Week Seven - Many Conference Titles On The Line

Jeffrey Cottrell

We are getting close! Week Seven is upon us and we will see the playoff picture begin to come into focus. Many teams will secure their playoff spot with wins this week. Other teams will have their backs against a wall with nothing left to lose, except their chance at that Michigan shaped trophy. My team had a bye week. Next week when we do have a game, I’m guessing we’ll be a bit rusty because it will have been three weeks since we were on the field in a game situation. There are some great games this week with major ranking implications so let’s get to FOOTBALL!

North
Elk Rapids vs. Boyne City (at Boyne City)

The chances Boyne City has at a Lake Michigan Conference championship rests at the feet of Elk Rapids. If they want it, they will have to battle undefeated Elk Rapids and snatch it away from a tough squad. Not only would a win for the Ramblers give them a share of the conference title, it would also qualify them for the playoffs. Both teams are coming off impressive wins over mediocre teams in their conference. Traverse City St. Francis has the edge over Boyne City after their Week Four win but will have to battle the tough Elk Rapids team next week if they want to win the Lake Michigan Conference.

Elk Rapids quarterback Brandon Gualtiere last week passed for three touchdowns and scored two more on the ground. All three of his passing TD’s went to Zac Dreffs…who also scored on a punt return. Dreffs had 177 all purpose yards on scoring plays alone. Boyne City has a weapon of their own in quarterback Kelsey Nohel. Elk Rapids had better be ready, or they might find themselves upset Friday night.

Mid Michigan
Mount Pleasant vs. Flint Southwestern Academy (at Flint Southwestern)

This was the game that didn’t have much meaning at the beginning of the season. People knew that Southwestern would be improved, but they didn’t know how much. Mount Pleasant was my preseason pick to win the Saginaw Valley League. Both teams lost in the past two weeks, both to a surprisingly good Saginaw Arthur Hill team. If Southwestern wins, they will have a chance to do something they haven’t done since their school was Flint Southwestern High School (changed after 1987) and that’s have a winning season. Their last winning season was 1981. I’m not sure about this stat, but I believe the last time FSWA won a Saginaw Valley League football championship was 1977. 30 years is long enough to wait for a championship, but they will have to get past Mount Pleasant this week and past Midland High, the other team looking to win the championship, the following week.

Mount Pleasant has three fantastic players. Those players are quarterback Will Arnold, receiver Tyler Mills, and running back Nick St. John. The offensive line is good which helps everyone out. Will Arnold and Tyler Mills both lead the league in their respective categories, with Arnold throwing for over 1300 yards at this point in the season. This team isn’t state championship material, but they are a dang fine football squad. If they take care of business this week, it looks like they will win at least a piece of the Saginaw Valley League.

Detroit
Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Warren De LaSalle (at Southfield Lathrup with Brother Rice being the home team)

Wow. What a great looking game! De LaSalle is 6-0 going into the game while Brother Rice is 4-2 with losses to Cincinnati Moeller and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Warren hasn’t won a regular season game with BBR since 1994 when they knocked them off three straight seasons. None of that matters though. We are in the 2007 season and Warren is hungry to take a piece of the Catholic League Central and get back into the playoffs (which they have already qualified for) and try to win the state championship that eluded them last season when they lost to Muskegon 32-30 in the Division 2 finals.

Brother Rice should be pumped up to beat the Warren squad that knocked them out in the regional finals last season. The league championship is up for grabs after Detroit Catholic Central beat Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Brother Rice can show the state that they belong in the playoffs or that they aren’t quite there with their play in this game. It should be a fantastic game Saturday afternoon for those who attend.

West Coast
Hudsonville vs. Muskegon (at Hudsonville)

This is the game I’ve been waiting to profile for weeks. It’s a game between arguably the two best teams in the state. Muskegon is coming off two games that they won, but in a sloppy fashion. The Big Reds had better clean it up, get pumped up, and play a great game to beat a very good Hudsonville team. Their 20 game winning streak is on the line. The winner of this game will have a good chance at hosting probable second game between these two teams in the playoffs.

Hudsonville is looking to win the Ottawa-Kent Red Conference and get back to the state finals. They’ve been there, but haven’t won it, most recently losing to Birmingham Brother Rice in 2005. This will be a very good game with both teams averaging over 250 yards on the ground and about 100 through the air. Hudsonville is lead by quarterback Casey Blackport, running backs Jordan Jonker and Alex Debniak. Those two running backs are also the top tacklers on the team. All three of these players need to have a very strong game if they want to beat Muskegon.

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