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Top 25 Michigan HS football teams after Week 9 of 2018 season: Oxford, Port Huron Northern climb into final regular-season rankings

Top 25 Michigan HS football teams after Week 9 of 2018 season: Oxford, Port Huron Northern climb into final regular-season rankings
BY: MATTHEW B. MOWERY Oct 23, 11:25pm

The regular season concludes with four unbeatens atop the rankings, champions of the O-K Black, Detroit Public School League, KLAA and Macomb Area Conference. The unbeaten champions of the two Saginaw Valley League divisions — Lapeer and Mt. Pleasant — are also in the rankings, as is the top dog in the Capital Area Activites Conference (DeWitt), the Lakes Valley Conference (South Lyon) and the Southeastern Conference’s White Division (Jackson). The rankings will continue into the postseason, with teams that are eliminated no longer eligible to be ranked.

1 Muskegon (9-0, 6-0 OK Black) — The Big Reds rolled Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, 62-12, to record their 23rd consecutive win, and their 500th home win in program history, clinching the OK Black title outright. Jeremiah Lockhart had 177 yards rushing and two TDs, while Cameron Martinez had a quiet — for him — 144 yards and two TDs. The defending D3 champion, Muskegon is in the playoffs for the 19th straight season. (Last week: 1) Up next: vs. East Grand Rapids in Division 3 district play.

2 Cass Tech (9-0, 4-0 PSL Green) — The Technicians’ defense created three turnovers that led to points, as Cass Tech beat then-No. 4 Detroit King, 42-8, in the Detroit Public School League A championship game. Jalen Graham threw for 69 yards and two TDs, while Jaren Mangham and Lew Nichols had two rushing touchdowns each. The Technicians are in the playoffs for an 11th straight season, having posted their fifth unbeaten regular season since 2010. (Last week: 2) Up next: vs. Detroit Western International in Division 1 district play.

3 Belleville (9-0, 7-0 KLAA East) — Khalid Crawford ran for two TDs, Christian Dhue-Reid threw a TD pass and Julian Barnett ran for a TD, as Belleville beat No. 18 Brighton, 32-17 for the KLAA title in the Tigers’ first season in the league. The Tigers, who have won 24 straight regular-season games, are in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. (Last week: 3) Up next: vs. Dearborn in Division 1 district play.

4 Clinton Twp. Chippewa Valley (9-0, 5-0 MAC Red) — Tommy Schuster is the all-time passing leader at Chip Valley, claiming the mark in Friday’s 49-0 win over Utica that gave the Big Reds their first unbeaten regular season since 1975. David Ellis caught two of Schuster’s three TD passes in the win. (Last week: 5) Up next: vs. Utica Eisenhower in Division 1 district play.

5 East Kentwood (8-1, 6-0 OK Red) — Kionte Blakely racked up 195 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, then rested a leg injury, as the Falcons used their RB depth to beat Rockford, 28-17. The win, an eighth straight for East Kentwood, clinched the program’s first outright OK Red title in 16 years. After two seasons on the outside looking in, the Falcons are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. (Last week: 6) Up next: vs. No. 23 Brighton in Division 1 district play.

6 Saline (8-1, 5-0 SEC Red) — Brendan Munday had 196 yards from scrimmage, M.J. Griffin ran for 89 yards and a score, and Joel Klomega had two rushing TDs, as the Hornets beat Grand Blanc, 31-7. The Hornets, whose defense allowed a TD or less for sixth time this season, and allowed 19 total points the last five games combined, finished the regular season on an eight-game win streak, and are in the playoffs for seventh straight season. (Last week: 8) Up next: vs. Kalamazoo Central in Division 1 district play.

7 Lapeer (9-0, 6-0 SVL Blue) — Jalen Kirkland ran for 94 yards, while Phoenix Dickson ran for 124 yards and two TDs, and the defense had a pair of scores, as Lapeer beat No. 24 Davison, 28-6. Lapeer allowed just more than 10 points per game in six league contests. The Lightning are in the playoffs for the fifth straight time since the merger of Lapeer East and West, and have their third unbeaten regular season in that span. (Last week: 9) Up next: vs. Grand Blanc in Division 1 district play.

8 Oak Park (8-1, 6-0 OAA White) — D’wan Mathis threw for a touchdown and ran for another as Oak Park built a 14-0 lead on OAA Red champ Clarkston, but it was Phil Stewart’s fourth-quarter touchdown run that was the difference in a 21-14 win. The Knights are in the playoffs for a seventh straight season. (Last week: 10) Up next: vs. Ferndale in Division 1 district play.

9 Detroit King (7-2, 5-0 PSL Black) — King ran into a defensive buzzsaw in No. 2 Cass Tech, losing 42-8 in the PSL A championship game. Harassed all game long, and forced into three turnovers, Dequan Finn scored King’s lone touchdown with 10 minutes left in the game. The Crusaders are in the playoffs for a 10th straight season. (Last week: 4) Up next: vs. No. 10 River Rouge in Division 3 district play.

10 River Rouge (8-1, 4-0 Michigan Metro Blue) — River Rouge beat Southfield A&T, 45-0, to finish off the regular season with a third straight shutout (one by forfeit) and a sixth on the season. River Rouge allowed just seven points over the final six weeks of the regular season. The Panthers, who haven’t lost since Week 1 against the eventual PSL champion Cass Tech, now face the PSL runner-up in the postseason, their ninth straight playoff appearance. (Last week: 11) Up next: at No. 9 Detroit King in Division 3 district play.

11 Muskegon Mona Shores (8-1, 5-1 OK Black) — Tre’Shawn Hatcher had 158 of Mona Shores’ 218 rushing yards, needing just eight carries to score two TDs, as the Sailors beat Fruitport, 57-38. Crue Cooper had three of Fruitport’s four straight fourth-quarter scores against Mona Shores’ backups to make the final margin more palatable. The Sailors are in the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. (Last week: 12) Up next: vs. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in Division 2 district play.

12 Clarkston (7-2, 5-1 OAA Red) — Jacob Honstetter and Conor Donahue had TD runs to tie the game at 14-14, but after Oak Park went up a TD again, the Wolves were turned away on three straight attempts to tie, as they closed out the regular-season with a loss to OAA White champ Oak Park, 21-14. The defending D1 champs, the Wolves are in the playoffs for a 16th straight year. (Last week: 7) Up next: vs. Lake Orion in Division 1 district play.

13 Warren De La Salle (7-2, 2-1 CHSL Central) — Nolan Schultz ran for 104 yards and two scores and threw for 128 yards, as the Pilots beat then-No 13 Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 24-6, in Prep Bowl XLVI at Ford Field to repeat as Catholic League A-B champions. The defending D2 champs are back in the playoffs for a second straight year, and the 11th time in 13 seasons. (Last week: 14) Up next: vs. Warren-Mott in Division 2 district play.

14 West Bloomfield (7-2, 4-2 OAA Red) — C.J. Harris thew a touchdown pass, and Lance Dixon had the go-ahead touchdown run with 3:16 to play, as West Bloomfield beat Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 13-10. The Lakers are in the playoffs for a fifth straight year. (Last week: 15) Up next: vs. Plymouth in Division 1 district play.

15 DeWitt (9-0, 6-0 CAAC Blue) — The Panthers beat Lansing Waverly, 63-27, to finish off their first unbeaten regular season since 2014, and their seventh since 2000. The 27 points were the most scored all season on the Panthers, who gave up just 75 total, and 41 in six CAAC Blue games. (Last week: 16) Up next: vs. St. Johns in Division 3 district play.

16 Zeeland East (8-1, 6-0 OK Green) — Josh Fusco ran for 219 yards and three scores, and Gabe Taylor threw for 194 yards and a TD, as the Chix beat Hudsonville Unity Christian, 36-13, to win their second straight outright OK Green title. Zeeland East is in the playoffs for a fourth straight year, and for the eighth time in nine seasons.  (Last week: 17) Up next: vs. Stevensville Lakeshore in Division 3 district play.

17 Mt. Pleasant (9-0, 6-0 SVL Red) — For the seventh time in program history, and the fourth time since 2009, the Oilers finished the regular season unbeaten, knocking off Saginaw Heritage, 28-14. Zach Mogg had 209 yards rushing and a TD, while Jackson Ostrowski threw for 162 yards and two scores. The Oilers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, but the 10th time since 2006. (Last week: 19) Up next: vs. Petoskey in Division 3 district play.

18 Novi Detroit Catholic Central (6-3, 2-1 CHSL Central) — The Shamrocks couldn’t muster their mastery of the Pilots for a second straight week, as the offense went cold in a 24-6 loss to then-No. 14 Warren De La Salle in Prep Bowl XLVI. Catholic Central is in the playoffs for the fourth straight season, and the 11th time in 12 years. (Last week: 13) Up next: vs. Canton in Division 1 district play.

19 South Lyon (9-0, 8-0 LVC) — Jake Newman returned a blocked field goal 92 yards for a touchdown, and Connor Fracassi ran for a touchdown and threw for another, as South Lyon beat South Lyon East, 20-15, to finish off an unbeaten regular season for the first time since the 1995 Class A runner-up squad. The Lions are in the playoffs for the first time in two seasons, and the fifth time since 2011. (Last week: 20) Up next: vs. Dexter in Division 2 district play.

20 Jackson (9-0, 7-0 SEC White) — Micah Cretsinger ran for 116 yards and caught passes for another 108, scoring five total TDs, as Jackson beat Lake Fenton, 36-14, to finish off an unbeaten regular season. The Vikings are in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and just the second time in nine seasons. (Last week: 21) Up next: vs. Okemos in Division 2 district play.

21 Dearborn Fordson (8-1, 6-1 KLAA East) — Hussein Ajami threw for 196 yards and four TDs, and Abe Jaafar ran for 141 yards and three scores, as the Tractors won a shootout with Canton, 49-41. Chiefs running back Steven Walker had 329 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. (Last week: 23) Up next: vs. Grosse Pointe South in Division 1 district play.

22 Birmingham Groves (7-2, 6-1 OAA White) — The big-play Falcons had two touchdowns of more than 30 yards and two of more than 60, as they beat co-No. 25 Birmingham Seaholm, 26-9. Damonte McCurdy scored three touchdowns in the win. Now the two teams get a first-round rematch in the playoffs. (Last week: 25) Up next: at Birmingham Seaholm in Division 2 district play.

23 Brighton (7-2, 7-0 KLAA West) — After a breakout game in Week 1 against the Tigers, Will Jontz was held in check in Friday’s KLAA title game, throwing just one TD, as the Bulldogs lost to No. 3 Belleville, 32-17. The Bulldogs are in the playoffs for the first time in two seasons, and the seventh time in 10 seasons. (Last week: 18) Up next: at No. 5 East Kentwood in Division 1 district play.

24 Port Huron Northern (8-1, 5-0 MAC Blue) — The Huskies beat Warren Fitzgerald, 42-16, to finish off their second straight one-loss regular season. Champs of the MAC Blue, the Huskies are in the playoffs for the third straight season. (Last week: NR) Up next: vs. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore in Division 2 district play.

25 Oxford (7-2, 4-2 OAA Red) — Coming off a 2-7 season, the Wildcats beat Troy Athens, 35-0, to end the regular season on a four-game win streak. Trent Myre and Caleb Tabert had touchdown runs, while Drew Carpenter ran for one and threw for another. Oxford is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2014. (Last week: NR) Up next: vs. Davison in Division 1 district play.

Dropped out: No. 25 Birmingham Seaholm (7-2, 6-0 OAA White), No. 24 Davison (7-2, 5-1 SVL South), No. 22 Grosse Pointe South (8-1, 6-0 MAC White)

Ten others to keep an eye on: Saginaw Swan Valley (9-0, 5-0 TVC Central), Grand Rapids Catholic Central (8-1, 6-0 OK Blue), Jackson Lumen Christi (9-0, 8-0 Interstate-8), Pewamo-Westphalia (9-0, 7-0 CMAC), Edwardsburg (9-0, 9-0 Wolverine Conf.), Madison Heights Madison (9-0, 5-0 MAC Silver), Traverse City St. Francis (9-0, 6-0 NMFL-Legends), Calumet (9-0, 7-0 West-PAC-A), Portland (9-0, 5-0 CAAC White), Flint Hamady (9-0, 4-0 GAC Blue)

For Week 1 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 2 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 3 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 4 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 5 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 6 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 7 rankings, CLICK HERE

For Week 8 rankings, CLICK HERE

For the full 11-player postseason bracket, CLICK HERE

For the full 8-player postseason bracket, CLICK HERE