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The Good and Bad from District Finals

by
Nick Vlietstra
Nick Vlietstra

The Good:

Portage Central:

In the battle of unbeatens, Portage Central not only came out on top, but thrashed Lakeview for a 40-7 win.  This was supposed to be the Mustangs’ toughest opponent this year, but it wasn’t even close.  They did what they have done in every big game this year by taking over the game early and completely dominating.  Take a look back at their big games this season.  Opening the season with Sturgis and the top QB in the conference…55-0.  Then came the rematch of last year’s district final with Mattawan…34-8.  Next up was the defending champs Stevensville Lakeshore…38-20.  Oh don’t forget about that big match-up with their rivals Portage Central…49-7.  And in what was essentially the division championship game with St. Joseph…49-28.  Now it was this game with the champion of the other division…40-7.  They literally have taken on all of the top teams in Southwest Michigan and have dominated everyone.  They have answered the bell every single time and have clearly shown they are a very good team.  Now the question of how good around the state they are.  They will be facing some of the historically great football powers in the state of Michigan.  This week it is Farmington Hills Harrison.  If they win, a possible match-up with Muskegon.  Birmingham Brother Rice is on the other side.  Time will tell how far they go, but they have earned the right to put themselves up against the best in the state of Michigan.

The KVA:

The KVA did it again.  They were going to lose at least one team because Olivet and Parchment played, but that didn’t change anything else in the conference.  Four teams advanced, which is the best they could have done.  Unfortunately Parchment was the lone team left out this time.  After they pulled the biggest upset in the state in the opening game against Jackson Lumen Christi they fell victim to playing a very strong defensive team in Olivet.  The defensive line for the Eagles was huge and caused havoc for the Parchment offense.  It was still a fun run for the Panthers and perhaps a building block for the future.  The Eagles will now get to face another Wing-T team in Grand Rapids West Catholic.  It will be their third straight Wing-T team.  They have allowed only twelve total points in their first two games against Hopkins and Parchment, and if their defensive line can dominate again, they will have a very good chance to advance again.

Other KVA teams advanced too with the most exciting game being the 28-26 Schoolcraft win over Watervliet.  The Panthers performed very well and fared much better than a lot of SAC teams in recent history have against the KVA.  It was a tight game that came down to a pick six for Schoolcraft and a missed two point conversion by the Panthers.  The Eagles now advance to face a tough Shelby squad.  Constantine continues to dominate.  They gave Hillsdale no chance this past week as they collected another district championship.  The Falcons have had the fortune of playing teams that aren’t anywhere as physical as the teams that they played in the KVA.  After they got beat up in conference, they are able to take it to these teams who are not used to physical play.  They now will face a tough Clinton team.  Finally, it was Pennfield advancing as well.  They beat Dowagiac at home to win the district championship, but now get the difficult task of facing Grand Rapids South Christian.  I tell ya what though…there aren’t many conferences in the state of Michigan with four teams claiming district championships.

Mendon:

The run continues for the Hornets.  The final score may have not shown domination, but the stats did.  Mendon held Climax Scotts under 100 total yards in their 13-0 win.  Their offense has been solid this season, but their defense is as dominating as ever.  They have allowed only 19 points this season.  Statistically, this year’s defense rivals some of the best they have had.  In 2009 they had a dominating defense which allowed 21 points going into their regional game when they lost to Hudson 42-41.  In 1997 they allowed only 14 points through the regular season and one playoff game, and in 1996 they allowed only 18 points in the regular season.  The problem with all of those teams is that they all lost in the regionals.  Mendon is getting ready to face the toughest team they have faced all season on Saturday in the regional in Muskegon Catholic Central.

The Bad:

The Wolverine Conference:

In what was a season of hopes with plenty of good talent in the Wolverine we are two weeks into the playoffs and there are no Wolverine teams left.  There were hopes for teams like Plainwell, Paw Paw and Edwardsburg especially.  Only one team made it to the districts and that team, Dowagiac, got beat down pretty good by Pennfield.  I don’t want to take anything away from Pennfield because they are playing well, but I don’t think anyone thinks this is one of their best teams they have had over the years.  Still, they went up against two of the better Wolverine teams and got their needed victories. 

I would say Edwardsburg should have had the highest hopes for doing some damage seeing that they had a great running game, a very stout defense and were in a favorable division, but it goes to show in their first round upset that it only takes one night and you can be done.  I would put Plainwell in that category of high hopes because of their strong running game and very good defense but they were also playing up in division three now, and they got a rough draw playing in a Grand Rapids district.  In the end the Wolverine failed to live up to what their hopes were this season.

The SAC:

In a conference that features great football traditions of Decatur, Hartford, and Gobles they have one team left in the playoffs (And yes I know Gobles didn’t make it this year, but I’m trying to make the point that they have very good traditional powers).  Decatur, for all of their ups and downs this season, find themselves as the lone SAC team left in the playoffs.  And how about that Decatur team and their strong defense?  7-0?  Well I can’t say it was the score I was thinking it would be, but it surely got the job done. 

The SAC once again got five teams in this year, but Saugatuck and Hartford were eliminated after one round and Watervliet and Lawton went down this past week.  I can’t get on Watervliet and Lawton too bad because both were playing tough competition.  Watervliet put up a great effort but just fell short against one of the top schools in the KVA.  Lawton was down early and never really had a chance after that against a very tough Homer team who will get to face Decatur’s strong defense this week.

This week’s games:

Division 2:

Farmington Hills Harrison (10-1) @ #8 Portage Central (11-0) – Saturday @ 1:00

Division 6:

Schoolcraft (10-1) @ #8 Shelby (10-1) – Saturday @ 1:00

Constantine (7-4) @ #4 Clinton (11-0) – Saturday @ 1:00

Division 7:

Decatur (8-3) @ #10 Homer – Saturday @ 1:00

Division 8:

#6 Muskegon Catholic Central @ #2 Mendon – Saturday @ 1:00

Other Good Games from around Michigan:

Division 1:

#2 Macomb Dakota (11-0) @ #1 Detroit Cass Tech (11-0)

#6 Detroit Catholic Central (9-2) @ #4 Temperance Bedford (11-0)

Division 2:

#9 Midland (10-1) @ #3 Muskegon (10-1)

#10 Martin Luther King (9-1) @ #5 Wyandotte Roosevelt (11-0)

Division 3:

#2 Zeeland West (10-1) @ #4 Mount Pleasant (10-1)

Division 4:

#2 Saginaw Swan Valley (11-0) @ #4 Lansing Sexton (11-0)

Division 5:

#5 Monroe St. Mary’s Catholic Central (10-1) @ #6 Livonia Clarenceville (11-0)

Division 6:

#7 Negaunee (10-1) @ #1 Ithaca (11-0)

#6 Madison Heights Madision (11-0) @ #3 Montrose Hill McCloy (11-0)

Division 7:

#5 Lake City (10-1) @ #1 Ishpeming (11-0)

#5 Pewamo-Westphalia (10-1) @ #3 Harbor Beach (10-1)

Division 8:

#9 Iron Mountain North Dickinson (8-2) @ #5 Crystal Falls Forest Park (11-0)

#10 St. Ignace La Salle (9-2) @ #1 Beal City (11-0)

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