Well the regular season is finished and it's finally playoff time!!!
All the teams in this year's state tournament have put in many hours of practice time and have worked hard all season to get to where they are. Many of these teams will only have one game in this year's tournament, while others will keep marching on in search of their ultimate goal…. a state championship.
While I could write an article breaking down every one of these great tournament games, two first round matchups caught my eye as being the most compelling.
Game number one is the earliest game on the state tournament docket, a matchup between this year's PSL champion Detroit Martin Luther King, and the always tough Southfield High.
Martin Luther King has quite possibly been the hottest team in the state, reeling off six straight wins. This team has faced adversity all season and has battled through it to get to those six wins, and qualify for the state playoffs. The team had an ineligible player on their roster to start the season which cost them the first three games. Coach Dale Harvel did not let his squad lose focus and they were rewarded greatly. They defeated East English Village Prep last week in a thrilling 51-48 game. The game started off like their season did as they got behind by 20 points in the first quarter. That wouldn't faze this team though as they reeled off 32 straight points and were able to trade scores the rest of the way to stay on top of East English. Quarterback Davaun Williams has kept his team in every game to this point of the year and has captained the offense during the winning streak. He will have to continue to give his team all he's got this week as everything is on the line.
Southfield did exactly what King did last week by winning their sixth game and qualifying for the state tournament. The Bluejays dispatched Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 25-15 and played a very sound football game. Senior quarterback Trey Walton was calm and collected throwing for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the game. After only being held to 53 total offensive yards in the first half, Southfield made some critical adjustments and the offense was able to gel. Wideout Jacob Stubbard was his main target in that one as he was on the other end of both Walton touchdown tosses. The Bluejays will need to get off to a much faster start in this one though, as King is a very tough and physical team.
I see this one being close all the way through, but I think King is too hot to be stopped right now, so I'm sticking with the Crusaders on the road.
Lieutenant Dan's Prediction: Martin Luther King 21, Southfield 15
The other game that pulls me in is the game that may get more fans through the turnstiles then any game on the schedule this week. That matchup is between Plymouth and Canton.
Plymouth comes off their worst performance of the season, as they got whipped 34-6 at the hands of Grand Blanc. The Wildcats couldn't get anything going in that one as they weren't able to get their first points of the game until the middle of the 4th quarter. I'm not sure if it was that they already had a playoff berth clinched and had nothing to play for, or that they couldn't get anything going. Plymouth will need to get their star quarterback Jamarl Eiland on track if they are to beat their arch rival, Canton.
Canton survived a scare last week as they stopped a two point conversion opportunity by rival Salem to go on to win 28-27. This win got Canton to the six wins needed to clinch a playoff spot. Canton was surprising controlled throughout the game by Salem. This is a completely different story then the last few games in this series, as Canton has thoroughly dominated them. Canton still can control the game with their veer formation on offense, something that they will try to do on Friday night against the Wildcats.
Both teams come into this one a little shaken up; meaning this game could go either way. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Canton gets revenge on Plymouth this week after their loss earlier this year.
Lieutenant Dan's Prediction: Canton 17, Plymouth 14