Final Lansing-Area Football Power Rankings For 2016
With the season now over, it's time for the season-ending rankings. We saw Portland, Ithaca, Lansing Catholic, and Lakewood have outstanding seasons. They all make the final top 10.
But one team stood above all of them. After losing in the Division 7 finals to Ishpeming last season, the Pirates of Pewamo-Westphalia regrouped from that and proceeded to go 14-0 and win their first-ever state championship in football.
More on P-W later. But let's start the final rankings, starting with number 10.
The Wolf Pack had an excellent season by most standards. They finished 2nd in the ultra-competitive CMAC.
They had a good QB in Zach Putnam and some other good skill players. But in a league that was dominated by Pewamo-Westphalia, it gets forgotten. That's a shame.
The Gladiators made the playoffs for the first time in the Brett Shrader era. He has gradually made them more competitive every single year.
Expect bigger things in 2017. This is a program on the rise.
The Comets won another CAAC Blue title. But they lost to arch-rival Holt in Week 9 and were blown out in Round 1 of the playoffs.
It was a disappointing finish to a really good season. But QB Nolan Bird will be back next season, with him, the Comets should contend for another CAAC Blue championship.
The Cougars took a half-step backwards this season, losing the CAAC White title to Portland on a two-point play at the end of regulation. And then they were blown out by eventual state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic in Round 1.
But they should rebound in 2017. QB Michael Lynn III returns and coach Jim Ahearn has a way of getting the most out of the talent he has. The Cougs should be back in 2017.
Jerry Van Heuvel is a top candidate for area coach of the year. With all the players the Bulldogs lost last year, it is a tremendous achievement to finish 2nd in the CAAC Red and win a playoff game.
The road is never easy in the CAAC Red with DeWitt in the league. But Mason is always a tough team to deal with.
The Vikings won the GLAC title again and won their first two playoff games in school history this year.
2017 could be a rebuilding year. But in the GLAC, they may not fall very far in the standings.
For the second straight season, the Red Raiders suffered a crushing home loss in the district finals. This time to eventual state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic, 10-7 on a last-second field goal.
Coach John Novara has built an outstanding program, but just like last year, this loss will stick with them for a long time.
The Yellow Jackets met their match in Frankenmuth in the Division 5 regional finals. They got physically dominated for the first time in years.
But Ithaca should rebound, they have gobs of talent returning in 2017. And they'll be a factor in Division 5 again.
The Panthers saw their season come to an end with another heartbreaking loss to Orchard Lake St. Mary's in the regional finals.
They lose Will Nagle and J.D. Ross from this squad. But coach Rob Zimmerman, much like Lansing Catholic's Jim Ahearn, has the ability to reload. I expect that to happen next year.
Who else should be number 1??!! The Pirates rebounded from the state final loss from last year to go undefeated and win the Division 7 state title over Detroit Loyola at Ford Field.
Jared Smith takes his place amongst the all-time great running backs in Mid-Michigan history. And this Pirate squad has to be considered as one of, if not the best, in the long history of the CMAC.
They've got a lot returning next season, too. A Division 7 repeat may be a stretch, but another playoff run is not out of the question in 2017.