Predictions for the Division 1-8 Football State FinalsFootball  |
Division 1: Detroit Catholic Central vs. Detroit Cass Tech
Breakdown: With Catholic Central quarterback Austin Brown out for this game due to a broken leg, a very even matchup swings into Cass Tech’s favor, but don’t count out the Shamrocks. Cass Tech has struggled against the run in recent weeks (against Saline and Utica Eisenhower), and that’s what the Shamrocks do best. But too much firepower on offense, led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rodney Hall and Donovan Johnson and on defense with Jaylen Kelly-Powell along with Peoples-Jones and Johnson, will lead the Technicians to their first title since 2012.
Prediction: Detroit Cass Tech 31, Detroit Catholic Central 21
Division 2: Walled Lake Western vs. Detroit King
Breakdown: A battle of two top teams in Division 2 and a battle of two Mr. Football Award finalists, Western’s Cody White and King’s Ambry Thomas, look for there to be plenty of offense in this game. King is the defending Division 2 state champions and won’t be phased by playing on the big stage for a second straight year, but look for the Warriors to come out motivated and for quarterback Johnny Tracy, with the help of White, to be the difference maker in this one.
Prediction: Walled Lake Western 31, Detroit King 28
Division 3: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s vs. Muskegon
Breakdown: St. Mary’s beat Muskegon 7-0 in the 2014 D-3 Final, but I think it’s safe to say that there will be far more offense from both teams this time around. The Muskegon offense has been unstoppable all season long, but look for the St. Mary’s defense to at least slow down the Big Red offense early on and for its offense to keep pace. But the quarterbacking duo of Kalil Pimpleton and Ladarius Jefferson to be too much as the Big Reds win their first title since 2008.
Prediction: Muskegon 42, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 28
Division 4: Grand Rapids Catholic Central vs. Detroit Country Day
Breakdown: Both teams will benefit from playing inside at Ford Field on Friday night as both teams have explosive offenses. But Catholic Central has been flat out dominant on both sides of the ball throughout the entire postseason and has more than enough firepower on offense, led by quarterback Jack Bowen, wide receiver Antonio Strong and running back Nolan Fugate, who rushed for nearly 300 yards in the semifinal win over Unity Christian.
Prediction: Grand Rapids Catholic Central 28, Country Day 21
Division 5: Grand Rapids West Catholic vs. Menominee
Breakdown: West Catholic is no stranger to Ford Field as the Falcons will be playing in the Division 5 State Championship Game for a fifth straight season and going for their fourth straight title. Menominee last played in the Division 5 final back in 2013, a 27-14 loss to West Catholic. There hasn’t been a team that’s played a tougher schedule in the playoff than West Catholic, but the Maroons will be yet another tough challenge on Friday afternoon for the Falcons. Look for the West Catholic dynasty to continue with the help of quarterback Gaetano Vallone, David Fox and Sam Neville. Prediction: West Catholic 31, Menominee 21
Division 6: Jackson Lumen Christi vs. Maple City Glen Lake
Breakdown: Lumen Christi is back at Ford Field for the first time since 2009, while Glen Lake is its first final in 20 years. The difference in this game will be Lumen Christi star running back Bo Bell who has already scored 33 touchdowns on the 2016 season and has been unstoppable throughout the postseason, and is poised for another big performance on Friday. Prediction: Lumen Christi 42, Glen Lake 21
Division 7: Detroit Loyola vs. Pewamo-Westphalia
Breakdown: A rematch of last year’s Division 7 semifinal, where the Pirates came away with a 30-0 win, but look for this game to be far closer this time around. Pewamo-Westphalia is led by star running back Jared Smith, who has rushed for over 2,000 yards in each of the past three seasons and rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s meeting between the two teams. Look for Smith and the Pewamo-Westphalia rushing attack to lead the way to the Pirates’ first title. Prediction: Pewamo-Westphalia 21, Loyola 14
Division 8: Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Ottawa Lake Whiteford
Breakdown: The dynasty that Muskegon C.C. has become over the past three seasons in Division 8 looks like a lock to continue with a win this weekend as the Crusaders have dominated every step of the way in the postseason. But I expect this game to be closer than most people think, Whiteford is not going to go down quietly and has had an impressive postseason run of its own and could give the Crusaders some trouble, especially early on. But there’s a reason why Muskegon C.C. has been as good as it’s been and would even have a shot at winning a state title if it played in Division 7 or Division 6. Prediction: Muskegon Catholic Central 28, Whiteford 19