MHSAA Week 10 Preview

7 Matchups of Top 10 teams highlight the first round of Playoffs

Hello football fans,

As mentioned in our Playoff Preview Guide, we’re once again featuring our weekly ‘Big Game’ preview note that we ran during the regular season.

On tap for this week are the games in each division between top 10 seeds - of the 128 total 11-man games taking place this weekend, only 7 such matchups will occur:

Division 1

  • Belleville (#6) vs. Ann Arbor Huron (#10)

  • Bloomfield Hills (#8) vs. Detroit Catholic Central (#9)

Division 2

  • Milford (#9) vs. East Lansing (#9)

Division 3

  • Allen Park (#6) vs. Riverview (#7)

Division 5

  • GR West Catholic (#3) vs. Comstock Park (#5)

Division 7

  • Montrose (#10) vs. New Lothrop (#11)

Division 8

  • Addison (#3) vs. Centreville (#10)

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Big Game Preview

Ann Arbor Huron (#10) at Belleville (#6)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 41 (AAH) vs. 38 (B)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 25.3 (AAH) vs. 24.7 (B)

  • Offensive Production: 31.9 (AAH) vs. 48.3 (B)

  • Defensive Production: 16.0 (AAH) vs. 11.8 (B)

  • Last Meeting: 1997 Pre-Regional. Ann Arbor Huron won, 34-14

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: Belleville over Hartland, 46-9

  • Worst Loss: Churchill over Belleville, 21-28

You’ve got two very different recent histories here: Belleville has dominated most of D1 the last few years, with 3 straight trips to the semifinals. AA Huron, on the other hand, is having their first winning season since 2009 and is only recently removed from a 5 year stretch where they went 1-44 (2015 - 2019).

So you might say Belleville is the more ‘seasoned’ team. Well, that might be true from a playoffs experience perspective, but from a strength of schedule perspective, both shake out fairly evenly: their opponents have similar win totals, and neither really has a ‘bad’ loss (AA Huron’s lone loss is 21-35 to undefeated Saline).

The one place they aren’t evenly matched is offensive production: Belleville averages nearly 3 scores more per game than AA Huron. Now, some of this may have to do with Belleville running the score up against their lesser opponents (Wayne Memorial, 78-0), but there’s also some impressive performances here: just last week, they won the KLAA title by defeating a 7-1 Hartland team, 46-9. They also took down a 6-3 Dearborn team 49-0.

But this offensive production isn’t always the Belleville team that shows up: Belleville lost to a good Churchill team 21-28 in Week 3 and narrowly defeated Fordson 21-19.

So it’s really a question of which Belleville you get: you could see a tight game, where its really a coinflip decision between the two teams, or, you could see a Belleville blowout. If AA Huron wins, I don’t expect it to be by more than a score.

Mother Goose’s Pick: Belleville

Detroit Catholic Central (#9) at Bloomfield Hills (#8)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 46 (DCC) vs. 32 (BH)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 31.4 (DCC) vs. 20.9 (BH)

  • Offensive Production: 23.3 (DCC) vs. 33.6 (BH)

  • Defensive Production: 14.1 (DCC) vs. 10.4 (BH)

  • Last Meeting: Never

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: Bloomfield Hills over Troy, 21-10

  • Worst Loss: Chippewa Valley over DCC, 45-20

Bloomfield Hills, at 9-0, is having an outstanding season. In Week 9, they added to their unblemished resume a signature win, with their defeat of 8-0 Troy, 21-10.

That said, I am skeptical of how good Bloomfield Hills really is: while undefeated, they play in the OAA-B, where each team plays only one non-conference game. Before meeting Troy last week, Bloomfield Hills opponents had 24 total wins: that’s an average record of 3-6.

Detroit Catholic Central, on the other hand, is very much battle tested. 7 of 9 opponents are now playoff teams, and their resume includes wins over 6-3 Brother Rice, 6-3 Traverse City West, and 6-3 Naperville Central.

Schedules aside, the other dynamic to consider here is history: Bloomfield Hills also went 9-0 in 2016, but dropped their first round playoff game to a 5-4 West Bloomfield team. Detroit Catholic Central regularly makes deep playoff runs, with their 2020 performance ending in a regional finals appearance.

So you’ve got two sides of the same coin here: the favorite by seeding has a better record, but a much weaker schedule and much less playoff experience. They will have home field advantage, but I don’t think that’s enough to overcome the other factors here.

Mother Goose’s pick: Detroit Catholic Central

Here’s our Week 9 Wrap-Up, with coverage from Bloomfield’s win over Troy

East Lansing (#10) at Milford (#9)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 47 (EL) vs. 39 (M)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 28.3 (EL) vs. 23.8 (M)

  • Offensive Production: 30.9 (EL) vs. 20.6 (M)

  • Defensive Production: 20.4 (EL) vs. 21.1 (M)

  • Last Meeting: Never

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: East Lansing over Portage Central, 20-15

  • Worst Loss: Lakeland over Milford, 44-7

This game has a similar dynamic to the Bloomfield Hills / DCC matchup above: Milford (7-2) is having their best season since 2006, while East Lansing (6-3), a perennial playoff contender, comes into the game having been battle tested by the likes of Grand Blanc (9-0), DeWitt (8-1), and Holt (7-2).

This ‘more than meets the eye’ dynamic is perhaps even more pronounced statistically: Milford, while the favorite, is actually distinctive amongst the teams we’re reviewing today for having a negative average point differential per game (20.6 points for, 21.1 points against). This is brought on by several lopsided losses, including their most recent, a Week 9 defeat from Lakeland (44-7).

East Lansing has only one such loss: DeWitt beat them 49-14 in Week 3. But, keep in mind that the likes of DeWitt and Lakeland are not really apples to apples comparisons, as one is 8-1 (DeWitt), and the other is 6-3 with a loss to 3-6 South Lyon East (Lakeland).

So, once again, the pick here is on the side of strength of schedule, and not seeding: East Lansing should win this game.

Mother Goose’s pick: East Lansing

Here’s the Oakland Press with a short preview of the game (also includes other picks)

Riverview (#7) at Allen Park (#6)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 39 (AP) vs. 38 (R)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 22.4 (AP) vs. 19 (R)

  • Offensive Production: 35.3 (AP) vs. 39.1 (R)

  • Defensive Production: 14.9 (AP) vs. 16 (R)

  • Last Meeting: 2019 District. Allen Park won, 42-26

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: Allen Park over Gibraltar Carlson, 42-14

  • Worst Loss: Harper Woods over Allen Park, 32-21

For this game and the next, I will state the obvious: the fact that this game is happening in the first round of the playoffs stinks. Even more so is the location, which features 9-0 Riverview traveling to 8-1 Allen Park.

Now, I’m not arguing with where the game should be played: I think AP has played a tougher schedule than Riverview. I’m just saying that we as fans should have had to wait at least 1 more week to see these guys play, and that Riverview would ideally have at least 1 home playoff game.

Both teams have impressive resumes: both have handed otherwise undefeated teams their only loss of the season, with AP defeating Carlson 42-14 in Week 3 and Riverview defeating SMCC 21-6 in Week 5. They also both have a history of making nice playoff runs, with Riverview making a semi-final as recently as 2017 and AP making a regional final in 2019.

Offensive and defensive production are also similar here: while Riverview scores slightly more points (39 vs 36), AP lets slightly less in (14 vs 16).

So how do you call this one? When all else is equal, you have to go with home field advantage.

Mother Goose’s pick: Allen Park

Here’s the News-Herald with a short preview of the game (also includes other picks)

Comstock Park (#5) vs. GR West Catholic (#3) (@ Houseman Field)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 47 (WC) vs. 33 (CP)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 23.8 (WC) vs. 16.7 (CP)

  • Offensive Production: 39.1 (WC) vs. 50.6 (CP)

  • Defensive Production: 18.7 (WC) vs. 21 (CP)

  • Last Meeting: 2020 Pre-District. West Catholic won, 41-0.

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: West Catholic over Muskegon Catholic, 28-6

  • Worst Loss: Unity Christian over West Catholic, 40-14

As hinted at above, this game is Week 10’s largest victim of geographic district grouping. As top 5 seeds, Comstock Park and GR West Catholic should not technically be meeting until 2 weeks from now in the regional finals.

Alas, they will be playing this week, but at least it’s on a ‘neutral’ field: the game is currently scheduled to be played at Houseman Field.

Who is going to win? From a purely record point of view, that’s tough to say: CP is undefeated, while West Catholic is 8-1; their only loss came against otherwise undefeated Unity Christian.

Looking at schedules, Comstock Park’s has not been as tough as West Catholic’s: their opponents have averaged a 3.6 - 5.4 record, while WC’s have averaged a 5.2 - 3.8 record. CP has made up for this fact by scoring more points, averaging nearly 11 more points per game than WC.

The one standout difference, however, is CP’s defense: against lesser opponents, they are still averaging more points allowed than West Catholic, letting in nearly 21 points a game.

So, expect a shootout - this one may come down to who has the ball last. In these types of games, you have to side with the team who has on paper the potential to get more stops.

Mother Goose’s pick: West Catholic

Here’s Mlive’s write-up on CP’s undefeated regular season

New Lothrop (#11) at Montrose (#10)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 46 (NL) vs. 45 (M)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 17.8 (NL) vs. 16.1 (M)

  • Offensive Production: 39.8 (NL) vs. 40.2 (M)

  • Defensive Production: 17.0 (NL) vs. 19.6 (M)

  • Last Meeting: Week 5. Montrose won, 35-14

  • Common Opponents: Many (both are in the MMAC conference)

  • Best Win: New Lothrop over Ovid-Elsie, 66-24

  • Worst Loss: Montrose over New Lothrop, 35-14

At around 5PM tonight, buses will leave New Lothrop high school and head 8 miles to the Northeast for what will be the Hornet’s 34th all-time matchup with rival Montrose.

Last time out, Montrose bested New Lothrop by 3 scores, prevailing 35-14. Since then, however, New Lothrop has been posting some of their better results: they defeated Ovid-Elsie by 42 in Week 6; Ovid-Elsie had beaten Montrose by 1 earlier in the year. New Lothrop also played an undefeated Frankenmuth fairly close in Week 9, only losing 28-14.

From a stats point of view, these two teams are dead even in almost every category: strength of schedule, points for, points against: all are within 3 of each other.

Logically, I don’t know how to call this one - the only thing I have is that its hard to beat your rival; it’s even harder to beat your rival twice.

Mother Goose’s pick: New Lothrop

Here’s Mlive’s coverage from these teams’ Week 5 matchup

Here’s Mlive’s short preview of the game (also includes other picks)

Centreville (#10) at Addison (#3)

  • Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 40 (A) vs. 38 (C)

  • Strength of Schedule (MHSAA Bonus Points): 15.4 (A) vs. 12.8 (C)

  • Offensive Production: 43.8 (A) vs. 39.6 (C)

  • Defensive Production: 17.2 (A) vs. 12.2 (C)

  • Last Meeting: Never

  • Common Opponents: None

  • Best Win: Addison over Michigan Center, 36-35

  • Worst Loss: Niles Brandywine over Centreville, 38-32

Our final game of the week once again takes us to Lenawee County, where the Centreville Bulldogs (7-2) will be visiting the Addison Panthers (8-1).

This game is even better than it looks on paper: Centreville is the best 7-2 team in Division 8. Sure, they have a bad loss to Brandywine in Week 1, but they’ve shown great results since, allowing less than 2 scores a game on average and owning the only victory over White Pigeon (32-16). Plus, don’t forget what Centreville did last year: they are the returning State Champ in the Division.

Addison, on the other hand, is coming off their first loss of the season, to Jonesville (20-14). Jonesville is no slouch of an opponent (they are 9-0), so don’t discount them too much there. Addison also owns the only victory over Michigan Center (36-35).

Statistically, Addison scores more points, but also lets about the same amount more of points in per game. So both teams are about even in average margin of victory.

Knowing nothing else, I’ve got to go with home field advantage. And perhaps a little bit of discount for that Niles Brandywine loss.

Mother Goose’s pick: Addison

Here’s LenConnect’s preview of the matchup (might be paywalled)

Here’s our Week 9 Wrap-Up where we covered Addison’s loss against Jonesville

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