MHSAA Football - 8-Player Finals and 11-Player Semifinals Preview

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It’s championship season! Tonight, the 8-Player state championship will happen in Greenville. Tomorrow will have all the state semifinals in 11 player football. Winners this weekend will get to play at Ford Field next week for the right to call themselves champions. Right now though, they have a tough game to play and need to concentrate on being prepared. Let’s look at the 8-Player state championship game as well as a few of the semifinal games.

8-Player State Championship

Cedarville (11-1) vs. Lawrence (12-0) (Friday November 21, 7pm at Greenville High School)

This is it for these two teams. They have earned the right to square off and try to win a state title. Cedarville won last week in a snowy game against Deckerville. The Trojans were able to make some big plays throughout the game and leave their home turf with a W. Quarterback Joe Duncan rushed 17 times for 121 yards and three scores. He also completed 10 of his 12 passes for 162 yards and another score. Brad Causley returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a score. Mike Bailey rushed 16 times for 53 yards and caught two passes for 48 more. Blake Melvin was a monster on defense, coming up with 19 tackles.

Lawrence had an impressive win over Peck. They scored at least 12 points in each quarter and win 66-40. Quarterback Derek Gribler is 114 of 184 for 2,344 yards and 41 touchdowns this season. He also carried the ball 140 times for 1631 yards and 21 more scores. Hunter Coombs has rushed 70 times for 698 yards and 12 touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 290 yards and seven scores. Matt Cammire has pulled in 52 passes for 1,183 yards and 25 touchdowns. This is a prolific offense. They have scored at least 40 points in every game and the defense has posted five shutouts. Lawrence has played this style of football for two years and seems ready for a chance to win their first state title.

Division 3 – Detroit

Orchard Lake St Mary’s (10-2) vs. New Boston Huron (11-1) (Saturday November 22, 1pm at Dearborn High School)

Every year it seems that OLSM is playing for a state title. The years they don’t, they haven’t made the playoffs. Coach George Porritt has had a lot of quality players on the field for the Eaglets. Among them are 2015 MSU commit Tyson Smith. Last week, the Eaglets beat Mason 49-10 and outgained them offensively 595-114. Pierce Bauer was the work horse back for the night, carries 11 times for 143 yards and three scores. Justin Myrick rushed for 102 on 16 touches. Brandon Adams toted the rock 10 times for 70 yards and a score. Eight different Eaglets carried the ball and they rushed for 412 yards. Quarterback Brendan Tabone went 8-8 for 158 and two scores. His hit Griffin Sheposh for a 51 yard strike and Kahlee Hammer for a 48 yard score to account for his passing touchdowns.

New Boston Huron is the Cinderella story this year. This is their third winning season since 1979 and shatters the school record for wins in a season (6.) Coach Dan Kalbfleisch has been at the helm for 11 years now and has accomplished some things not seen around those parts. That includes making the playoffs and now winning a playoff game as well as a football trophy. Junior quarterback Matt Hartwick has completed 51 of his 101 passes for 1052 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Hartwick has also carried 148 times for 1,265 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jacob Fryer has one more carry (149) for 976 yards and 12 touchdowns. Devin Collins has been a favorite receiver with 26 catches for 677 yards and 10 touchdowns. This will be a HUGE test for New Boston. They need to play a perfect game to beat the tough defense and strong running game of OLSM.

Division 7 – Upper Peninsula

Ishpeming (11-0) vs. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (11-0) (Saturday November 22, 2pm at Marquette Superior Dome)

Ishpeming has been the class of Division 7 for the past few seasons. They come into the game as back to back state champions. Last week they were able to beat Traverse City St. Francis for the first time in four attempts. The Hemitites utilized a strong running game to beat the Gladiators. Leading the rushing attack was Ozzie Hakkarinen with 32 runs for 168 yards and a score. Quarterback Ozzy Corp completed three of his six passes for 40 yards and ran in a pair of scores. They will be tough to beat if they can play their game.

MLS is in quite a different spot. Seminary hadn’t won a playoff game since the opening round of the 1994 season. Now they find themselves in the semifinal for the third time in school history. In their 44-8 win over Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port last week, they were able to get things on track offensively. The first quarter saw them take a 21-0 lead. The Lakers scored with 57 second left in the half, but MLS was able to score twice in an 18 second span before halftime to push the lead up. Quarterback Nate Lindloff completed 10 of his 13 passes for 169 yards and four touchdowns. Casey Williams found the end zone on both of his receptions and finished with 87 yards while also running 11 times for 48 more and another score. Andrew Schroeder caught six for 53 and a score while Benjamin Burger caught one pass for a 12 yard touchdown. Lindloff also found the end zone on one of his seven runs for 34 yards.

Division 4 – Capital Area

Grand Rapids South Christian 10-2) vs. Edwardsburg (11-1) (Saturday November 22, 3pm at Jackson High School)

The Sailors of GR South Christian have been here before. They have played in the past two Division 4 State Championship games, beating Country Day in 2012 and falling to Marine City last year. Now they have a chance to make it three straight trips to Ford Field. Last week, they sailed past Whitehall behind the stellar play of quarterback Jon Wassink. He completed 10 of his 17 passes for 175 yards and a score while also running 10 times for 178 yards and two more scores. Jake Weirenga caught seven passes for 57 yards while fellow receiver Ryan Veeenstra caught three for 97 yards and a score. Geff Plasman scored three times and gained 52 yards on his 10 carries. This is going to be a good game!

Edwardsburg is in the same spot they found themselves in last season. GR South Christian stands in their way to Ford Field. This is the Eddies third trip to the state semifinals. They utilize a strong rushing attack from the Wing-T offense and were able to score four times on runs over 45 yards in the second half. Their shortest touchdown was 30 yards. Quarterback Dante Razzano completed all three of his passes for 60 yards and a score. Jackson Gaideski caught the 30 yard scoring toss. Isaiah Miller rushed 13 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Dustin Vires toted the rock 10 times for 153 yards and two scores.