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Top 25 HS Football teams – Clarkston moves into top spot; Cass Tech No. 2

By: Tom Markowski, November 16, 2014, 2:34 pm


1. Clarkston (12-0): D.J. Zezula threw for over 100 yards and rushed for over 100 in Clarkston’s 40-22 victory over Walled Lake Central. The defending Division 1 champions have the balance offensively to repeat.

2. Detroit Cass Tech (12-0): Running back Mike Weber, Jr., continues to post fabulous numbers (404 rushing yards, five TDs on Saturday). The Technicians have quality linemen on both sides of the ball and are in their fifth consecutive semifinal.

3. Muskegon Mona Shores (11-1): The Sailors have outscored their three playoffs opponents 122-28. Quarterback Tyree Jackson threw for 322 yards and accounted for five TDs in Friday’s 39-0 victory over Battle Creek Lakeview.

4. 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.

5. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (10-2): Defensively the Eaglets are stingy and their offense is methodical at times and quick-scoring at others. Look for St. Mary’s to play in the season’s last game (Division 3 final) for the fifth time in the past six years.

6. Warren De La Salle (9-3): It’s not how a team plays in the middle of the season, it’s how it finishes and the Pilots were at their best last Saturday against Brother Rice. The task now for coach Paul Verska and his staff is to sustain that level of play for two more games.

7. Muskegon (11-1): The Big Reds had a breather (42-7 over Petoskey) last week before it faces the defending Division 3 champion Zeeland West this week. It could be one of the top games of the season.  

8. Lansing Sexton (12-0): The Big Reds were 12-0 last season when it entered the semifinals as the favorite against Marine City. A 12-7 loss on that bitterly cold day still haunts them. A chance at redemption awaits this Saturday against Detroit Country Day.

9. East Kentwood (11-1): The Falcons have proven time and time again that they are the top representative in Division 1 from the state’s west side. They will carry that badge against defending champion Clarkston on Saturday.

10. Saline (11-1): The Hornets won their first region title last week in dramatic fashion. Saline trailed Canton 28-14 in the first half before coming back for a 42-35 victory. Junior quarterback Josh Jackson could be a Mr. Football candidate next year.

11. Zeeland West (12-0): West has earned its trip to the Division 3 semifinals like no other team. The Dux held on to defeat a well-prepared Lowell team (30-27) last week after getting past Stevensville Lakeshore, 30-28, the week before.

12. Farmington Hills Harrison (10-2): Harrison’s defense continues to excel as its 23-10 victory over Flushing proved once again. They will be put to their greatest test this Saturday against Mona Shores.

13. Southfield (9-3): The Bluejays jumped on Wyandotte Roosevelt early and coasted to a 35-7 victory. This will be the school’s second state semifinal appearance. Southfield lost to De La Salle in the 2009 Division 2 semifinals and it’ll face the Pilots once again on Saturday.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16.  Hudsonville (7-5): The Eagles couldn’t match East Kentwood’s quick start on Saturday 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.

17. 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.

18. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (8-3): Like many teams this season, the Big Reds couldn’t contain Mike Weber of Cass Tech but last Saturday’s 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 last week 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 has 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.