The 2016 MHSAA Playoffs begin on Friday with 272 teams vying for nine state championships. While all of the West Michigan matchups can be found on our Playoff Central page, the five games that Michigan Sports Radio will be broadcasting this week are previewed more in depth below.
In a rematch of a week nine battle in which the Eagles emerged victorious 14-7, Rockford will travel to Hudsonville for the second straight week looking to change the outcome. In seventeen all time meetings, Rockford holds the 10-7 edge. This is the fourth consecutive year that the two teams will meet up in the postseason after meeting up in OK Red play. Hudsonville has won two of the three playoff games, despite losing all three regular season games in the same season. The running abilities of senior tailbacks Nick Isley and Dalton Agers will be a key matchup to watch.
Grand Ledge (7-2) at Grandville (8-1)
The OK Red Champion Grandville Bulldogs will begin their quest for their first playoff win since 2005 when they host the Comets of Grand Ledge. Grandville has been one of the most dominating teams in the state this year as they have outscored their opponents by an average score of 41.4-5.8. The Bulldogs and the Comets have three common opponents this fall. Grandville and Grand Ledge both defeated Lansing Sexton, and then Grandville defeated Holt and Hudsonville, while Grand Ledge was handily defeated. Grand Ledge holds the all-time series lead 4-3, but the two schools have not faced off since 2011 when Grand Ledge defeated the Bulldogs 35-7.
West Catholic (7-2) at Lansing Catholic (8-1)
The two teams are meeting for the fourth straight year of the playoffs, but this is the earliest round they have faced off. Last year, West Catholic defeated Lansing Catholic handily 42-13 in the state semifinals, and in 2014 the Falcons defeated the Cougars 24-20 to earn the Division 5 title. The 2013 district championship matchup was more of the same as West Catholic defeated Lansing Catholic 38-20. West Catholic has used a combination of David Fox and Gaetano Vallone under center this year, and will look to clear the Lansing Catholic hurdle in pursuit of their third straight Division 5 State Championship.
In Division 2, the two OK White foes rematch in the first round of the playoffs. Back in week five, Lowell defeated Greenville handily 35-10, yet the Red Arrows have been struggling in the past few weeks, needing comeback efforts in three of their last four wins. Regardless, Lowell is undefeated for a reason, and they will try to return to the state championship game where they fell short to Detroit Martin Luther King last year.
Saginaw Swan Valley (6-3) at Freeland (9-0)
In a rematch of a week seven meeting between TVC-Central foes, Swan Valley will travel to Freeland for the first round of the playoffs. Swan Valley gave Freeland one of their toughest tests of the season as they led 8-0 early and 14-8 in the third quarter. Three late rushing touchdowns gave the Falcons the victory, but expect another competitive matchup Friday night.