The 2020 high school football season is back, although it took until 2021 for the regional finals to kick off. Sixty-four teams remain in 11-man football, and our team at Michigan Sports Radio will be on hand to see eight of the thirty-two matchups. A quick preview of those games:
Rockford (7-0) vs Saline (8-1)
The Rams will host the Division 1 Regional contest, welcoming the Saline Hornets to town. Rockford has experience playing after shutdowns, as they had a two-week quarantine period back in October. Rockford responded with four stellar performances, including wins over West Ottawa, Hudsonville, and a thrilling overtime win against Grandville in the district finals. They are averaging 34.7 points per game, while allowing 13.3.
Saline will hit the road after a capturing the district championship. The Hornets won their first five regular season games convincingly before a one-point loss to Grand Blanc. In the playoffs, they blew out Ann Arbor Pioneer and Ann Arbor Huron before a narrow 14-8 win over Holt in the district title game. The Hornets’ offense averages 40.3 points per game, and they allow 13 points per game on defense.
These teams last met in the 2018 regionals when Saline won 13-12 after stopping a two-point conversion attempt from Rockford. Saline has won three of the four all-time meetings.
East Grand Rapids (6-3) at Muskegon (8-1)
The Pioneers are into the regional finals after taking down Northview, Holland, and Middleville in the playoffs thus far. They have dominated those contests in the final margins, winning all games by at least 24 points. The momentum dates back to the impressive win in the regular season finale against Byron Center. Offensively, they are averaging 31.4 points per game, and the defense is allowing 14.5 points per contest.
Muskegon comes in with an 8-1 record, and winners of their last seven games. They were pushed to the limits in their thrilling win over Zeeland West, but they waltzed through the postseason, taking down Greenville, Cedar Springs and Marquette. The Big Reds average 41 points per game, and their defense is allowing 14.4.
This is the third straight year, and the fourth in the past five, that these two teams meet in the State Playoffs. Muskegon has won all of these games, including 49-10 a year ago. In fact, Muskegon has won all seven matchups against East Grand Rapids.
South Christian (8-1) at Edwardsburg (8-0)
The Sailors will travel to Edwardsburg to square off with the Eddies. South Christian has outscored Kelloggsville, Grand Rapids Christian and Hamilton to the tune of 133-20 in three playoff victories. Other than the narrow 28-27 loss to GR Catholic Central, they have won all seven games by double figures. South Christian’s offense is averaging 36.2 points per game, while allowing 13.3.
Edwardsburg’s undefeated football team is firing on all cylinders this year. They are unbeaten, and they have dominated the competition. The Eddies are averaging 56.1 points per game, and they have allowed just over 7 per game. Edwardsburg’s closest game was thirty-six points in a win over Jonesville, and they have scored at least 43 in every ballgame.
These schools have not met since 2014, when South Christian won 50-48 in a thrilling football game in the State Semifinals. Jon Wassink led a potent Sailors’ offense that ultimately stopped a two-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds of the game. South Christian won the State Championship that season.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central (8-0) vs Oakridge (7-2)
The GRCC Cougars are back in the regional finals, with a perfect record. They have only played once this postseason, taking down Belding 41-6 in round two. They earned a first-round bye, and they advanced to the regionals after Portland had to forfeit. This team is averaging 39.3 points per game, and the defense is yielding 15.1 per contest.
The Oakridge Eagles are playing in their first regional finals since 2017, and they look to capture their first regional championship since 2013. In the regular season, the Eagles dominated four league foes, but lost to Montague and Whitehall by multiple scores. In the playoffs, they have had little trouble with Chippewa Hills, Big Rapids and Tri-County. Offensively, they average 37 points per game, and they allow 13.9 on defense.
This will be the first ever meeting between the schools.
Forest Hills Eastern (6-3) at Cadillac (6-2)
The Hawks are back in the regionals for the first time since 2015, also their last playoff appearance. After a 3-3 regular season that saw the team fall to South Christian, Middleville and GR Catholic Central, they have put together a strong playoff run. They shutout Allendale in round one, edged Spring Lake in the second round, and they dominated Whitehall in the district finals. FHE is averaging 27.6 points, and they allow 17.5 per game.
Cadillac makes a return to the regionals for the second straight year. They posted a 4-2 regular season record, losing to the Traverse City schools while beating the rest of their league. In the postseason, they got a first round bye and a forfeit win against Alma to advance to the district finals. In their first playoff action, they beat Sault Ste. Marie 34-14 to advance to Saturday’s game.
These two schools have met just once, in Forest Hills Eastern’s first season back in 2004. In just their third game as a program, the Hawks were unable to top the Vikings, falling 15-6.
Mona Shores (9-0) at East Lansing (8-0)
The Mona Shores Sailors and their fifteen-game win streak hit the road to take on the East Lansing Trojans. They are looking for their third straight regional championship in this game. This postseason, they dominated Wyoming before needing all four quarters to get past Forest Hills Central and Caledonia. Offensively, they average 45 points per game. On the defensive end, they allow 17.2 per game.
East Lansing is also perfect, and they are in their first regional final game since 2017. Searching for their first regional title since 2007, they will rely on a phenomenal defense. They are allowing 4.6 points per game, allowing their offense to be more than sufficient at 39.1 points per game. So far this year, they haven’t played a game closer than seventeen points. They defeated Portage Central and Portage Northern in the playoffs.
This is the first ever game between the schools.
Freeland (8-1) at Reed City (9-0)
The Freeland Falcons have won eight straight games to reach the regional finals. In the playoffs, Freeland has had little trouble against Valley Lutheran, Bullock Creek and Essexville Garber. Their offense has racked up an average of 32.8 points per game, while their defense yields an average of 18.1.
Reed City is unbeaten as they enter the regional finals. Their prolific rushing attack is scoring an average of 39.6 points per contest, and their defense allows 16.1 on average. In the playoffs, they dominated Cheboygan and Kingsford in the first two rounds. Their district final game was cancelled, with the Coyotes advancing via forfeit against Kingsley.
This is the first ever meeting between these two teams.
Williamston (8-1) vs Milan (8-1)
The Hornets are back in the regional finals for the third time in four years. They have just one blemish on their record, a defeat against Mason. In the playoffs, Williamston advanced via forfeit against Owosso before a pair of two-score victories against Lake Fenton and Battle Creek Pennfield. They only average 24.6 points per game, but their defense allows 14.8.
The Big Reds of Milan are also 8-1 so far this year. They have won seven straight contests after a loss against Riverview. So far this postseason, they advanced against Adrian via forfeit, and followed that up with wins over Carleton Airport and Redford Union. Offensively, they are scoring 31.9 points per contest, and their defense has given up 17.4 points per game.
This is the first meeting between these two schools.
Lansing Catholic (7-2) vs Grosse Ile (6-3)
The Cougars are currently riding a four-game winning streak as they enter the regional finals. They took down Pewamo-Westphalia in the regular season finale, and followed that up with three postseason wins. They convincingly beat Berrien Springs and South Haven, and they took down Olivet by eleven. LCC is scoring 33 points per game, and their opponents average 13.8 per contest.
The Grosse Isle Red Devils are in the regional finals for the first time since 2012. After a 2-3 start, this team has won four in a row. They dominated Monroe Jefferson and Dundee in their pre-district games before they beat Romulus Summit 14-10 in the district finals. Grosse Ile is averaging 33.3 per game, while giving up 24.8 points on average.
These two teams have never met on the gridiron.