The regular season has come and gone, and all that remains in eleven-man football are 256 teams across 8 divisions vying for an opportunity to play at Ford Field for a State Championship. The Michigan Sports Radio team is excited and ready to go for the playoffs, as we have a large portion of our regular teams qualified for the playoffs this fall. Below are the games that we will be at this weekend:
ROCKFORD VS TRAVERSE CITY WEST
The Rams are into the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season, though for the first time ever they needed to get in as an at-large team with just five regular season wins. As a result, they will hit the road Friday night to Traverse City to take on the Titans. Traverse City West is 7-2 on the season, with their two losses coming to Holt and Grand Haven. They ran the table in the Big North Conference to earn their second straight league title and third straight playoff berth. These two teams have met eight times in the playoffs (2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004) and Rockford has won all eight contests by an average of nearly 20 points.
HUDSONVILLE VS WEST OTTAWA
The Eagles got a 23-16 victory over West Ottawa last Friday night to earn their playoff berth. The win also pushed them in front of the Panthers in terms of playoff points, meaning that they will host the Panthers in the postseason rematch. Hudsonville returns to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus, while West Ottawa is making their second straight trip. The Panthers lost three games this year, two of which by one score. Expect this game to be a tremendous rematch in the first round of the playoffs.
EAST KENTWOOD VS BRIGHTON
The fourth OK Red team to make the playoffs are the Falcons. After losing to Mona Shores in the opener, the Falcons have won their final eight games, including an undefeated run in the OK Red Conference. Their high powered offense has averaged 47.6 points per game on the season, but they will be tested against a stout Brighton defense that allowed just 14 points per game this year. The Bulldogs are 7-2 on the year, and both of their losses came to Belleville, one of the favorites in Division 1. These two teams have never met, and the only OK Red team that Brighton has played is Rockford, going 1-9 in 10 games. East Kentwood on the other hand, has never faced any team from the KLAA-West.
JENISON VS TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL
The Wildcats made the postseason for the first time since 2003, clinching their berth with a win over Kenowa Hills last week. There foe will be the Trojans of Traverse City Central, members of the Big North Conference. The Trojans come in with a 7-2 record, their only defeats coming against Traverse City West and Escanaba, both playoff teams. This is the fifth straight playoff berth for the Trojans, and they have won at least one playoff game in each of the past two years. These two teams have never met before, but Traverse City Central has a long history with OK Black foes Muskegon and Mona Shores, as they were once members of the Lake Michigan Conference. Against those two, Traverse City Central posted a 44-19 record. Jenison has never faced a member of the Big North Conference.
EAST GRAND RAPIDS VS MUSKEGON
In a rematch of the Week 3 OK Crossover matchup, the Pioneers begin their playoff run on the road against undefeated Muskegon. In the Week 3 game, East Grand Rapids struggled to finish the contest, giving up a lead in a 49-21 defeat. The Pioneers finished the season strong, as their 6-3 record gave them a share of the OK Gold Championship. Muskegon finished the year 9-0, and they have won 23 straight games dating back to last year. They begin their title defense against a familiar foe, as they have played East Grand Rapids four times since 2014, winning all four by at least eighteen points.
GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN VS NORTHVIEW
The Eagles of Grand Rapids Christian are in the playoffs for the ninth straight season. They finish the regular season at 7-2, and with an OK Gold Championship. This year, they will look to advance to the second round when they take on Northview. The Wildcats surprised many people this year to achieve a 7-2 record and their third playoff berth in school history. They will look for their first ever playoff win, having been defeated by at least three touchdowns in each of their previous appearances. These two teams were members of the OK White Conference from 2008-2011, and Grand Rapids Christian won three of the four meetings during that stretch.
WEST CATHOLIC VS UNITY CHRISTIAN
The West Catholic Falcons, the five-time defending Division 5 State Champions, begin their title defense on Friday night at Jenison High School when they take on Unity Christian. Though they have been 5-4 entering the playoffs before, the Falcons face perhaps their toughest first round foe in any of the past five seasons. Unity Christian enters this contest with a 7-2 record, and their only defeats have come against the two Zeeland schools, both Class A programs. This is their fifth straight trip to the postseason, and the previous four took place in Division 4. This year they slide down to Division 5, and their high-powered offense (35 PPG) will look to knock off the champs.
TRI-COUNTY VS SAGINAW SWAN VALLEY
For the first time since 2004, Tri-County has reached the postseason. The task is tall in round one, as they take on Swan Valley. This Battle of the Vikings pits a 5-4 Tri-County team against a 9-0 bunch from Swan Valley. Even more impressive than their undefeated record is how Swan Valley has done it. They have dominated opponents to the tune of a 374-81 margin, meaning that they win by an average of 41.6-9. Tri-County will need large production out of its offense that currently averages 20 points per game. For followers of the site, remember that Freeland lost to Swan Valley in the third week of the year 41-3.
FREELAND VS REMUS CHIPPEWA HILLS
The second game of the district in Division 5 pits the Freeland Falcons against the Warriors of Chippewa Hills. Freeland clinched their eleventh straight playoff trip with their week nine upset of Frankenmuth, while Chippewa Hills snuck into the playoffs at 5-4. In fact, the Warriors were outscored on the year to a tune of 200-273. Freeland’s only turned out a +7 margin on the season, so both teams will look to turn the tides and get in the win column. For followers of the website, Remus Chippewa Hills is a member of the CSAA-Gold Conference. They defeated Newaygo in Week 2, but they lost to Tri-County in Week 3.
NEWAYGO VS MORLEY STANWOOD
The Newaygo Lions defeated Muskegon Catholic Central last week to clinch their second straight trip to the postseason. Last year, their trip was short lived as Grant bounced them out of the first round. This year, they hope to change their fate and earn their third ever playoff win against Morley-Stanwood. The Mohawks were a strong team in the CSAA-Silver this year, posting a 7-2 record. Their two losses came to McBain and Kent City, both playoff teams. These two teams are frequent opponents, as members of the CSAA before it split. They have played 49 times over the years, with Newaygo holding a 31-17-1 edge.
KENT CITY VS SAUGATUCK
The Eagles of Kent City finished their 2018 regular season with an 8-1 record and a CSAA-Silver crown. They begin their playoff push against Saugatuck, the 2017 Division 7 Runner-Up. The Indians finished their season at 8-1, and they won the SAC-Lakeshore Conference. These two teams were both members of the OK-Silver from 2000-2002 and they played three times. Kent City won all three meetings, by a 100-24 spread.