Playoff Picks: Round 2, whatchou gone do?

We hit on 80 percent of our picks in the opening round. It gets a bit more difficult from here, as the dead weight has been cut loose. If you’re still playing now, you’re a good team.

Division 1
West Ottawa 8-2 @ Rockford 8-2

WO avenged one regular season loss by knocking Grand Ledge out of the playoffs. Now they have the chance to upend the other team that beat them previously. If anything, the Panthers have the more talented personnel. But the Rockford bogeyman is in their head. Ghosts like West Ottawa thought it had a fourth-quarter lead the last time they played but had a 95-yard punt return TD called back for clipping. The Rams always beat them. Until further notice … Winner: Rockford

Division 2
Traverse City Central 9-1 @ Midland 10-0

Coming off an epic victory against Bay City Western, two wins against a Saginaw Valley school may prove too steep a task for TC Central. Midland is ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 2. They pound it out on the ground behind the state’s top lineman, 6-6, 305 Notre Dame-bound senior Steve Elmer, and now the defense is equally sharp with junior linebacker Michael Alexander back in the lineup. Winner: Midland

Lowell 8-2 @ Muskegon 9-1

Old playoff friends meet again. When they played prior, Muskegon won 36-21, but the history between these schools tells us it’s tough to win twice in one season. Both teams want to run. Both are tough to run against. How tough? Muskegon held Lowell to -1 rushing yards in their first meeting. OK. How ’bout the Red Arrows last week, when Northview totaled -70 rushing? With Reed Stormzand healthy, he and fellow senior Zach Huver give the Arrows a tough pair of linebackers. This will be a different Lowell team than the Big Reds remember, with Titan Anderson moving from QB to running back and Kyler Shurlow now under center. But that still hasn’t eliminated Lowell’s turnover problem. Shurlow had an interception and lost a fumble against Northview. In the regular season against Caledonia, Lowell turned it over five times but still managed to win. You just can’t disregard the ball against a team as good as Muskegon, who turned over Kenowa Hills six times last week. Winner: Muskegon

East Lansing 7-3 @ Caledonia 7-3

East Lansing wasn’t supposed to be here, but last Friday gave Lansing Everett its first loss of the season. Both teams are defense-first. First to 14 takes it? Winner: Caledonia

Portage Central 7-3 @ Mattawan 9-1

Gotta like how Trevor Sweeney bears the mantle as The Lake’s No. 1 senior running back. In Mattawan’s first-round game he ran 13 times for 269 yards and 4 TDs in a 66-28 defeat of Battle Creek Lakeview. Mattawan had 600 ground yards as a team. That makes Portage Central’s last week’s total of 333 look downright paltry, except that they faced a much better opponent in Portage Northern. Winner: Mattawan

Division 3
Zeeland West 7-3 @ Grand Rapids Christian 9-1

This game will be a bunch of fun — unless you’re a defensive coordinator. Don’t expect either D to be able to stop the other team’s offense. Zeeland West scores 47 points a game, GR Christian a “meager” 40. A win would provide the Eagles their best playoff run in their history. The school has existed in one form or another since 1920. West is a different story entirely. The Chix have been around for less than a decade but have already won two state championships, most recently Division 4 last year. Winner: Grand Rapids Christian

Hamilton 6-4 @ Stevensville Lakeshore 10-0
Lakeshore’s undefeated team is similar to the hoops squad that made it to the Class B state title game in March, in that there are no superstars, just a bunch of fundamentally strong kids, any number of which can step up in a given game. Hamilton has been too up-and-down to pick here. Winner: Lakeshore

Plainwell 7-3 @ Battle Creek Harper Creek 8-2
Plainwell faces a dangerous opponent. Harper Creek trailed Charlotte in the fourth quarter last Friday before running off four unanswered TDs. Winner: Plainwell

Division 4
Chippewa Hills 7-3 @ Ogemaw Heights 7-3

Maybe Ogemaw Heights should have controversial, media circus homecomings every year? They won that game and every one since, including victories over three playoff teams in that five-game stretch. Winner: Ogemaw Heights

Comstock Park 9-1 @ Grand Rapids Catholic Central 10-0
Catholic Central’s Ryheem Stokes is so good, he’s the best player on the field regardless of where he’s put, and has filled in admirably at running back. CC’s defense has been incredible. Last week’s 14-0 win over Unity Christian marked the sixth time they’ve held an opponent with out a TD. No repeat trip to the semifinals for Comstock Park. Winner: Catholic Central

Grand Rapids South Christian 7-3 @ Dowagiac 10-0
The last time Dowagiac faced a D1 QB in the playoffs, in 2011, Lansing Catholic’s Cooper Rush set a postseason state record with eight TD passes — in three quarters. Don’t call the plumber. That dripping sound is just Sailors soph QB Jon Wassink salivating. An undefeated Wolverine Conference team won’t faze Wassink and company after their 48-0 first-round deconstruction of Paw Paw. Can Dowagiac win one for those schools “Down South,” or is the O-K just that superior a product? Winner: South Christian  

Three Rivers 7-3 @ Williamston 7-3
Three Rivers senior Sam Shutes is one of the best QBs many may not have heard of, and he has an straight up gun. Winner: Williamston

Division 5
Newaygo 8-2 @ Reed City 10-0

Unbeaten RC has been through this already, beating Newaygo 35-7 during the regular season en route to their CSAA title. Funny how his older, 6-5, 230 cousin Jared Holmquist looked like a football player, but Reed City junior Chad Samuels is the actual football player. And he’s become a damn good one. Coyotes’ stingy, physical D gets it done again. Winner: Reed City

Grand Rapids West Catholic 7-3 @ Muskegon Oakridge 10-0
West Catholic has been living sooo dangerously? Oakridge junior Dan Shoop will be the best back West Catholic has seen this season (which is saying something, as I love Comstock Park junior Jake Bush), having run for 1,158 yards and 17 TDs. Not that West Catholic is any slouch in the skill department, with the three-headed monster of soph QB Travis Russell, junior runner Andy Corey and senior receiver David Kuzma. Winner: Oakridge

Division 6
Maple City Glen Lake 9-1 @ Shelby 8-2

Two months ago, Shelby beat North Muskegon 28-15. Two weeks ago, North Muskegon beat Glen Lake 22-14. Glen Lake’s game-breaker, Trevor Apsey, was injured and didn’t play in their pre-district win at Boyne City. Winner: Shelby

Constantine 8-2 @ Schoolcraft 10-0
Schoolcraft won the regular season matchup 42-32. The Eagles did it via skill and speed, with QB Jeffrey Scott throwing for 300 yards and three TDs and small but mighty Benny Clark ran for 200 yards and three TDs. But November football may favor the larger, more physical team. And Contstantine’s Ben Mallo? He’s indeed an hombre malo. Winner: Constantine

Division 7
Mancelona 10-0 @ Ishpeming  9-1

Mancelona’s dream season may be facing a surge of U.P. Power. Winner: Ishpeming

Evart 8-2 @ Lake City 9-1
Both schools are playing for history, as neither has won more than one postseason game in a single season. Check back to the Lake Michigan Football Report, as Evart-Lake City will be our Northern Michigan Game of the Week. Winner: Lake City

Gobles 8-2 @ Pewamo-Westphalia 7-3
Gobles hasn’t seen a receiver quite like P-W’s Lane Simon, a 6-5 junior. Winner: Pewamo-Westphalia

Decatur 8-2 @ Lawton 9-1
Though Decatur matches up well, Lawton won this meeting in the regular season 38-7. Winner: Lawton

Division 8
Central Lake 7-3  @ Johannesburg-Lewiston 8-2

Joberg won’t win by 50 like they did against Hillman. They eeked it out 22-18 when J-L and CL played during the Ski Valley schedule. Winner: Joburg

Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 9-1 @ Beal City 10-0
Two small school state powers, right next door. Winner: Beal City

Muskegon Catholic Central 7-3 @ Fowler 9-1
MCC’s traditionally tough regular season schedule paid off in the first round, when the beat Vestaburg 61-8. Fowler was similarly dominant in their opener with Baldwin, winning 44-0. While the Crusaders have various offensive weapons like junior running back Alex Lewandowski, senior running back Jessie Anderson, senior QB Zach Campbell and senior tight end Cari Campbell, Fowler prefers the 1980s m.o. with one featured back. And in senior Tyler Koenigknecht, they’ve got a hoss. Winner: Muskegon Catholic


One response

  1. This is awkwardly worded here. At first blush it appears you are saying Oakridge won State Titles in ’08 and ’10. When in fact Oakridge beat GRWC in ’08 (35-14) and won the Walnut Mitten that year. So far as your ‘Numerology’? In 2010 GRWC won 45-14 and won a Walnut Mitten itself.

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