Playoff Predictions: Round 1

The state playoffs kickoff tonight and the first round draws are quite intriguing. We breakdown a few of the big matchups and let you know which teams have the best chances to spring an upset.

Battle Creek Central (6-3) at Holt (9-0)
The Rams have had their share of close games this year, but have showed toughness and heart and have a lot of senior leadership. QB Michael Hollern has been an efficient playmaker all season and LB/FB Mitch Zajac is one of the state's top tacklers. He will be the key in stopping a Bearcat running game that features outstanding junior Larry Caper and speedy seniors James Williams and Bill Young. All can go the distance at any time, but the x-factors this season for them have been the offensive line play and the passing game. If either of their quarterbacks can put together a decent game to soften up the Holt defense, BCC can keep this one close, if not, it will be tough sledding for their backs and that means trouble.
Our Prediction: Holt - 35, Battle Creek Central - 22

Traverse City West (6-3) at Rockford (8-1)
Rockford is flying high after their big win over Muskegon, but they must not bask in the glow of that victory as a tough TC West team comes to town. But West has had trouble with OK-Red opponents, going 0-2 against the conference this year. Rockford should have QB Robert Banaszak ready to go after he was kept out of the 2nd half of last week's game for precautionary measures. The big fight will come in the trenches though where both teams are big and tough. The excitement of last week should carry over and the home crowd will be "rockin," and that should be too much for TC West to overcome.
Our Prediction: Rockford - 28, TC West - 13

South Lyon (6-3) at Lansing Everett (8-1)
South Lyon will have to contain Everett QB Reggie Williams if they have any shot in this game. Easier said than done though as Williams is an efficient passer (nearly 1300 yards this season) and dangerous runner. On the other side, the two headed rushing combo of Ian McGee and Dan Vess has been leading the way for South Lyon. The question is whether or not they will be able to make plays on passing downs as their air attack has been inconsistent this year.
Our Prediction: Lansing Everett - 27, South Lyon - 10

Detroit Catholic Central (7-2) at Howell (8-1)
The Shamrock defense lead by DTs Michael Martin and Eric Alamat will be the keys against a strong Howell running attack and tailback Richie Wilson. On the other side of the field, Anthony Capatina is no slouch running the ball. But with both teams being stout against the run, it will come down to who can make a few plays in the passing game. I'll go with DCC in that department.
Our Prediction: DCC - 21, Howell - 20

Utica Eisenhower (6-3) at Clarkston (8-1)
Expect some balls to be in the air in this game Eisenhower junior QB Taylor Copacia has had a big year and can really sling it around, but he'll be facing a very tough Wolves defense that has managed to shut down some of the state's top offenses. Clarkston can pass it a little themselves as the combination of QB Nick Shamoun and big play WR Erik Thompson has been huge for them all season.
Our Prediction: Clarkston - 32, Eisenhower - 14

Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills (7-2) at Muskegon (8-1)
How will the Big Reds bounce back from a tough loss to Rockford? I think they'll respond well. They face an Ottawa Hills team with some explosion on offense, namely RB Phillip Mayberry and WR Damion Horton, but they haven't seen a defense with the speed and athleticism Muskegon will put out there. Horton's sweeps and outside running will be neutralized and the Big Reds should generate the big plays. Also - Hudsonville over Reeths-Puffer setting up a rematch opportunity for the Eagles.
Our Prediction: Muskegon - 42, Ottawa Hills - 20

Saginaw Arthur Hill (7-2) at Midland (7-2)
The top two junior quarterbacks in the state faceoff as Midland's Andrew Maxwell and Arthur Hill's Mike Schaaf meet in this great 1st Round matchup. Midland will lean more on senior RB Colter Roberson, but he is facing a tough Arthur Hill defense. Schaaf has been taking good care of the ball lately and getting the ball downfield. The Midland secondary showed some weaknesses late in the season, so I expect a big day out of Schaaf.
Our Prediction: Saginaw Arthur Hill - 27, Midland - 21


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