Playoff Picks: District Finals

All games are 7 pm Friday unless noted.
Winners are italicized.
Playoff pick record: 33-10 (huge letdown after going 84-15 in 2013).

Division 1
Hudsonville 6-4 at Rockford 8-2
Your know it’s playoff time when rockfordfootball.com takes the stats offline. Black ops! While Hudsonville has more reason to be excited for the basketball season than Rockford, they’ll get to miss another week of conditioning.

Grand Ledge 7-3 at East Kentwood 9-1 1 pm Saturday
EK is just too talented for Grand Ledge. But going forward their receivers need to hold onto the ball better than they did against Grandville.

Division 2
Muskegon Mona Shores 9-1 at Midland Dow 10-0
The state’s going to see just how talented is in this one. Too many weapons but the real story in this one will be the talent of the Sailors’ defense. Can’t wait for the Ford Field fireworks against Brother Rice.

Portage Northern 7-3 at Battle Creek Lakeview 8-2
The Huskies may need some more fourth-quarter magic from QB Thomas Scheffert’s and the Lake Area’s top 2016 WR prospect Daryn Snow to beat Lakeview like they did back in August 28-24.

Division 3
Mt. Pleasant 7-3 at Petoskey 8-2 1 pm Saturday
The Northmen will finally see a more dangerous junior than their own Garret Lundteigen in MP junior receiver Kalebb Perry.

Cedar Springs 9-1 at Muskegon 9-1 1 pm Saturday
Muskegon came out angry from the Mona Shores loss and Northview bore the brunt of their ire 59-21. There have been no indications from this Cedar Springs squad’s talent and character to suggest they’d go out like that. Ball security will be key for the Big Reds, who have lived dangerously at times.

Grand Rapids Christian 6-4 at Lowell 9-1
It’s back to the O-K White for GR Christian after a respite at St. Johns. Lowell didn’t have it so easy and escaped by a point over league rival East Grand Rapids thanks to game-breaker junior Gabe Steed. The Red Arrows won this regular season meeting 20-12.

Stevensville Lakeshore 8-2 at Zeeland West 10-0
This isn’t West’s most talented team but its offense is cohesive where the three main runners all average well over a first down yardage per carry. The Dux D just posted their first shutout 50-0 over Byron Center in the opening round.

Division 4
Comstock Park 6-4 at Whitehall 8-2
A fourth straight semifinal berth would still be an upset, but this CP team is playing its best ball at the right time. To go on the road to beat a then undefeated Cadillac team was a great program win.

Hudsonville Unity Christian 6-4 at Grand Rapids South Christian 8-2 (@Byron Center)
There’s no way South Christian is taking this one lightly after beating Unity 33-30 in the regular season. The Sailors have one every game and have scored more than that since.

Vicksburg 8-2 at Edwardsburg 9-1
Edwardsburg’s only loss is to Vickburg, but the Eddies are just humming right now beating Paw Paw last week 60-34. They run two 1,000-yard backs out of the wing-T, Isaiah Miller and Dustin Vires.

Division 5
Hopkins 9-1 at Grand Rapids West Catholic 10-0
No one can say it was handed to Hopkins, going through a gaunlet in this district which opened at home against Oakridge. Unlike most of Hopkins’ schedule, West Catholic have the athletes on defense to keep a blanket on senior running back Quincy Collings and his nearly 1,500 yards

Reed City 8-2 at Chippewa Hills 8-2
Reed City put up 60 points the first time they played.

Division 6
Negaunee 6-4 at Boyne City 10-0
UP teams have typically treated Boyne Tough as a paper slogan in the postseason, the Ramblers 1-4 in the last decade. When Boyne made the semifinals in 2001 it avoided any Yoopers along the way. The Miners won this game last year in memorable form 42-19. But Boyne has more players back from that year than Negaunee and it shows in the records.

Pine River 7-3 at Sanford Meridian 8-2
The Bucks already made one trip across the badlands to win at Tawas, Pine River’s first-ever playoff victory. They’ll need more magic from Brandon Fulks who in the fourth-quarter against Tawas had a 68-yard go-ahead TD catch and the game-winner a 95 yard kickoff return.

Ravenna 8-2 at Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 9-1 (@Comstock Park)
Ravenna rotates junior QBs — every play. It’s working, as they’ve combined for 652 yards and nine TDs and most importantly get the ball to sophomore David Thompson. NorthPointe plays just one QB, Luke VanDyke, and he’s thrown for 13 TDs and run for nine.

Schoolcraft 7-3 at Watervliet 9-1
Watervliet turned heads early in the year when it gave Mendon its first regular season loss in 36 games. Now they’re further battle-tested coming off a gut-wrenching 22-21 opening win over Brandywine.

Division 7
Traverse City St. Francis 8-2 at Suttons Bay 9-1
St. Francis’ 35-7 dispatching of Onekama was the Gladiators’ first playoff win in three seasons.

Cassopolis 7-3 at Bridgman 7-2
Bridgman tore up the ground game in their 33-8 opening win over Gobles, running for 516 yards. That was the school’s first playoff win.

Division 8
Central Lake 6-4 at Baldwin 9-1 2 pm Saturday
Freshman little brother Braeden Childress got the job done against Brethren for the first postseason win in Panthers history. Now senior Brandon Childress is back under center for Baldwin when they need him most.

Johannesburg-Lewiston 9-1 at Beal City 8-2
Joburg has 2016 college prospects on the D line in Nate Fox and linebacker or safety in tackling machine Logan Huff.

Fowler 10-0 at Muskegon Catholic Central 10-0
Both are undefeated, but in the past two district finals Fowler couldn’t score a point on Catholic. Classic case of a rural true Class D school running up against an urban parochial power.

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