).
5. Zeeland West (9-0): The defending Division 3 champions head into the Division 3 playoffs with a full head of steam after defeating Holland Christian 48-12.
6. Midland Dow (9-0): Dow is undefeated during the regular season for the first time since 1976 as it ended a four-game losing streak to Midland with a 35-17 victory.
7. Lansing Sexton (9-0): The Big Reds have won 19 consecutive regular season games and enter the Division 4 playoffs with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. Sexton lost in the semifinals last season after winning its first 12 games.
8. Lapeer (9-0): Only Zeeland West (489) has scored more points than Lapeer (427) among the teams ranked in the top 10. The defense is sometimes overlooked and it is this unit that makes this team a surprise contender for the Division 1 title.
9. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (7-2): The Eaglets’ two losses have come to Brother Rice including Saturday’s heartbreaker (35-28). With Brendan Tabone at quarterback and Tyson Smith at receiver the Eaglets have a much better balanced offense than they have had recently.
10. Muskegon (8-1): The Big Reds are licking their wounds. The loss to Mona Shores will only add incentive heading into the playoffs.
11. DeWitt (9-0): Will Nagel made his first start at quarterback after being called up from the JV and led the Panthers to an easy 40-6 victory over Fruitport. Nagel passed for 97 yards and rushed for 56. DeWitt will rely more on its ground game in the playoffs with quarterback Jacob Johnson (concussion) still sidelined.
12. Dearborn Fordson (9-0): The Tractors had a good playoff tune-up last Friday as they slipped past a good Monroe team, 17-6, and they’ll enjoy home field for while in the playoffs.
13. West Bloomfield (8-1): What I liked about last week’s victory over Southfield (16-13) is how well the Lakers played defensively. Much has been written and said about their offense. Their defense sometimes gets overlooked.
14. Caledonia (7-2): The Fighting Scots are one of the hottest teams in the state. Even though they lost to Mona Shores 40-7 earlier this season they have a shot at making a long playoff run.
15. East Kentwood (8-1): The Falcons have been the most consistent team in the O-K Red Division this season. The fact that they run the ball so well will serve them well in the playoffs.
16. Oak Park (7-2): The Knights have a team that can make a run in the playoffs. With John Kelly they can run the ball and their defense can keep them in a game if the offense sputters.
17. Detroit King (8-1): King will learn much from last week’s shellacking (39-7) at the hands of Cass Tech. This was King’s first real test. Though it didn’t pass this test lessons will be learned.
18. Walled Lake Western (8-1): Defensively the Warriors are stout. If they stay away from big mistakes, turnovers and major penalties, they could make a playoff run, depending on their draw.
19. Macomb Dakota (7-2): Dakota struggled down theh stretch. Its 27-24 victory over Grosse Pointe South wasn’t impressive but might have earned the Cougars home field next week.
20. Warren De La Salle (6-3): The Pilots finally got a breather last week (37-0 over Detroit Pershing) and should go into the playoffs healthy. Their defense can take them far.
21. Farmington Hills Harrison (7-2): The 31-24 loss to Clarkston only proves Harrison belongs in these rankings and could make some serious noise in the Division 2 playoffs.
22. Sterling Heights Stevenson (7-2): Stevenson had trouble with Utica (21-14) last week but this isn’t a team that has a wow factor. The Titans play defense and wait for teams to make mistakes.
23. Saline (8-1): The Hornets enter the Division 1 playoffs riding an eight-game winning streak and that loss to Mona Shores doesn’t seem so bad now.
24. Grandville (5-4): Forget the record. The Bulldogs played a tough schedule and are playing their best football heading into the playoffs. Last week’s 22-7 win at Hudsonville is proof.
25. Lowell (8-1): While the Red Arrows are a year away from competing for a state title they’re good enough to give teams in Division 3 lots of trouble.