5 Storylines For Week 2 of the MHSAA Playoffs
With 13 teams left in the MHSAA playoffs from the Lansing-area there is plenty of storylines to look at for this upcoming week of the football season. By the law of averages, the Lansing-area is already in the positive with only seven teams eliminated in the first round. Three of those teams were defeated by fellow area schools.
With that in mind here are some intriguing things we are watching for in week 11 of the 2017 MHSAA football season.
No matter what happens to all of our Lansing area teams there will be at least three participants in the regional final round thanks to area team versus area team matchups.
In Division 3, East Lansing hosts Haslett in a rivalry reawakened. This will be just the 15th time the schools have played in football since 1950, and it will be the first meeting since 2013.
In Division 5, Lansing Catholic looks to avenge a 35-6 loss to Portland back in week five. Brock Gross accounted for all five of the Red Raider touchdowns in that game and he didn't slow down much after. Gross finished with 824 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns on the regular season.
And in Division 6, Ithaca hosts Laingsburg at Alma College. It will be fourth ever meeting between these two schools, all of which have come in the postseason. Ithaca is 3-0 in the all-time series.
When you consider that the players currently on DeWitt's football team have never known a reality where Rob Zimmerman isn't the head coach of DeWitt football it's easy to forget that Zimmerman coached elsewhere before coming to DeWitt.
However, everyone will get that reminder this weekend as for the first time in program history DeWitt will play Cedar Springs in football. This is notable because prior to Zimmermann taking the job in DeWitt, he was the head coach of Cedar Springs for three years between 1996 and 1998.
Two area games feature rematches from the 2017 season being played again in the postseason. Will the losing team redeem themselves of a regular season defeat? Or will it be utter dominance for a whole year with two victories over the same opponent for a particular team?
Lansing Catholic looks to avenge a 35-6 week five loss to Portland. That week five game was at Cougar Stadium, if Catholic wants revenge they will have to earn it on the road.
Morrice looks to fend off Deckerville for a second time this year. The Orioles won 33-32 in week six of the 2017 season on a last minute two-point conversion.
The deeper we get into the playoffs the less likely we get these sorts of games, so cherish them while you can.
After the first weekend saw more Lansing area schools as the home team, this weekend will see a larger proportion of road teams out of Lansing. With 13 area schools still left only five are hosting playoff games, and only four are doing so at their home stadiums.
DeWitt hosts Cedar Springs
East Lansing hosts Haslett
Portland hosts Lansing Catholic
Ithaca hosts Laingsburg (game moved to Alma College)
Portland St. Pats hosts Flint International Academy
The rest of the area teams all hit the road and if upsets don't happen (or perceived upsets using the playoff points stat) there could be a slim roster of teams from Lansing in the third round of the playoffs.
Some of our area teams have become masters of the road game routine, in fact four of the teams still remaining from our area had to win road games in week 10 to get to this point of the playoffs
However, for a number of our area schools should they win this weekend and the bracket not fall their way, they'll be on lengthy trips to face their regional final opponent.
In other words, bring a long playlist for the bus ride.
Remember, the first three weeks of the playoffs are played at home sites. Semifinals and finals are neutral site games.
The most extreme case is if Williamston wins on the road in Pontiac (already a long drive for round two of the playoffs) against Notre Dame Prep. If that happens the Hornets will hit the road again and it is likely they have to go to the U.P. to play Escanaba for the regional final. We wish we were kidding. The alternative is Alma, which isn't nearly as long of a drive when put into that perspective.
Among Lansing-area teams that would have to go on the road in the regional final round, the shortest possible trip is East Lansing going to Battle Creek Harper Creek which is roughly an hour away.
The farthest a Lansing-area team would potentially have to travel should they win this weekend and be the road team, according to Google maps:
Williamston at Escanaba (388 miles)
Pewamo-Westphalia at Cass City (141 miles)
Haslett at Stevensville Lakeshore (140 miles)
Laingsburg at Montague (137 miles)
East Lansing at Stevensville Lakeshore (135 miles)
Pewamo-Westphalia at Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker (135 miles)
Sexton at Edwardsburg (127 miles)
Ithaca at Montague (102 miles)
DeWitt at Muskegon (101 miles)
Laingsburg at Kent City (99 miles)
Maple Valley at Cassopolis (94 miles)
Sexton at Three Rivers (94 miles)
Lansing Catholic at GR West Catholic (74 miles)
Maple Valley at Reading (72 miles)
Williamston at Alma (67.5 miles)
Haslett at Battle Creek Harper Creek (63 miles)
East Lansing at Battle Creek Harper Creek (59 miles)