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Playoff Picks: Saturday’s State Final

  • Predicted winners are italicized.
  • All games are played at Detroit’s Ford Field.
  • Playoff picks record: 72-16.

Division 5
Grand Rapids West Catholic 11-2 vs. River Rouge 12-1, 4:30 pm
And then there was one! What a program River Rouge has become. But there time isn’t quite yet. West Catholic has so many weapons, especially now with a healthy David Fox back in the lineup.

All-Lake Area Underclassman Team

OL Antwan Reed 6-7 285 So Muskegon
OL Cody Carone 6-4 290 So Rockford
OL Jalen Mayfield 6-5 225 So Grand Rapids Catholic Central
OL Brett Taylor 5-10 205 So Comstock Park
OL Parker Kingma 6-4 280 So Grand Haven
TE Ryan Hayes 6-6 240 So Traverse City West
QB Jason Whittaker  6-4  185  So  Rockford
RB Caden Peters 5-8 155 So Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
RB Darius Clayton 6-0 190 Fr St. Joseph
WR Cobe Huizenga 5-6 155 So Zeeland East
WR Trey Gray 5-7 160 Fr Niles

MVP: Gaetano Vallone 5-10 160 So QB  Grand Rapids West Catholic

DL Jarius Ballard 5-10 230 So Buchanan
DL Hunter Stearns 6-3 210 So Hudsonville
DL Dallas Rogers 6-1 280 So Fruitport
LB Bryce Stark 5-10 165 Fr Montague
LB Jordan Ringler 5-9 175 Fr Cedar Springs
LB Toby Hulst 6-0 200 So Grand Rapids South Christian
LB Miko Rodriguez 6-0 185 So Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
LB Jalen Shaffer 6-1 185 So Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
DB Marcus Remtma 6-0 170 So Rockford
DB John Todd 5-11 170 So Cedar Springs
DB Darius Barfield 5-9 150 So Grand Rapids Christian

MVP: Anthony Wade  5-6  160  So  LB  Hartford

Playoff Picks: Friday’s State Finals

  • Predicted winners are italicized.
  • All games are played at Detroit’s Ford Field.
  • Playoff picks record: 70-15.

Division 8
Muskegon Catholic Central 10-2 vs. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 13-0, 10 am
This isn’t quite the Catholic Central behemoth of their back-to-back defending state champions and the Lakers are very strong up front, but their plethora of skill players should be able to mix it up enough to give WOLL its first loss of 2015.

Division 2
Lowell 12-1 vs. Detroit King 13-0, 1 pm
Two championship programs, with Lowell doing it in Division 2 in 2009, two years after Detroit King won it all. Both teams went undefeated in top leagues this season, Lowell in the O-K White and MLK in the Detroit PSL. A case-in-point of why we started the Lake Michigan Football Report, watch Lowell senior game-breaker Gabe Steed. He’s every bit as talented as the King skill guys and their myriad D1 offers, while the three-year Lowell standout doesn’t have even a MAC offer. Yet. Unless there is a leak in the Ford Field roof, the Red Arrows won’t have the Muskegon-alleged advantage of a soft track like in the semifinals.

Division 4
Zeeland West 13-0 vs. Flint Powers 11-2, 7:30 pm
This could be the largest score discrepancy of the opening day. West’s  Unity Christian game was an anomaly, hard to beat the same team twice in the same season etc. The annihilation of Forest Hills Eastern in the semifinals was a return to the mean for the Dux.

All-Lake Area: Division 7-8 Team

  • This is the fourth installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.

OL Andy Rietveld 6-6 300 Sr Saugatuck
OL Jacob Lechner 6-2 260 Sr Harbor Springs
OL Jacob Holt 6-0 235 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
OL Caleb Wisniski 6-4 255 Sr Onekama
OL Zach Smith 5-11 230 Sr Suttons Bay
TE Chase Fairfield 6-4 215 Jr North Muskegon
TE Joseph Cleary 6-1 205 Sr Hartford
QB Christian Martinez 6-2 175 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
RB Julian Sheriff 5-11 220 Jr Bridgman
RB LaTommy Scott 5-7 160 Jr Muskegon Catholic Central
WR Brandon Bean 6-3 205 Sr Baldwin

Offensive MVP: Blake Dunn 5-11 170 Jr QB Saugatuck

DL Nate Fox 6-2 215 Sr Johannesburg-Lewiston
DL Sam Jones 6-1 220 Sr Bridgman
DL Gabe Ramos 6-2 305 Sr Hesperia
DL Adam Benoit 6-0 215 Sr Muskegon Catholic Central
LB Duke Angers 6-1 230 Jr Maple City Glen Lake
LB Austin Green 5-10 195 Sr Cassopolis
LB Logan Huff 5-10 170 Sr Johannesburg-Lewiston
LB Colton Burke 6-2 215 Sr Gobles
DB Kole Hollenbeck 5-11 175 Sr Frankfort
DB Ben Hicks 5-9 160 Sr Central Lake
DB Davian Gowens 5-8 155 Sr Hesperia

Defensive MVP: Nate Jones 6-0 210 Sr LB Muskegon Catholic Central

Coach of the Year: Aaron Sims, Hesperia

All-Lake Area: Division 5-6 Team

  • This is the third installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Division 7-8, Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.

OL Cameron Wright 6-3 290 Sr Grant
OL Jacob McDowell 6-2 290 Sr Lawton
OL Claude Ockert  6-1  200  Jr  Kingsley
OL Joe Marsh 6-3 235 Sr Montague
OL Taylor Pelton 6-2 200 Sr Reed City
QB Spencer Peterson 6-5 230 Sr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
RB Malik Smith 5-9 210 Sr Boyne City
RB Cameron Brayman 5-10 195 Sr Montague
RB Andre Jones 5-6 160 Sr Reed City
WR TJ Swore 6-2 200 Sr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
WR James Cooper 6-3 165 Sr Muskegon Oakridge

Offensive MVP: Jacob Buchberger 6-1 185 Sr QB  Montague

DL Dalton Riddle 6-1 190 Jr Buchanan
DL David Curl 6-3 250 Sr Watervliet
DL Dru McFadden  6-0  275  Sr  Traverse City St. Francis
DL Tanner Kruzel 6-2 200 Sr Boyne City
LB Steven Spenner 6-3 215 Jr Berrien Springs
LB Char Willekes 6-1 200 Jr Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian
LB Tyler Picardat  5-11  180  Sr  Traverse City St. Francis
LB Sam Neville 6-3 195 Jr Grand Rapids West Catholic
DB Gabe Callery 5-9 190 Jr Traverse City St. Francis
DB Ricky Clark 6-0 180 Jr Schoolcraft
DB Nate Wahr 6-3 175 Sr Muskegon Oakridge

Defensive MVP: Carl Myers 6-3 260 Sr DL Grand Rapids West Catholic

Coach of the Year: Dan Rohn, Grand Rapids West Catholic

All-Lake Area: Division 3-4 Team

  • This is the second installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 3-4 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Division 5-6, Division 7-8, Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. Unlike the LMFR’s prospect rankings, the All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.

OL Sam Balke 6-2 235 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
OL Kyle Augustine 6-3 320 Sr Gaylord
OL Case Overweg 62- 260 Sr Hudsonville Unity Christian
OL James Haverkamp 6-6 260 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
OL Patrick DiPiazza 6-3 260 Jr Cedar Springs
TE Jayk Slager 6-4 230 Jr Zeeland West
QB Casey Brinks 6-0 170 Sr Zeeland West
RB Darius Perisee 5-8 160 Sr Zeeland West
RB Brent Murray 5-10 190 Sr Petoskey
WR Ryan Knight 6-2 205 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
WR Jordan Brewer 6-2 180 Sr St. Joseph

Offensive MVP: Pat Naughton 6-2 200 Sr QB Comstock Park

DL Johnathan Berghorst 6-3 260 Jr Zeeland East
DL Brendan Oosse 6-2 240 Sr East Grand Rapids
DL Taylor VanDyke 6-3 215 Sr Cedar Springs
DL Nate Lay 6-0 250 Sr Zeeland West
LB Joe Dault 6-1 190 Sr Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern
LB Tyler Lamica 6-3 205 Sr Grand Rapids Christian
LB Jared Mika 6-0 195 Sr Grand Rapids Catholic Central
DB Dakota Geurink 6-0 185 Sr Zeeland West
DB Michael Clifford 6-0 165 Sr East Grand Rapids
DB Dante Razzano 6-2 190 Sr Sr Edwardsburg
DB Garret Lundteigen 5-10 165 Sr Petoskey

Defensive MVP: Zach VanValkenburg 6-4 240 Sr DL Zeeland West

Coach of the Year: Gandalf Church, St. Joseph

All-Lake Area: Division 1-2 Team

  • This is the first installment of the fourth-annual Lake Michigan Football Report post-season honors, the Division 1-2 All-Lake Team. Following will be the Division 3-4, Division 5-6, Division 7-8, Underclassman, Class of 2017 and Overall All-Area Offensive and Defensive Teams. The All-Lake teams are based on players’ performances in the 2015 season, not college potential.

OL Mike Bordeaux 6-3 280 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
OL Jake Boonstra 6-4 285 Sr Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
OL Ben Sherwin 6-4 240 Jr Traverse City Central
OL Jake Babb 6-3 230 Sr Caledonia
OL Juanye Johnson 6-2 275 Sr Muskegon
TE Keidren Davis 6-5 230 Sr Grand Rapids Union
QB Kalil Pimpleton 5-7 150 Jr Muskegon
RB Brandon Sturgeon 5-10 190 Sr Portage Central
RB Michael Williams 5-9 175 Sr Wyoming
WR Daryn Snow 6-3 190 Sr Portage Northern
WR Adam Farah 6-1 180 Sr Grand Rapdis Forest Hills Northern

Offensive MVP: Ryan Stevens  6-2  175  Sr  QB  Lowell

DL Christian Boyd 6-2 285 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
DL Gabe Bauman 6-3 260 Sr Rockford
DL Johnathan Berghorst 6-3 260 Jr Zeeland East
LB Dalton Agers 5-10 185 Jr Hudsonville
LB Terrion Hill-McKay 6-2 205 Sr Muskegon
LB Braden King 5-9 175 Sr Rockford
LB Tyler Lyle 6-1 215 Sr Kalamazoo Central
DB Derek Massey 5-7 155 Sr Lowell
DB Marlon Dorsey 6-1 175 Sr East Kentwood
DB Darece Roberson 5-9 160 Sr Muskegon Mona Shores
DB Devante Walker 5-8 160 Jr Traverse City Central

Defensive MVP: Dom Shermeta  6-0  220  Sr  LB  Muskegon Mona Shores

Coach of the Year: Eric Shugars, Traverse City Central

Playoff Picks: State Semifinals

  • Predicted winners are italicized.
  • All games are 1 pm Saturday unless otherwise noted.
  • Playoff picks record: 64-14.

Division 2

Lowell 11-1 vs. Walled Lake Western 12-0 @Alma College: These teams began the season together, with Western winning 42-40 in August, and now one of them will see the the other’s season end. Lowell hasn’t given up anything like 40 points since then, and had one of the state’s most impressive regional wins beating Muskegon 36-7. While both teams can pound it, they also feature two of the state’s most dangerous receivers in Lowell senior Gabe Steed and WLW’s Cody White, who both have QBs more than capable of getting it there in Lowell’s Ryan Stevens and the Warriors’ Kyle Thomas.

Division 3

East Grand Rapids 9-3 vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 11-1 @ Howell: The only surprise about these teams meeting is that it’s in the state semifinals and not the final, where they’ve met three times previously.

Division 4

Forest Hills Eastern 11-1 vs. Zeeland West 12-0 @ East Kentwood: Was West’s regional win over Unity Christian by a mere touchdown a blip on the screen, or indicative of a chink in the armor? We’ll go with the former, and postseason pedigree has to count here too. This is the fourth semifinal in five years for the Dux, while FHE has never made it this far.

Division 5

Grand Rapids West Catholic 10-2 vs. Lansing Catholic 11-1 @ Greenville: These teams met 51 weeks ago at Ford Field, where West Catholic won its second straight state title 24-20. It was in that game where Lansing Catholic QB Tony Poljan showed his D1 bona fides on the big stage. He’s back, having committed to Minnesota in the interim. Most high school linemen are mere nuisances to the big signal-caller. But not West Catholic senior Carl Myers, a recent U-M commitment who has the strength to tangle with him.

Division 6

Traverse City St. Francis 12-0 vs. Ithaca 12-0 @ Clare: These are two of the state’s elite programs of the modern era, Ithaca with four championships in the 21st century and St. Francis three. Ithaca has five shutouts this season and St. Francis six, though the Glads will be seeing an elite QB for the first time in Ithaca junior Jake Smith.

Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 12-0 vs. Clinton 12-0 noon @ Battle Creek Harper Creek: NorthPointe Christian is living right, both lucky and good to beat Constantine, in overtime, for the regional crown. How many more Sports Center catches are left in TJ Swore’s hands? And does NorthPointe have anyone who can keep up with Clinton running back Matthew Sexton?

Division 8

Muskegon Catholic Central 9-2 vs. St. Ignace 11-1 @ Thirlby Field: Catholic Central is taking another trip Up North after needing a fourth-quarter comeback to win the regional at Frankfort, their closest call in the past three playoffs. St. Ignace has the best player on the field, senior QB Gage Kreski. Conversely, St. Ignace hasn’t seen the overall speed of a team like MCC.


Lake Area Honors: Week 12

Lake Area Offensive Player of the Week

Ryan Knight  6-2  205  Sr  WR  Forest Hills Eastern: A big target who has made life easier for now two standout FHE QBs, Luke Wilkerson then Jack Clark. In FHE’s Divisoin 4 regional win over Chippewa Hills, Knight caught six passes from Clark for 169 yards including TDs covering 74 and 26 yards.

Lake Area Defensive Players of the Week

Michael Clifford 6-0 165 Sr DB & Matt Soberg 5-6 150 Sr DB East Grand Rapids: The Pioneers’ defense hasn’t allowed a score in its last two games, against Zeeland East in the district final then Mt. Pleasant in the regional. Clifford and Soberg did their part in the 35-0 Division 3 win at Mt. Pleasant, both picking off a pair of passes.

Lake Area Small School Player of the Week

Kyler Dunn  6-1  160  Sr  WR/DB  Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian: Dunn’s tackle on a two-point conversion attempt by Constantine preserved NorthPointe Christian’s 35-34 overtime win in a Division 6 regional final. Dunn also caught five passes for 82 yards and a TD.

Lake Area Northern Michigan Player of the Week

Nate Frieswyk   Sr  QB  Frankfort: Though Frankfort fell short, it battled more than many may have expected leading Muskegon Catholic Central, the school that has dominated the Division 8 field, into the fourth quarter before losing 22-12. Frieswyk was 17-for-30 passing for 215 yards and a TD.

Lake Area Coach of the Week

Peter Stuursma, East Grand Rapids: Now in his 16th season at EGR. While 9-3 and a regional championship shutout of Mt. Pleasant isn’t quite the days of undefeated state title teams, the Pioneers hadn’t one a playoff game since 2011 and missed the postseason entirely twice since then. They’ll now reunite with playoff rival Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, a team Stuursma has defeated in three state championship games.

Playoff Picks: Regionals

  • Predicted winners are italicized.
  • All games are 7 pm Friday unless otherwise noted.
  • Rankings are from the end of the regular season, and for Lake Area teams only.
  • Playoff picks record: 54-11.

Division 1

No. 1 Rockford 8-3 @ Grand Ledge 11-0: This will be Rockford’s first time seeing an opponent outside the O-K Red since September. The Rams’ Tyler Bradfield can seemingly do it all. But Rockford will have to keep the moonlighting QB out of passing situations.

Division 2

No. 3 Muskegon 9-2 @ No. 1 Lowell 10-1: Two of the true standard-bearers of Lake Area football. While it’s fun to appreciate the talent of Muskegon and schemes of Lowell, the defining characteristic of this postseason rivalry is the fight in the players.

Division 3

No. 2 East Grand Rapids 8-3 @ Mt. Pleasant 9-2: Defense gets it done on the road, and EGR won’t let it come down to heartbreak time like Petoskey did last week.

Coldwater 11-0 @ No. 1 St. Joseph 10-1: This is the best team Coldwater has had, but St. Joseph has already beaten undefeated teams Portage Central and Edwardsburg. St. Joe relies heavily on getting the ball to D1-caliber receiver Jordan Brewer, so Lake Michigan weather could be a factor.

Division 4

Chippewa Hills 9-2 @ No. 3 Forest Hills Eastern 10-1: What a season for Chippewa Hills, with its first distict title. Everyone knows about FHE’s Jack Clark, but Chippewa Hills has a dangerous two-way QB of its own in junior DJ Lowery. But Eastern, making history of its own by winning one then two playoff games, has faced too tough a road and has too many options.

Hudsonville Unity Christian 8-3 @ No. 1 Zeeland West 11-0: West won this same matchup less than a month ago 52-6. The Dux have averaged 55 in the playoffs and this could be the best defense they’ve had.

Division 5

No. 1 Grand Rapids West Catholic 9-2 @ Menominee 11-0 1 pm Saturday: They’re annual November get-together, and West Catholic looks poised to end Menominee’s season a fifth straight time.

No. 4 Buchanan 11-0 @ Ida 11-0: Buchanan dominated defensively in their 35-0 district final win over Berrien Springs. They’ll have to figure out how to slow down Ida running back Eric Bugg.

Division 6

No. 1 Boyne City 10-1 @ No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis 11-0: No love lost here from their Lake Michigan Conference days. In the regular season St. Francis capitalized on Boyne City turnovers to give the Ramblers’ their only loss to date 32-13.

Constantine 7-4 vs No. 2 NorthPointe Christian 11-0 1 pm Saturday @ Comstock Park: This is the second undefeated team Constantine will see after qualifying at 5-4. And the most talented.

Division 7

No. 4 McBain 8-3 @ Ishpeming 10-0: Neither team is particularly explosive on offense, first to 20 wins as Ishpeming takes another step towards a return to Ford Field.

No. 5 Cassopolis 9-2 @ Pewamo-Westphalia 11-0: P-W is unbeaten and looks poised for a second straight regional crown.

Division 8

No. 1 Muskegon Catholic Central 8-2 @ Frankfort 9-2 1 pm Saturday: Winning the coin flip to host, at least there won’t be a sad bus ride back for the Panthers. Up North, Frankfort hasn’t yet seen a team with as many legit options as Catholic Central where QB Christian Martinez has backs LaTommy Scott, Walter Christoffersen and Logan Helton.


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