This is my last installment of the high school football way too early predictions.  I'll focus on other teams from the Lansing area that do not play in local conferences, including some 8-man squads.

First up, it's Ithaca.  And just like Pewamo-Westphalia, I've got no reason to pick against them.  The Yellowjackets have not lost a regular season game since the 2009 campaign, and that was to TVC-West foe St. Charles.  Since then, it's been all Ithaca: 5 Division 6 championships, seven appearance in the Division 6 championship and 8 consecutive Tri-Valley West titles.  Their most intriguing match-up is the first of the season, when they face P-W at Alma College August 24th.  Arguably the two most-successful programs in the Mid-Michigan area the last number of years.  And despite the departure of QB Joey Bentley, Ithaca should remain at the top of the TVC-West.

Ovid-Elsie, formerly of the TVC-West, joined Ithaca in 2016, after being in the TVC-Central for a decade.  The Marauders only conference loss in 2017 came at the hands of said Yellowjackets.  Now they're in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference.  They'll need to find a new QB and some WR's, but returners Evan Morris, Bryce Dolan & Logan Del Bosque should help with the transition.  Morris was the Lansing State Journal's Dream Team kicker last season, was named MHSFCA Division 5 first team and AP Division 5-6 honorable mention all-state selection.  He also helped on defense and offense.  O-E could contend in the MMAC, and another playoff appearance looks almost certain.

Carson City-Crystal left the CMAC back in 2011, heading off to the Mid-State Activities Conference.  And since then, the Eagles have made the playoffs 4 times in the last 6 seasons.  But they've come up one win since the last two years, finishing at 5-4 each time.  CCC thinks 2018 will be the year they make it back, with help of RB Drew Stout's legs.  The Senior led the Lansing-area in rushing yards, setting a school record with 1,871 yards on the ground and also had 20 TDs.  Stout was also a Division 7-8 AP first team all-state selection.  The Eagles finished 3rd in the MSAC last season, behind Breckenridge (who made it to a Regional Final) and Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart.  This year's schedule looks favorable for the Eagles and I wouldn't be surprised if they win the MSAC and make the playoffs in 2018.

In 8-player football, Portland St. Patrick has been the most recent school with playoff success.  After the short-lived Central Michigan 8-Man Conference, the Shamrocks have now joined the Southern Central Athletic Association - Division A (and brought Webberville along with them).  PSP reached the 8-Man 2 Final last year, losing to Crystal Falls Forrest Park.  The previous year, they made the Regional Final.  Ever since leaving the CMAC in football and joining the 8-player ranks, the Shamrocks have made some noise.  Expect more of that in 2018 with QB Tanner Lawson, Ned Smith and Paul Cook returning.

Webberville made the 8-player postseason in 2017 as well.  The Spartans have also some success since leaving the GAC-Blue and joining the 8-man division.  They finished 5-4 in the regular season and lost in the opening round of the playoffs.  And despite the graduations of Caleb Friddle & Kayson Lycos, many returning players with lots of experience remain.  Webberville might not win the SCAA - Division A title, but another postseason trip is definitely a possibility.

Morrice remains the final 8-player local team.  The Orioles beat Webberville last season, and blew out Kingston in the 8-Man 1 PreRegional, before falling the following week to Deckerville (a squad that nearly won it all).  Morrice plays in the North Central Thumb League - Red, and finished tied for first in 2017.  They beat conference foe Deckerville in the regular season, but the loss to Kingston meant they had to share the crown.  LSJ Dream Team QB Hunter Nowak is back.  So is Connor Lucas and Austin Edignton.  And those 3 alone make the Orioles another big time threat in NCTL - Red this year.

And that wraps it up.  Practices begin in a week.  The season kicks off August 23rd.  We'll see how many of my picks hold up.

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