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MHSAA Football Preview - Week Eight

Week Eight is here. For many squads, this is the last conference game. It is one last chance to beat the other conference schools and take the title. Some smaller conferences have already moved on to the second phase of the season; taking on other quality schools in hopes that they can achieve a playoff berth and get that 10th game. I think the slate of games I’m writing about this week is very interesting. Three of the four games will give the league trophy to the winner. The other game should just be tough hard-nosed games. Lastly, I want to send a shout-out to my quarterback, Adam. It’s better to have broken it now than in the 8th game of your senior year. Keep your chin up, you’re a tough kid. Will Adam get my message? I have no idea, but I bet Ethan will! Moving along…!!!

Clarkston (7-0) at Lake Orion (7-0) (Friday October 12, 7pm)

This is a huge game in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division. The winner will take home the crown. The loser should get a chance to avenge the loss in the playoffs (should, but there is no guarantee.) These teams have nearly split every game they played. Clarkston holds an advantage in the series with 23 wins versus Lake Orion’s 20. Last week, Clarkston beat Troy 28-0. Most of that was thanks to running back Ian Eriksen. He rushed 16 times for 295 yards and three touchdowns. He has 1,282 yards on 157 carries this season. With a stallion like that, you can rest assured that Clarkston will come out and try to establish the run.

The Dragons of Lake Orion beat up on Pontiac last week 49-13. Quarterback Derek Delaura completed four of his six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Chaz Miller pulled in two of those passes for 73 yards and a score. Zach Arnold also caught a touchdown pass, from 41 yards away. Christopher Leigh scored twice and rushed for 98 yards. Jacob Miller ran for 78 yards and scored twice as well. Dominick Giovinazzo chipped in 80 rushing yards. On the night, they rushed for over 300 yards and five players had at least 25 yards rushing. Coach Chris Bell knows the significance of this game. This is a huge rivalry. They are expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven thousand people at the game. This week features MANY games with titles on the line in the Detroit area. In my mind, this should be the best of them.

Stevensville Lakeshore (7-0) at Mattawan (7-0) (Friday October 12, 7pm)

With both teams this week at a perfect 7-0, the winner will take home the Southwestern Michigan Conference West Division title. Stevensville had a tough game last week against St. Joseph. A controversial call ended the game (a classic call, the old catch/no catch went against St. Joe when it was ruled a no catch in the end zone.) It was a very exciting game though. Both teams had long drives in the second half and it could have gone either way. For Stevensville, Zak Drake rushed nine times for 69 yards. Quarterback Johnny Nate rushed for 24 yards on 11 carries while also completing nine of his 22 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Harold Wiggins caught four of them for 51 yards and a score. The Lancers will need another strong game all around if they want to win the conference title.

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Mattawan also played a tough game last week. They beat Portage Central 35-34. Mattawan has won 13 straight league contests dating back to last year’s SWM conference title. Even though Portage Central recovered two inside kicks in the last five and a half minutes, Mattawan held on to win the game. I’d talk about the game quarterback Ryan Payerle had, but he only attempted one pass and it fell incomplete. This is a running team. They are led by Trevor Sweeney. He finished with 189 yards and four touchdowns on 14 rushes. Brok Lamorandier ran 11 times for 81 yards and a score. Sweeney also came up with 14 tackles on defense. The website has a projection of both teams in the same region and district for the Division 3 playoffs.

Midland (7-0) at Bay City Western (7-0) (Friday October 12, 7pm)

It’s going down at The Cornfield tonight. These two rivals in the Saginaw Valley League will square off to determine who wins the conference title. The past few seasons have been dominated by Mount Pleasant, but they are having an off year and both of these teams are trying to take advantage of it. Last week, Midland continued its winning ways and beat Saginaw High 24-0. The Chemic defense held the Trojans to 97 yards of total offense. On offense, Alec Johnson completed 10 of his 20 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Will Williams led the rushing attack with eight runs for 71 yards and two catches for nine yards and a score. Ryan Singer caught three passes for 68 yards and a score while also nailing a 33 yard field goal. These two teams will probably meet up in the playoffs as well.

For the Warriors of Bay City Western, they pulled the thorn out of their side by beating Mt. Pleasant last week. They had not beaten the Oilers since 2005. Quarterback Joe Ivan completed 10 of his22 passes for 199 yards and two scores. He also ran eight times for 19 more. Mason Myers was the work horse back with 20 rushes for 107 yards. The big player of the game had to be Charles Proctor. He ran seven times for 64 yards and three scores while also catching four passes for another 73 yards and a touchdown. Western hasn’t won a league title since 2008. This is their chance to correct that and get a win over one of their biggest rivals.

DeWitt (6-1) at Portland (6-1) (Friday October 12, 7pm)

Last week, the Panthers of DeWitt locked up the Capital Area Activities Conference Red Division championship. They beat Fowlerville by the score of 44-14. A huge part of that was thanks to quarterback Jacob Heath. He completed 19 of his 30 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Zach Deak led the rushing attack with eight runs for 27 yards. Ryan Anderson caught seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Justice Shankel caught five for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Trevino only caught one pass, but it went 59 yards for a score. It was a huge win for DeWitt and should build confidence going into the last two games of the regular season.

Portland, on the other hand, lost a heart breaker last week to Lansing Catholic Central, 41-32. They battled hard after being down 35-12 at the halftime break. Running back Jacob Kimmel ran for 51 yards on the first drive of the second half and punctuated it with a touchdown. Quarterback Tanner Allison hit Auston Brandt for a score in the third as well to tighten up the score 35-26 in favor or Lansing Catholic. It was a good game, but Portland did not make plays down the stretch, according to Coach John Novarra. This team will be looking to avenge the loss last week. DeWitt is a strong team and it should be an epic battle tonight.