The MHSAA Playoffs are entering their third week, and teams are aiming for regional titles. Just two wins stand between each team and the ultimate dream of playing in Ford Field on Thanksgiving weekend for a State Championship. The Michigan Sports Radio team is ready this week to give you four LIVE games in the regional round. Below, check out the previews of those four games, as well as a quick blurb about other games in the area:
ROCKFORD AT SALINE
The Rams are peaking at the right time, winning six of their last seven games. After defeating Traverse City West and Hudsonville in two close contests, Rockford is in the regional finals against Saline. The Hornets are also hot, winning their last ten games after a season opening loss. This included a 17-7 win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central in Week 2, and a 42-7 win over East Kentwood in last week’s district finals. Saline’s defense is elite, holding nine of their eleven opponents to seven or fewer points. It is a tall task for the Rams this week, but anything can happen in the postseason. Their momentum late into the season has them in a prime position to contend in a tough road game. Last season, Rockford defeated Saline 14-0 in the regular season opener.
CEDAR SPRINGS AT MUSKEGON
The Red Hawks of Cedar Springs are in the regional finals for the first time since 2000. That year, they got to the semifinals after defeating Kingsford. This year, their opponent is a lot tougher than the Flivvers. The Muskegon Big Reds are winners of 25 straight games including a Division 3 State Championship last season. Muskegon has dominated their opponents this season, as only two games have finished within fifteen points. Their high-powered offense led by junior quarterback Cameron Martinez averages nearly 52 points per game. On the other side, the Wing-T offense of the Red Hawks can also put up points, just north of 38 points per game. The unconventional running attack is a tough thing to prepare for, giving Cedar Springs a potential advantage. These two teams played in the 2014 Division 3 District Finals, and the Big Reds won 27-14.
SAINT CLAIR AT WILLIAMSTON
The Williamston Hornets are back in the postseason for the third straight season. It’s also their second straight trip to the regional finals. They hope to be more successful this season when they take on Saint Clair. The Saints are 9-2 on the season, and their offense is explosive. In their two playoff wins, Saint Clair has scored 70 and 62 points in victories over Yale and North Branch. Williamston topped the 50-point mark in their opener, but they mainly have relied on their defense to carry them. Seven of their eleven games finished with Williamston allowing two touchdowns or fewer, so this is a battle of strengths for a regional title.
UNITY CHRISTIAN AT KALAMAZOO HACKETT
In Division 5, the Unity Christian Crusaders are looking for their second regional title in three seasons. Standing in their way is Kalamazoo Hackett. The Fighting Irish are undefeated on the season, and they have a potent offensive attack. They average 53.3 points per game, and that includes six games of 58+ points. Twice this season, Hackett has topped the seventy point mark in victories. Their defense is no sham either, allowing about 15 points per game and holding four teams to single digits. Unity Christian can also score the football, averaging 36 points per game. They have topped 40 points six times, so this one has all the makings of a shootout.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
In Division 2, Mona Shores plays host to Portage Northern with the regional title on the line. The Sailors are 10-1 on the season, with their only defeating coming against Muskegon. They average 44.2 points per game, and their defense has pitched a trio of shutouts this year. Portage Northern comes in with a 9-2 record. The Huskies have also displayed strong defense this season, holding six opponents to single digits.
In Division 3, Zeeland East has reached the regionals for the first time since 2010. They will take on Parma Western, who enters the contest at 10-1. The Panthers have won their first two playoff games ever this year, and they look to continue their magical journey.
In Division 4, two-time defending champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central takes on Escanaba. The Eskymos are 9-2, and they have won seven straight contests. These two teams have played in each of the last two playoffs. In the 2016 regionals, GRCC won 34-0. Last year, the Cougars won 24-0.
Also in Division 4, the Holland Christian Maroons are back in the regionals for the first time since 2009. This week, they take on Edwardsburg who enters at 11-0. The Eddies have won double-digit games for the fifth straight season, and their defense has allowed just six points per game all season.