In Play with Tom Markowski

Top HS Football games: Rockford and Hudsonville to play for the sixth time in the last three seasons

Football   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

Ask coach Ralph Munger at Rockford and Hudsonville coach Dave Lidgard about the current playoff format and they would suggest a change is in order.

And so would many other coaches.

The solution is simple. Seed the playoffs according to regions, not districts.

For one, such a change would reward teams with a higher playoff percentage. And it would help eliminate teams, like Rockford and Hudsonville, both members of the O-K Conference Red Division, from playing each other twice in a season. In some cases this is unavoidable. For instance, if Rockford and Hudsonville were seeded No. 2 and No. 7 or No. 4 and No. 5 they would play in the first round.

When Rockford hosts Hudsonville on Friday it will be the third consecutive season the teams will have met in the playoffs. That’s six games in three years.

Some argue by saying so what? Basketball teams play each other two or three times in a season. Why should football be any different?

That’s because football is different. On so many levels it’s different.

Here’s the problem as it exists now. Two other O-K Red members, East Kentwood and Grandville, were seeded in the district with Rockford and Hudsonville. As long as the Michigan High School Athletic Association continues to seed by districts this type of scenario will exists.

And it’s not good. No coach wants his team to play the same teams in the playoffs. Again, there are times where this is unavoidable. By switching to seeding by region would create contests of teams that hadn’t played each other during the season. Fans would enjoy it more.

This type of situation takes place in Macomb County with teams from the Macomb Area Conference and also with teams in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association. Often KLAA South Division members Canton and Plymouth meet in the districts.

Coaches, like Tim Baechler at Canton, say their players look forward to playing teams outside of their league, not just the same old Jimmys and Joes.


After a so-so pre-district week, there are numerous district finals this weekend that could well be an intriguing state semifinal matchup. Here’s a look at 10. All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted.


Almont (8-2) at Algonac (9-1): These Blue Water Area Conference rivals met in midseason and Algonac won, 21-7. This has been special season for Algonac. Shane Asselin and Joe McKee have powered the Muskrats much of the season. Pick: Algonac by 4.

Birmingham Groves (10-0) at Walled Lake Western (10-0): Groves has been under the radar most of the season. Part of the reason is they play in the bottom (Blue) division of the Oakland Activities Association. Also, Groves has won two playoff games in a