Week Eight - Teams have a date...with destiny

Jeffrey Cottrell

Oh baby! Can you feel the excitement? We’re getting into the thick of it now! Week Eight is here and the playoff picture is really starting to come into focus. Is your team in? Both of my teams, the school I coach at and the school I went to will both miss the playoffs. My alma mater needs to win out to avoid their first losing season since 1995. The school I coach at has no shot at a winning record, but our varsity won more games this season than they won in the previous two seasons combined. (If you are curious, our record is 2-5 this season) My team lost a heartbreaker last night 22-20 on a safety with 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The boys were devastated as were the coaches. We have to quickly move past it though because we play our arch rival this upcoming week to end the season. Enough of my pity party, let’s get into some serious football games. It’s do or die time for many of the teams listed today.

West Coast
Coloma vs. Cassopolis (at Coloma)

Here is a battle of the unbeaten teams from way down state…almost to the Indiana border. Both squads sit at 7-0 and the Lakeland Athletic Conference title is on the line. Cassopolis has been playing excellent football as of late. In the past five games (which was the beginning of their league play), they have scored 279 points to their opponents 55. Their defense has only allowed 76 points on the season. That’s a great stat to have!   DaShaun Curtis has over 20 touchdowns this season and has really played well. The offensive line has to be doing a great job for a player to score that much.

Coloma is another great team from the southern part of the state. Both teams have a lot to lose this week, but they’ve both made the playoffs. I’m sure coach Mark Eddy would love to raise that conference championship trophy, but they’ve made it to the dance and that’s the important part. Coloma has allowed fewer points (68) but scored fewer points on the season than Cassopolis.  The Comets will have to play their best if they want to beat another great team in Cassopolis.

North
Mancelona vs. Fife Lake (at Fife Lake Forest Area)

This game isn’t going to determine who wins the Ski Valley League because Central Lake beat both teams, but these two teams are trying to make the playoffs. Mancelona had two tough losses; one against a good Elk Rapids squad and one against Central Lake. The Ironmen still have a great chance to make the playoffs and continue their season if they can get the win this week against Fife Lake or next week versus Bellaire. Bellaire beat Fife Lake earlier this season so they have the edge, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Fife Lake Forest Area is new to the football arena. As far as I can tell, the school was opened in 1976 but the first football team wasn’t until 2002. The website for the school doesn’t have much on athletics and Michigan-Football.com doesn’t have any records before 2002. That being said, they are an example of a success story this season. After three 0-9 seasons in 02, 03, and 04, they started winning some games. They had a 2-7 record in 06 and sit at 5-2 this season…one game away from a playoff appearance. The Warriors need a win this week against Mancelona or next week against Manistee Catholic Central to get that sixth win and qualify for the playoffs.

Detroit
Dearborn Heights Robichaud vs. Inkster (Saturday at Inkster for homecoming)

After making it to the state championship and losing to Saginaw Nouvel last season, the Inkster Vikings are hungry. They want to win and are lead by a great coach in Odell Johnson. They’ve already beaten some great teams from Michigan and Ohio. In league play, they have yet to give up a single point and have only given up 26 points overall this season. Their star quarterback Aaron Shavers, who hopes to go to West Virginia, has thrown for over 800 yards and 15 touchdowns. Last week, they had a running clock at the end of the first quarter by putting up 35 points. They cruised to a 54-0 win.

Robichaud is their cross town rivals. They have one loss this season, a heartbreaking 21-20 loss against Detroit Southwestern. Southwestern isn’t in the Michigan Mega Gold Conference though, so they are undefeated in league play. Everyone else they’ve handled fairly easily, at least according to the scores. Coach Tyrone Wheatley (yes, that Tyrone Wheatley) has the team playing some of the best football they’ve played in years. Last season they were 0-9 and this year they will make their first playoff appearance in ten years. They over came sloppy play last week and won their homecoming game, essentially knocking Dearborn Crestwood out of the playoff chase.

Mid Michigan
Millington vs. Frankenmuth (at Millington)

This is another battle of the unbeaten teams. The winner of this game will probably have their first game at home in the playoffs. Two rivals from the Tri Valley Conference East Division will battle to see where the conference crown goes. Frankenmuth has had a stellar season to go along with their .729 winning percentage since 1955 which makes them the 14th winningest program in the state. Their option offense has been working very well this year. They are one of the most efficient teams in the TVC-E and a surprise to be at the top of the conference.

Millington is the most explosive team in the division. Their passing attack has crippled a few teams this season and their running game is hard to forget. The Cardinals rallied from being seven points down to win the game 20-14 over Essexville Garber. Last season, a two day game (lightning stopped the game) and their loss to Frankenmuth cost them their chance to win the TVC-East. This should be an exciting match between two old rivals from a tough conference.

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