Spartan Stadium Showdown

The MHSAA Playoffs roll into Spartan Stadium this weekend. Muskegon is heavily favored over Davison, but the Cardinals are a tested team. And powerful Rockford faces Livonia Stevenson, who looks to build on the energy it displayed in a late-game comeback last week.

David, meet Goliath.

When Davison (9-3) lines up against Muskegon (12-0) at 1 p.m., Saturday in Spartan Stadium, the match up will be the most lopsided on paper throughout the semifinals in the state of Michigan's high school football tournament.

Based on playoff points, a formula that rewards teams by wins and strength of schedule, no other contest has a wider margin. But that 37-point gap doesn't tell the whole story.

Muskegon has been on a higher pigskin plane all season, averaging 40 points per game as it rolled through 12 consecutive victories. The season began with a 35-0 thumping of Detroit King, the defending state champs.

The Big Reds won nearly every game by at least two touchdowns; the only team to keep things close was Hudsonville, who lost by a field goal in the regular season and by six in the playoffs.

Plus, Muskegon has averaged a 26-point margin of victory in three playoff games. Just last week, the Big Reds, ranked No. 2 at the time, trounced Lowell, the No. 1 ranked team, 49-14

Davison, on the other hand, sat at 2-3 five games into the season and didn't lock a playoff spot until its final game against Holt.

A difficult schedule, however, with games against powers such as Lowell, Rockford and Lansing Sexton, seems to have prepared the Cardinals, who surprised a talented Midland squad on the road last weekend to advance.

Looking at common opponents only builds the expectations for Muskegon. The Big Reds beat Lowel by 35 and Rockford by 28. Davison lost both games—42-7 to Lowell and 20-19 to Rockford.

Led by a swarming defense and a balanced offense, Davison will look to swing its proverbial sling and knock Muskegon off its feet. For Davison to pull off the upset, sophomore dual-threat quarterback Jake Thompson and bruising running back Oliver Saylor will attempt to maintain drives and control the clock, like they did against the Chemics last week.

For Muskegon, the higher the score climbs, the better the day should be. Running back Jason Hannett logged 193 yards on only 16 carries last week and the team racked up 527 yards total.

The winner will face Warren DeLaSalle (12-0) or Southfield (11-1) at Ford Field for the state championship.

Division 1 Titans

Before the Biblically analogous Muskegon-Davison game, a pair of Division 1 powers will kick off the day at Spartan Stadium. Livonia Stevenson (10-2) faces Rockford (11-1) at 10:30 a.m. for the chance to advance to Ford Field.

Stevenson enters the game with spirits high after a come-from-behind victory over Canton. Down by 14 in the fourth quarter, the Spartans rode one of the best players in the state, junior running back Austin White, in a late-game surge to advance.

Rockford's defense has kept opponents to 15 points per game and nearly blanked Hartland last weekend, winning 24-8 while holding the Eagles scoreless for over 47 minutes.

The winner will play either Lake Orion (11-1) or Dearborn Fordson (12-0).


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