Top 25 HS Football teams – De La Salle, Mona Shores move up
1. Clarkston (13-0): The Wolves jumped out early on East Kentwood and maintained their poise in a 35-13 victory on Saturday. Clarkston will attempt to become the fourth team from a public school to win back-to-back Division 1 titles since 2003.
2. Muskegon Mona Shores (12-1): Even without quarterback Tyree Jackson in the second half the Sailors were able to upend Farmington Hills Harrison. The Sailors withstood a tough road to the finals and no one should count them out, even without Jackson.
3. Birmingham Brother Rice (11-1): The Warriors had the 33-game winning streak end on Saturday to Warren De La Salle, 26-21. Receiver Grant Perry had a school-record 16 receptions and recovered an onside kick with just over two minutes to play but De La Salle held on.
4. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (11-2): Defensively the Eaglets have been dominating in the playoffs but they’ll face their toughest test since losing to Brother Rice in the Catholic League final when they face Muskegon on Saturday.
5. Warren De La Salle (10-3): No let down last week against Southfield (31-7) after upsetting Brother Rice the week before. Not sure any team is playing better defensively than the Pilots right now.
6. Muskegon (12-1): If any team IS playing better defensively than De La Salle it’s these Big Reds. Posting a shutout last week (20-0 over Zeeland West) against a team that was averaging 36 points in the playoffs is outstanding.
7. Saline (12-1): The Hornets have won 12 straight and got over a huge hurdle last week (30-15 over Detroit Cass Tech). Playing in their first final will only enhance this up-and-coming program in the years to come.
8. Detroit Cass Tech (12-1): The Technicians ran out of gas last week as running back Mike Weber, Jr., was held to under 150 yards. Still a great season for Cass Tech, the only program to reach the semifinals each of the last five seasons.
9. Lansing Sexton (13-0): The Big Reds are in the finals for the first time. Now we’ll see how they respond to playing with pressure at Ford Field. Their competitive schedule will help going against a quarter like Jon Wassink (Grand Rapids South Christian).
10. East Kentwood (11-2): The Falcons ran into a powerhouse (Clarkston) last week. No shame in losing to the defending Division 1 champs.
11. Zeeland West (12-1): West finally met its match week in Muskegon. The 2013 Division 3 champions boast a 25-2 record in the last two years.
12. Farmington Hills Harrison (10-3): A two-point conversion, that’s all that kept Harrison from playing in the Division 2 final. Oh so close for coach John Herrington and his program.
13. Canton (9-3): The Chiefs came so close to reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2006. They represented the Kensington Lakes Activities Association well and was the best team in this competitive conference.
14. Lowell (10-2): The Red Arrows overachieved this season and this fact is a testament to coach Noel Dean and his staff. Look for Lowell to make an even deeper run in the playoffs next season.
15. Hudsonville (7-5): The Eagles couldn’t match East Kentwood’s quick start in a region final but that loss (31-14) doesn’t take away from all of Hudsonville’s accomplishments. For the second straight season the Eagles reached the Division 1 regional finals.
16. Walled Lake Central (9-3): Like Hudsonville, Central got on a roll late in the season. After a disappointing 2013 season the Vikings can be proud of this one.
17. Southfield (9-4): The Bluejays couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm against De La Salle. Still, Southfield getting to the semifinals for the second time in school history is impressive.
18. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (8-4): Like many teams this season, the Big Reds couldn’t contain Weber of Cass Tech but its regional loss doesn’t diminish the program’s best season since 2003.
19. Dearborn Fordson (10-1): The Tractors nearly knocked off Cass Tech. One mistake too many in the fourth quarter proved to be too much to overcome.
20. Macomb Dakota (8-3): A blocked conversion kick, that’s all the kept the Cougars from playing overtime in a district final and possibly advancing to the regionals. It’s a tough way to go out.
21. Lapeer (10-1): A tremendous season for the Lightning despite a 3-point loss at Clarkston. Coach Mike Smith and this first-year program (after the merger) accomplished much.
22. West Bloomfield (9-2): The Lakers opened many eyes this season to the job coach Ron Bellamy has done here. Now the program must continue to make positive steps if it expects to gain consistency.
23. Midland Dow (10-1): Dow and Lapeer are the pride of the Saginaw Valley this season. This league had five playoff representatives and all five won first-round games including Dow’s 35-0 victory over Traverse City Central.
24. Walled Lake Western (9-2): The Warriors benefitted from a missed extra point in its playoff opener (14-13 over South Lyon) then lost to Harrison (10-9) because of a missed conversion.
25. Oak Park (8-3): The Knights tied for the OAA White Division with teams (Harrison and Southfield) that have reached the Division 2 semifinals. A missed extra point against Southfield (14-13) cost Oak Park in a district final.