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Division 1 Predictions / Overview for 2017 Playoffs
Division 1 is Michigan's highest enrolled division and with that equates the strongest quality and quantity of teams.
The records of several D1 teams are misleading as they lost to other D1 teams, which is a key reason why record doesn't have much impact in our rankings.
Region 4 is the best Region in the state, so we're not going save the best for last:
District 1: The MHSAA put the #6 team in the state, Waterford Mott and #8 West Bloomfield in line for a potential District Final. 9 miles separate these 2 schools so the District makes sense.
Troy at Waterford Mott: Troy under new direction has rose to their best season since 2009, but they will have their hands full with the states top 5 most productive QB in David McCullum and a wealth of weapons around him; Marcus Guerrerro, Matt Bradley, Ashton Franklin, Pat Bicknell, Tariq Hardy, etc. we could go on. The Corsairs defense caused 2 turnovers in the red zone last week, so it's great to see an explosive offense with a balanced defense.
Prediction: Waterford Mott 42-17
Bloomfield Hills at West Bloomfield: West Bloomfield lost on the last play of the game to #31 Bloomfield Hills in week 2. The Black Hawks caught the WB Lakers with their heads down, since then West Bloomfield has won 7 straight and has their Senior QB Bryce Veasley in playoff type form. Veasley has an ocean of playmakers to compliment him from; AJ Abbott, Taj Mustapha, Junior - Tre Mosley, and a reliable senior TE in James Faulkner. Bloomfield Hills has their own talented offense with QB John Paddock and WR Ty Slazinski who had a state record 22 catches in a game last week. DE Jack Sape will to have the game of his life for Bloomfield Hills to shut down the Lakers offense.
Prediction: West Bloomfield 35-21
District 2: #4 Eisenhower hosts their neighboring Utica rivals while #32 Romeo travels to #11 Rochester Adams. The winner of this district plays either; Waterford Mott, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, or Troy.
Utica at Eisenhower: Eisenhower reached the Division 1 semi-finals last year and has their senior QB Max Wittwer at 100% after taking several games off to rest from an injury. The Eagles have one of the states top RB's in Caleb Oyster who also missed some time but is back to full strength. Jack Morris is one of the most underrated two-way players in the state and it all starts up front on defense with DE Henry Janeway who broke out in the playoffs last year, so we expect a strong finish on his senior year. Utica has several key playmakers and strong lines.
Prediction: Eisenhower 49-10
Romeo at Rochester Adams: The Highlanders of Rochester Adams drew Waterford Mott in the districts last year, but this years district makes more sense in distance. Adams is balanced around but features a strong RB group of; Chase Kareta and Steve Roncelli which will have a nice night, but Romeo runs a similar offense so others will need to step up as Adams should have a tougher time cracking a solid Romeo front 7. Nate Goralski is Romeo's lethal playmaker who could turn the game around on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Rochester Adams 9-7
Region 3 is primary East Macomb and several Wayne County schools that hug I-94.
District 1: Warren Mott at Chippewa Valley: #10 Chippewa Valley hosts Warren Mott in a week 5 rematch that Chippewa Valley won 45-12. The Marauders have struggled vs. other MAC Red teams this year besides Stevenson while Chippewa Valley has been in cruise control besides a last second loss to #4 Eisenhower.
Prediction: Chippewa Valley 52-13
Anchor Bay at Dakota: Both are 6-3. Dakota was beaten up pretty badly by Chippewa Valley and Romeo in week 7 and 8, before crushing 1-8 LCN last week. Anchor Bay started off strong with 5 straight wins but after being upset by Stevenson, they've lost 3 of their last 4. Dakota has limped into the playoffs in the past and have been fine, so expect a gutsy performance by Junior QB Mark Tocco vs. a gritty Tars team.
Prediction: Dakota 21-7
District 2: Western International at Fordson: Fordson hosts Western International who declined a week 9 crossover, a loss probably would have kept Western from being in the playoffs with a 5-4 record, but 5-3 is an auto-berth. Fordson behind a strong running game and strong defense will overwhelm Western all night.
Prediction: Fordson 56-0
Grosse Pointe South at Cass Tech: Someone complained about PSL games being at 7pm so the home PSL games were bumped up a few hours, that's the story here as Cass Tech will face a 5-4 Grosse Pointe South opponent. A false report of Northwestern forfeiting last week vs. Cass Tech did little as Cass Tech practically didn't play a starter. It's unclear if Aaron Jackson will resume QB duties or if he's out, a backup in Jalen Graham (2019) won't result in a beat skipped as Graham is a playmaker who has the "X-Factor."
Prediction: Cass Tech 39-3
Region 2 is the oddest bracket we have ever seen as 1 half is extremely weak in playoff points while the other is the best district in 2017.
District 1: Walled Lake Central at White Lake Lakeland: Walled Lake Central travels to White Lake Lakeland in a week 1 rematch that Lakeland won 20-13. Lakeland's wing offense has proven to be tough to stop and the Eagles have played great defense. They'll need to stop a strong offense of WLC. WLC defense has struggled to get off the field this year and unfortunately that will hurt them in the playoffs.
Prediction: Lakeland 16-10
Catholic Central at Stevenson: #19 Catholic Central will travel to Livonia Stevenson as both teams are 5-4, but a CC team in the playoffs is a good bet to make a long run. Catholic Central outside of Plymouth has ran the Western Wayne County teams insane since 2008.
Prediction: Catholic Central 21-0
District 2: Salem at Belleville: The true Group of Death doesn't benefit Salem much who makes their first playoff appearance in 26 years vs. the #5 team in the state, Belleville. Belleville has scored in every way imaginable this year and will need to play a good game as if they lose, they go home.
Prediction: Belleville 63-10
Saline at Canton: #17 Canton hosts #16 Saline in a district that makes sense. Canton can thank Salem for being in the playoffs and creating this messy district vs. a slightly higher ranked Saline team. Since Canton was blown out by Mona Shores in week 1 they've responded big time, pulling off 8 straight wins and know their path to Ford Field winds up with Saline at one point anyways. Saline has beaten Canton 2 of the past 3 years in the playoffs.
Prediction: Saline 17-14
Region 1 appeared to be much different in the pre-season as normally district 1 has all the West Michigan teams in the OK Red. The middle half of the division struggled and as a result won't be in the playoffs. The bottom of the Region will have some interesting 2 weeks as well with Flint area schools.
District 1: Grandville at West Ottawa: #21 West Ottawa smashed Grandville last week on the ground with Seankeese Townsend rushing for 6 touchdowns. Expect some more dominance from Townsend as well as others getting in playoff form such as a lethal receiver in Xavier Wade who has over 900 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns this year.
Prediction: West Ottawa 35-13
Rockford at Grand Ledge: Grand Ledge hosts Rockford in an interesting matchup. Grand Ledge has been solid on offense and defense this year, since a 14-7 loss to DeWitt in week 1. Rockford was expected to cruise this year but has 3 losses to tough opponents and a win over Saline to boost their morale.
Prediction: Grand Ledge 10-7
District 2: Lapeer at Davison: Davison and their head coach Kyle Zimmerman deserve every compliment in the book as they'll be playing 4pm on Saturday. Zimmerman and his Cardinals obviously bought into the we'll play anyone, anywhere mentality as they're the only game on Saturday at its time in the state, so all media will be in Davison for this rivalry vs. Lapeer. Tariq Reid will be the player to watch this afternoon.
Prediction: Davison 24-13
Grand Blanc at Clarkston: Grand Blanc will take a quick trip down I-75 to Clarkston for a huge showdown. Clarkston is 7-2 but their only losses are to West Bloomfield and Rochester Adams who are both in the top 11. Mike Fluegel has had a great career at Clarkston, so we'll be looking for him to have an incredible finish to his career. Grand Blanc is also 7-2 but was once a top 25 team before losing their week 7 and 8 games then barely beating Brighton by 1. Grand Blanc has an incredibly strong defense which should prove week 8 and 9's scores aren't a true representation.
Prediction: Clarkston 21-12