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MHSAA Football Playoffs - Pre District Round

Its GO time, baby! The regular season is now history and we are knee deep into the MHSAA football playoffs. With that said, each game not only gets more difficult, but also more important. This means that coaches and players have turned up the intensity level yet again. No one cares if you’ve won your conference or have a 5-4 record; they want to beat you just the same. Weather is turning, rain is falling, and football is still going on in our great state. Let’s move take a peek at some games across the state that will be played on Friday.


Frankenmuth (6-3) at Flint Powers Catholic (5-4) (Friday October 28, 7pm) (Division 5)

Frankenmuth is back in the playoffs after a three year layoff. The Eagles play in the Tri Valley Conference East Division which is a bit weaker than the Tri Valley Central Division, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk. Division foe Millington played in the D5 semifinal for the past two seasons and other teams have stronger years and weaker years. Last week, the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to former division foe Vassar by the score of 31-28. Vassar nailed a 23 yard field goal with just under two minutes to play for the final score. Eagle quarterback Doug Ham completed six of his 11 passes for 157 yards and one interception while also running 18 times for 62 additional yards and two scores. Blaine Malochleb ran seven times for 45 yards and two scores. Ian Fischer caught four footballs for 138 yards. This will be an interesting game. Frankenmuth can do some damage offensively with dual threat QB Doug Ham. The Eagles will need to protect him and let him make plays if they want to win.

It wasn’t a sure thing that Flint Powers Catholic would make the playoffs with a 5-4 record. What really helped them is they played in the tiny Big Nine Conference which gave them six games (played each team twice) against Class A schools. Next year, the Big Nine will dissolve and be assimilated into the new southern division of the Saginaw Valley League along with the rest of the Big Nine and former SVL team Flint Northwestern. Last week, Powers played Goodrich and won 26-21. Goodrich took the early lead, but wouldn’t recapture it as Powers exploded for a 20 point second quarter. Quarterback Garrett Pougnet completed four of his eight passes for 84 yards and a touchdown while also running 18 times for 83 yards. Spencer Harchick, Idris Hobdy, and Ethan Wiskur each scored touchdowns in the second quarter. Wiskur finished with four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. Winner of this game will play winner of the Millington vs. Lake Fenton game.

West Coast

Holland (7-2) at Stevensville Lakeshore (7-2) (Friday October 28, 7pm) (Division 3)

It’s been a long time since Holland won seven games. The last time was back in 1988. This season, they got an early momentum booster by beating five time reining D3 Champs East Grand Rapids. It won’t be an easy game though. Stevensville Lakeshore has been in the playoffs 13 straight years. Last week, the Dutch blasted Muskegon Mona Shores 31-12. Quarterback Corey Willis completed five of his 17 passes for 101 yards and one interception. He also was the leading rusher with 25 carries for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Sam Sanchez ran the ball three times for 43 yards and a touchdown, caught one pass for 48 yards, and returned a fumble 12 yards for a score. This season has gone very well for the Dutch of Holland. Now they have another big test versus Stevensville Lakeshore.

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The Lancers played a very good game last week against a weak Benton Harbor squad. Stevensville Lakeshore won the game 52-22. Although senior running back DeVon Bailey was suspended for violating the school’s athletic code, sophomore Zack Drake came in and ran for 132 yards on 13 carries. The scoring for S-L was fast and furious in the first half so they started subbing many players before they got to halftime. Miles Pearson, Mark Cox, and Zack Ellis all scored in the game as well as quarterback Johnny Nate hitting TD passes. Nate finished eight of 11 for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Austin Kaiser caught all three touchdowns and finished with five receptions for 118 yards. Pearson ran for 82 yards on seven carries while Cox ran 11 times for 48 yards. As a guy who loves special teams, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tyler Whitwam. He nailed seven PATS and also a 22 yard field goal.


Canton (7-2) at Plymouth (8-1) (Friday October 28, 7pm) (Division 1)

One bad part of the playoffs is that you typically meet teams you’ve already played during the season in the first few rounds. Sometimes, they are even in the same town and are in your conference. On rare occasions such as this, they share a football stadium! My question is, how can you be the away team on your home field? Last week, the Canton Chiefs rolled Salem by the final score of 49-22. Quarterback Kyle Adams found tight end Evan Rinke for two touchdowns; the first went 86 yards and the second went 86 yards to pay dirt. Malcom Hollingsworth ran seven times for 92 yards and a score. Kendall Scott ran 11 times for 148 yards. All in all, Canton just overpowered a team that is building toward being a fine squad. They will have their hands full this week with their cross campus rivals.

Plymouth lost their first game of the season last week. Warren DeLaSalle beat them 28-25. Quarterback Shaun Austin completed 17 of his 30 passes for 225 yards and a score. In addition, he busted a 70 yard run for a score. Donte Fox toted the rock 22 times for 214 yards and scored twice. In addition, he caught four passes for 53 yards. Receiver Matt Janke caught three balls for 84 yards. It was only three weeks ago that the Wildcats beat Canton 31-30. With a little confidence because of that victory, Plymouth should come out ready to play. They will need to do all they can if they want a return trip to Ford Field to try and accomplish what they missed last year; a state championship.


Ishpeming Westwood (6-2) at Ishpeming (7-1) (Friday October 28, 7pm) (Division 7)

Westwood got a great boost the past couple of weeks, winning four straight games to make sure they made the playoffs. Last week, they played a Negaunee team that needed a win to ensure that they made the playoffs as well. Westwood wasn’t about to let their three game winning streak end and they beat the Miners 35-14. There wasn’t a whole lot of passing, even though the weather was dry but cold. In total, there were less than 20 combined passes thrown. Running back Tyler Prophet ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts. Coach Jon Beckman credited the offensive line for controlling the line of scrimmage and giving Prophet holes to run through. Zach Rankinen ran the ball 14 times for 69 yards. These two teams know each other and have already played this season.

Ishpeming hasn’t played a game in weeks. They beat Negaunee on October 7th by the score of 36-14. The following week was open. Last week, the game was against a Gwinn squad that stopped their season in the middle of September. So with three weeks to practice against themselves, the Hematites might be a little rusty out of the gate this week. Back on October 8th when Ishpeming played Negaunee, they ran the ball a lot. While they only passed the ball six times, they ran 46 times for 291 yards. That happens when the wind is as crazy as it was that night. Eight players carried the ball. They scored on fix of their first six possessions. This will be a tough game.