Playoff Picks: Regionals

Winners are italicized.
Playoff pick record: 53-12 (84-15 in 2013).

Division 1
Hudsonville 7-4 at East Kentwood 10-1 1 pm Saturday
EK won the regular season matchup a month ago 35-28. Hudsy’s hot, and Kentwood was vulnerable against Grand Ledge which was able to slow down star running back Michael Ivy. But that may be a wakeup call for EK more than a sign of weakness.

Division 2
Battle Creek Lakeview 9-1 at Muskegon Mona Shores 10-1 7 pm Friday
On paper this is Mona Shore’s easiest opponent in a month. But this is a program that’s never been this far and won’t take anything for granted. The Sailors’ stout defensive front will slow down Lakeview’s typically productive running game.

Division 3
Petoskey 9-2 vs Muskegon 10-1 1 pm Saturday at Holton
Poor P-town luck, to have one of its best teams when Muskegon gets bumped down to D3. Maybe the Northmen can channel some of the old Traverse City High success against the Big Reds … sans the extra 2,000 students.

Lowell 10-1 at Zeeland West 11-0 7 pm Friday
Zeeland West can’t put it on the deck again like they did last week against Lakeshore. But in this case the cliche may hold true, that the Dux needed that, a true close, pressure-filled game. Can’t imagine they’ll lack focus against Lowell in one of the state’s top games.

Division 4
Whitehall 9-2 vs Grand Rapids South Christian 7 pm Friday at Byron Center
Few would have suspected Whitehall, with one win last season, to be here. Everyone knew South Christian would be. And Jon Wassink will show Whitehall why.

Eaton Rapids 8-3 at Edwardsburg 10-1 7 pm Friday
Can Eaton Rapids hold Edwardsburg’s Isaiah Miller to fewer than three TDs? He ran for six in the two district rounds. If any D is up to that it’s Eaton Rapids, which has allowed 10 points in the playoffs. Except it doesn’t end there in the Eddies’ wing T. Like Miller, Dustin Vires has run for over 1,000 yards, and junior QB Dante Razzano has passed and run for over 1,000 yards and 20 TDs.

Division 5
Reed City 9-2 at Grand Rapids West Catholic 11-0 7 pm Friday
Reed City just won the first district title in school history. West Catholic, well …

Division 6
Pine River 8-3 at Boyne City 11-0 7 pm Friday
No team has taken a more amazing route to the regionals than Pine River, which won at Tawas on a 95-yard kickoff return by Brandon Fulks then at Sanford Meridan thanks to a 47-yard TD from Mason Powell to Greg Park with under a minute to play. It’s hard to imagine this Boyne City defense folding like that in crunch time. The Ramblers, battle toughened against the likes of St. Francis, Elk Rapids and Negaunee, should be heading to their first semifinal since 2001.

Watervliet 10-1 at Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 10-1 1 pm Saturday
NorthPointe is peaking at the right time coming off a 37-0 defeat of Ravenna in the district final. It hasn’t been anywhere that easy for Watervliet which beat Brandywine 22-21 then Schoolcraft 28-21.

Division 7
Traverse City St. Francis 9-2 vs Ishpeming 10-0 8 pm Friday at Superior Dome
Ishpeming is what TCSF was not that long ago — a dominant small-school program. The Hematites are trying to win their third-straight state championship.

Bridgman 8-2 at Pewamo-Westphalia 9-2 7:30 pm Friday
With all eyes on Detroit Loyola and Ishpeming, this is the stealth regional of D7. P-W’s strength of schedule could mean even more than the home field here. But look for good things to continue in Bridgman, with young talent like sophomore running back Julian Sheriff and sophomore receiver Ryan Chang.

Division 8
Baldwin 10-1 at Beal City 9-2 7 pm Friday
It’s been an historic season for Baldwin, which had never won a playoff game, and their QB Brandon Childress, who has passed and run for 2,681 yards and 47 TDs. The Panthers will get a full dose of Beal City’s run game, which accumulated 510 yards and 53 points in the district final with Johannesburg-Lewiston.

Mendon 10-1 vs Muskegon Catholic Central 11-0 1 pm Saturday at Grand Haven
Mendon will have the most talented player on the field, CMU commit Logan Slaughter on the lines. But Muskegon Catholic may have the dozen next talented.

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