Top 25 HS teams – Woodhaven makes first appearance
1. Birmingham Brother Rice (10-0): Brother Rice played its starters for a little over half the game on Saturday and will be rested for its district final against Birmingham Groves (7-3) this Saturday.
2. Clarkston (10-0): Running back Nolan Eriksen and quarterback D.J. Zezula led a balanced offense as Clarkston got past Oxford 31-8 on Friday setting up a Division 1 district final against Lapeer.
3. Detroit Cass Tech (10-0): Cass Tech’s defense came to the forefront on Saturday as the Technicians downed Warren Mott 26-7. This Saturday’s game against Dearborn Fordson promises to be closer
4. Muskegon Mona Shores (8-1): The Sailors have been at their best the last two weeks with victories over Muskegon and Caledonia. There’s no breather this week as they travel to Midland Dow for a Division 2 district final.
5. Zeeland West (10-0): The Dux blitzed Byron Center 50-0 and though Stevensville Lakeshore (8-2) should be a more difficult challenge on Friday look for West to wear down the Lancers.
6. Midland Dow (10-0): 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.
7. Lansing Sexton (10-0): The Big Reds got past Williamston, 36-8, last week and this victory set up a showdown with Saginaw Swan Valley (10-0) and running back Alex Grace on Friday. Look for the winner to reach the Division 4 semifinals and face, quite possibly, Chelsea.
8. Lapeer (10-0): The Lightning were tested by Romeo (23-15) last week and now will take on the defending Division 1 champion Clarkston on the road.
9. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (8-2): As expected the Eaglets coasted past Detroit Renaissance (41-0) but now must play its first playoff road game, on Saturday at Warren Woods Tower, but that task shouldn’t be too difficult to overcome.
10. Muskegon (9-1): The Big Reds bounced back nicely from its loss to Mona Shores with a 59-21 victory over Grand Rapids Northview. A Division district final, at home, against Cedar Springs (9-1) is next.
11. Dearborn Fordson (10-0): The Tractors were most impressive last Friday (35-6 over Fraser) in miserable playing conditions. They’ll need quarterback Muhammed Zahr to be on his game this week if they expect to upset Cass Tech at Fordson on Friday.
12. West Bloomfield (9-1): The Lakers led Livonia Stevenson 7-6 at halftime before pulling away for a 34-6 victory, a playoff first for the Lakers. Walled Lake Central (8-2) is next and West Bloomfield’s front seven on defense will be tested.
13. DeWitt (10-0): DeWitt’s 46-7 victory over Tecumseh last week was a bit misleading. Each team had 14 first downs and Tecumseh gained 300 yards rushing but special teams and DeWitt’s defense made huge plays throughout. CAAC Red Division rival Mason is next. DeWitt has won four straight in this series including a 25-10 victory over Sept. 12
14. East Kentwood (9-1): The Falcons are clicking on offense and will go after its first district title since 2003 when it hosts Grand Ledge on Saturday.
15. Oak Park (8-2): The Knights have the 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.
16. Walled Lake Western (9-1): The Warriors benefitted from a missed extra point last week (14-13 over South Lyon) and will host Farmington Hills Harrison on Friday. The teams last played in 2001 as members of the now-defunct Kensington Lakes Activities Association.
17. Macomb Dakota (8-2): Like Oak Park, the Cougars suffered a league loss last week (19-12 to Sterling Heights Stevenson) and just like Oak Park that loss occurred on the road. Dakota has been around the block once or twice. It knows how to bounce back.
18. Warren De La Salle (7-3): Once again the Pilots played solid defense last week (43-14 over Grosse Pointe North) as they took one more step towards a rematch with Brother Rice. But first the Pilots must get past Detroit East English Village Prep.
19. Farmington Hills Harrison (8-2): Harrison could be in for a rough time next week at Western if quarterback Jevon Shaw isn’t able to play. But don’t count the Hawks out. Their defense will keep them in the game
20. Saline (9-1): The Hornets seem to be the team flying under the radar in Division 1. Saline goes after its second district title in three years against Monroe on Friday. Saline defeated Monroe 28014 on Oct. 3.
21. Lowell (9-1): The Red Arrows had another nail-biter against East Grand Rapids (28-27). They’re host Grand Rapids Christian on Friday with Zeeland West on deck.
22. Southfield (8-2): Unlike last year’s playoffs, the Bluejays were not expected to be much of a factor. Their 40-12 ambush of Detroit King last week shed’s a different light.
23. Canton (8-2): The Chiefs played with poise in last week’s 42-7 victory over Northville. They’ll need that same sort of execution against Livonia Churchill on Friday.
24. Hudsonville (6-4): The Eagles have been up and down this season. They were down in week nine (22-7 loss to Grandville) and up last week (31-3 over Holland West Ottawa). Hudsonville lost to Rockford 28-27 on Sept. 19. On Friday the Eagles play at Rockford in a Division 1 district final, as they did a year ago when Hudsonville defeated the Rams, 19-14.
25. Woodhaven (10-0): Can the Warriors be the second team from the Downriver League to reach a state semifinal? Wyandotte Roosevelt lost to Brother Rice in the Division 2 semifinals in 2012 and Wyandotte will play at Woodhaven on Friday.