The D Zone Breakdown of 2018's Final Top 25 Ranked Teams (Story)

Written by
Jeff Corrion
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Jeff Corrion

The 2018 season wrapped up with an exciting day of State Championship's with some upsets including the highest scoring game in state finals history (New Lothrop over Madison) and one of the best games we've covered in awhile (Chippewa Valley over Clarkston).

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- Breakdown of our Top 25:

#1 Chippewa Valley (14-0) - Division 1: The Big Reds should be everyone's undisputed #1 team in the state as their post-season path was vs. 5 top 25 teams, which is an insane statistic. The Big Reds only scare came in the first 2 minutes of their opening playoff game vs. Eisenhower as they allowed an onside kick and quick touchdown before winning comfortably. The question with this Chippewa Valley team that didn't enter the season with a lot of hype and there's still not a lot of hype about them, but all-time where does this team compare? Given their difficult path + the scores of the wins, this in our opinion is certainly the best team out of Macomb County in a decade and a top 5 team across in the state in the past decade.

#2 Clarkston (12-2) - Division 1: The Division 1 runner-ups appeared to be the next victim of Chippewa Valley's dominance in the Division 1 state championship, but the Wolves adjusted and provided a thrilling finish as they made the score 31-30 in the final 30 seconds. Clarkston went for the win and attempted the 2 point conversion, but Chippewa Valley stopped them to win 31-30. The Wolves season had memorable wins over; West Bloomfield, Lapeer, and Saline.

#3 Belleville (12-1) - Division 1: The Tigers continue their turnaround with another strong season in the right direction. Their only loss was to Chippewa Valley in the Division 1 semi-final. The Tigers edged Fordson earlier in the season as well as a decisive win over West Bloomfield in the Regionals. Belleville also beat 4 teams in our top 30; Fordson, West Bloomfield, and Brighton twice.

#4 Fordson (10-2) - Division 1: The Tractors did something no team the state has done in over 11 years, win at the previous #1 ranked Cass Tech's homefield. The Tractors shocked the state in the District Championships by winning at Cass Tech. Fordson's only two losses are to Belleville and Chippewa Valley.

#5 Cass Tech (10-1) - Division 1: The Technicians were a top 25 team in the country through a majority of the season with blowout wins over King and River Rouge, but most impressively a road win at St. Edwards, Ohio who is looking to win a state championship in Ohio this upcoming weekend. Cass Tech was upset by Fordson in the District Championship, it's their first season since 2009 that they didn't win a Regional Championship.

#6 Detroit King (12-2) - Division 3: The King Crusaders responded nicely following a late season loss to Cass Tech by defeating River Rouge 7-6 in the Pre-Districts. King did what they did best after that and play confidently their next 4 games. They beat a top 25 DeWitt team in the semi-finals and the previous #2 team in the state, Muskegon in the state championship game and snapped their 27-game winning streak.

#7 Muskegon (13-1) - Division 3: After the first two weeks, Muskegon breezed their way through the regular season and began to have some close games in the playoffs, but the Big Reds put the games away eventually with ease. Muskegon started the finals up 7-0 vs. King but they eventually struggled to keep up with King in the 2nd half of the D3 final. Muskegon's memorable season featured early wins over King and De La Salle as well as their rivals, Mona Shores late in the year.

#8 De La Salle (12-2) - Division 2: De La Salle's toughest test this post-season was supposed to be Oak Park, but it wound up being their most comfortable win of the playoffs. They turned it up late to defeat a top 15 team, Mona Shores in the D2 final. The Pilots had a early season loss to Muskegon on the road and lost to Catholic Central in week 8, fortunately for the Pilots they avenged their week 8 loss to CC the following week.

#9 Saline (11-2) - Division 1: The Hornets only two losses this season are in their first game of the season at home vs. Chippewa Valley and Clarkston in the semi-final. It has been an incredible season for Saline who didn't enter the year with a ton of expectations, but they showed they're one of the best teams in the state particularly late in the year.

#10 West Bloomfield (9-3) - Division 1: The Lakers followed their 2017 Division 1 runner-up season with another very solid season that ended in the Regionals vs. a slightly ranked higher, Belleville team. WB defeated Catholic Central in the District Championship as well as the D2 semi-finalists Groves in week 1.

#11 River Rouge (8-2) - Division 3: If your only 2 losses in a season are to Cass Tech and Detroit King, it's a highly successful season. The Panthers season ended with a 7-6 loss to King in the first round of the playoffs in one of the most shocking pairings we've ever seen.

#12 Mona Shores (12-2) - Division 2: Mona Shores as expected cruised after beating East Kentwood in round 1. They won all their games they were supposed to by comfortable margins and lost to the teams that they weren't favored to win, Muskegon and De La Salle. Mona Shores was the D2 runner-ups.

#13 Dakota (8-3) - Division 1: The Cougars continue the trend of teams who lost to Chippewa Valley in the playoffs. Dakota proved to be a dangerous team this season with a close loss to CV during the regular season and two late season wins over a top 25 Romeo team.

#14 East Kentwood (9-2) - Division 1: The Falcons only two losses this year are vs. very good teams, Mona Shores in week 1 and Saline in week 11. EK cleared through what was a tougher than normal OK Red Conference with a perfect record.

#15 Oak Park (9-2) - Division 2: A promising season which featured a win over higher ranked West Bloomfield didn't go as planned as Oak Park was blown out by DLS at home for a district championship. The Knights have to hope for third time is a charm vs. potentially De La Salle in the 2019 playoffs.

#16 Lapeer (11-1) - Division 1: The Lightning's only loss is to Clarkston, Lapeer's best win was one week earlier vs. Oxford. Lapeer had some other nice wins vs; Davison, Lakeland, and Grand Blanc.

#17 Oxford (8-3) - Division 1: The Wildcats had a very difficult schedule that ended in the District Finals vs. Lapeer. Oxford's season will undoubtedly be highlighted by a win over Clarkston and a win over their rivals Lake Orion to reclaim the Double O Pigskin Trophy.

#18 Detroit Catholic Central (7-4) - Division 1: The Shamrocks had a shocking loss to St. Mary's late in the year that potentially put their playoff hopes in danger, but they responded with a huge win over the eventual D2 champions, De La Salle. Catholic Central lost in the District Final to West Bloomfield.

#19 DeWitt (12-1) - Division 3: Outside of; King, Muskegon, and River Rouge - DeWitt was the only team expected to contend for the title in D3. The Panthers season was highlighted by two nice wins over East Lansing, but they were unable to keep up with King in the D3 semi-final.

#20 Groves (10-3) - Division 2: Groves didn't really shock the state by getting to the D2 semi-final as they were well prepared along the way and even took out the 2017 D2 runner-ups, Livonia Franklin. Groves lost to the eventual D2 champions, De La Salle.

#21 Romeo (6-4) - Division 1: The Bulldogs were much stronger than their record showed, they played Chippewa Valley tight for a majority of the game and have some very tough losses including Dakota twice and Oxford. Romeo had the toughest MAC Red crossover schedule with wins over; Grosse Pointe South and Port Huron Northern.

#22 Edwardsburg (14-0) - Division 4: The Eddies avenged their 2017 loss to GRCC and in the process proved with a insanely potent offense that they were among the state's best. The Eddies won a very competitive D4 final vs. Chelsea and are well deserved to be in the top 25.

#23 Eisenhower (6-4) - Division 1: The Eagles had a very tough schedule with losses to; Chippewa Valley twice, Oak Park, and Romeo. This was a memorable comeback season for the Eagles who upset Dakota late in the year.

#24 Davison (7-3) - Division 1: The Cardinals dream season started off as expected until they lost to the eventual D2 champions, De La Salle and lost 3 of their last 4 games. A mid-season stretch of wins over; Carman-Ainsworth, Flint Powers, and Grand Blanc was impressive.

#25 Grand Rapids Catholic Central (11-2) - Division 4: The Cougars of GRCC had a much tougher than normal schedule as they faced Saline early in the year. GRCC beat West Catholic as well this year. GRCC was unable to beat Edwardsburg for a 2nd straight season as they lost 46-44 in the D4 semi-final.