It’s that time of year again folks, where the best of the Boys of Fall try to make their way to Ford Field for the MHSAA Football Championships. I’ll be giving you all of the U.P. playoff games for each division, as well as my picks for each one.
Gladstone (7-2) 59.000 at Kingsford (7-1) 83.889
Gladstone had a tough loss to Calumet last week, making it two out of the last three with the other loss coming to Escanaba three weeks ago. I see Kingsford taking this one, as they have pounded Menominee and Iron Mountain this year, as well as winning seven straight coming into this one.
Hancock (7-2) 61.444 at Menominee (6-3) 65.194
I graduated from Hancock, so although I’m a little biased, I’m going to go with the ‘Dawgs in this one. Hancock’s defense has looked strong, so I expect another good showing, and I pick Hancock to potentially get out of this district, especially with their new run-and-gun style of play. A playoff win would be something that Hancock hasn’t seen in a long time, so let’s go Dawgs!
Calumet (6-3) 58.333 at Traverse City St Francis (8-1) 86.000
Calumet is one of those teams that no matter what their record is, they are always a tough out, so I’m hesitant to count them out here, but Traverse City St. Francis is a monster. Even though they lost to a tough Boyne City team, they have absolutely demolished teams, beating Cheboygan 42-0, and Kalkaska 47-0. They average nearly 40 a game, and that’ll be a little too much for the Copper Kings, so Traverse City St. Francis takes this one.
Westwood (8-1) 59.778 at Elk Rapids (7-2) 65.667
Westwood comes in winning five in a row, pitching a couple of shutouts in that stretch and seeming to score at will against the likes of Manistique and Negaunee, so I see them taking this one over an Elk Rapids team who lost a tough home game two weeks ago, getting trounced by 30 to Boyne City at home.
Lake Linden-Hubbell (4-4) 35.486 at Iron River West Iron County (8-1) 73.667
Lake Linden gets an at large bid after winning four out of their last five games, but gets a tough draw with having to travel to the West-Pac champs in West Iron County. West Iron should take this one pretty handily, and I predict this one to be over early.
Bark River-Harris (5-4) 43.361 at Norway (8-1) 62.847
Norway has been in some close games earlier this season, but their 43-7 drumming over Iron Mountain has me convinced that they’ll take this one over Bark-River Harris. Bark-River has only won two out of their last five matchups, including a 28-14 loss at home to Norway, so I think Norway wins by even more now that they get to return home for the rematch.
Munising (4-4) 32.181 at Gaylord St Mary (9-0) 77.333
Munising comes into the playoffs limping a little bit, losing two out of their last three, as well as a 31-0 beatdown at home to Norway. Gaylord St. Mary has won their last three games by an average of 23 points, and should win by that much if not more against a 4-4 Munising team.
Newberry (6-2) 49.486 at Frankfort (6-2) 49.819
Our last U.P. matchup pits Newberry against Frankfort. Newberry’s only losses were an overtime defeat to undefeated Gaylord St. Mary, and a loss on the road to Lake Linden, but have won their last two matchups by over 30 points each. Frankfort has had an extra week of rest, and has dominated their last two as well by similar margins. I think the extra week of rest suits Frankfort well, and they take this one in probably the closest matchup of the U.P. games.
Let us know what you think of my picks in the comments below, and give us a like and follow @ProSportsExtra for updates throughout the MHSAA Playoffs!