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MHSAA Week 11 Preview
5 Top 5 Matchups highlight District final Weekend
As promised in our Week 10 Wrap-Up, we’re previewing the largest games happening around the state this weekend.
Of the 64 matchups going down, there are only 5 occurring between top 5 seeds:
#4 Mount Pleasant vs. #2 DeWitt
#3 Grand Rapids West Catholic vs. #1 Grand Rapids Catholic Central
#5 Millington vs. #1 Lansing Catholic
#2 Monroe St Mary CC vs. #1 Jackson Lumen Christi
#3 Addison vs. #1 Hudson
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Mount Pleasant (#4) vs DeWitt (#2) @ Grand Ledge
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 33 (MP) vs. 55 (D)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): -9.0 (MP) vs. 2.4 (D)
Offensive Production: 37.2 (MP) vs. 47.9 (D)
Defensive Production: 12.9 (MP) vs. 15.3 (D)
Last Meeting: Week 1, 2013. DeWitt won, 28-16.
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: DeWitt over Traverse City Central, 47-27
Worst Loss: Portland over DeWitt, 20-17
Our first matchup is a stellar one: we have two storied programs here, each with a history of making deep playoff runs.
DeWitt has been the better of the two as of late, as they are the reigning Division 3 State Champion. Mount Pleasant last made a deep run in 2015 when they lost in the regional finals to East Grand Rapids.
Throwing out the history, what stands out the most in this year’s matchup is the relative strength of schedule: of all remaining playoff teams, Mount Pleasant’s opponents have the least amount of victories.
This also show up in the stats, where, despite the tougher competition, DeWitt averages a margin of victory nearly 7 points larger than Mount Pleasant.
Now, there is the potential that DeWitt doesn’t ‘show up’ in full force: they do have a bad loss to Portland on their resume. But I don’t think that happens.
Mother Goose’s Pick: DeWitt
Game Preview from the Morning Sun
West Catholic (#3) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (#1)
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 58 (WC) vs 46 (GRCC)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 4.41 (WC) vs -0.3 (GRCC)
Offensive Production: 39.4 (WC) vs 45.2 (GRCC)
Defensive Production: 16.8 (WC) vs 10.9 (GRCC)
Last Meeting: Week 8, 2019. GRCC won, 55-0
Common Opponents: Forest Hills Eastern. WC won 43-9; GRCC won 62-0.
Best Win: GRCC over Cedar Springs, 41-40
Worst Loss: Unity Christian over West Catholic, 40-14
Again, we have 2 storied programs here, each with 5+ state titles between them. We also have two arch rivals: two Catholic schools, both in the city of Grand Rapids.
So, from a context perspective, it doesn’t get any better than this. Both crowds will surely be amped up and out in full force tonight.
From a resume standpoint, a quick look would tell you West Catholic’s is much better than GRCC’s. West Catholic played undefeated Unity Christian in Week 7, and just recently handed undefeated Comstock Park their first loss in Week 10.
But you can’t really credit West Catholic anything for playing Unity Christian, as they didn’t show up in that game: the final score was 40-14. Additionally, the victory over Comstock Park was a nice win, but CP didn’t play the toughest schedule this year, so it’s tough to view them with the likes of other 9-0 teams.
So you have to look at the stats here, and from that point of view, GRCC takes the cake: they average nearly one more touchdown per game than West Catholic, and give up nearly one less touchdown per game. This shows up in their only common opponent: while both won via blow out over Forest Hills Eastern, GRCC had a more dominant performance.
Give me the Cougars here.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Grand Rapids Catholic Central
Fox 17 Preview of the game
Millington (#5) vs Lansing Catholic (#1)
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 50 (M) vs 49 (LCC)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 3.2 (M) vs. 4.7 (LCC)
Offensive Production: 37.7 (M) vs 34.9 (LCC)
Defensive Production: 8.6 (M) vs 15.2 (LCC)
Last Meeting: 1991 Pre Region. Millington won 23-19.
Common Opponents: None.
Best Win: LCC over Portland, 31-29.
Worst Loss: Pewamo-Westphalia over LCC, 12-7.
This one is our closest game of the bunch. Millington, while undefeated, is the technical underdog, as the playoff point formula credited Lansing Catholic for playing larger opponents in the regular season.
Those larger opponents are not necessarily better: looking at both win totals and average opponent point differential, Millington and Lansing Catholic’s resumes look very similar.
That said, Lansing Catholic does have the better signature win of the two: they beat Portland 31-29 in Week 6. Balancing this out is the fact that Lansing Catholic has the only loss between the two, losing to undefeated Pewamo-Westphalia in Week 9.
So I’m not sure there’s much to gleam from comparing resumes here. The same is true from a points per game perspective: both score roughly 5 times a game, with Millington averaging slightly more points (37.7 vs 34.9).
The one standout is LCC’s defense: they give up nearly twice as many points per game as Millington.
This is why I am going with the Cardinals.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Millington
Mlive Preview of the Game (includes others as well)
Monroe SMCC (#2) at Jackson Lumen Christi (#1)
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 50 (SMCC) vs 47 (LC)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 1.7 (SMCC) vs. 2.0 (LC)
Offensive Production: 28.6 (SMCC) vs. 34.0 (LC)
Defensive Production: 12.0 (SMCC) vs. 13.1 (LC)
Last Meeting: 2020 District Final. Lumen Christi won, 22-6
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: Lumen Christi over Hastings, 33-22
Worst Loss: Harper Creek over Lumen Christi, 33-13
This is the State’s first top two matchup of the year - technically speaking, this should be the Division 7 State Title game.
But, fortunate for us this week, it’s not - we will witness this one tonight at 7PM. Lumen Christi comes in having beaten SMCC out last year on their road to a District title; SMCC last made a deep run in 2019 when they won the Division 6 State Title.
So you know both programs here ‘got it’ from a tradition perspective. As for their resumes this year, both have just one loss: SMCC’s was slightly better, as they lost to an undefeated Riverview team; Lumen Christi’s loss is to a 6-3 Harper Creek.
That said, the best win of the two belongs to Lumen Christi: they handed Hastings their only loss of the season in Week 5, prevailing 33-22.
Pair this with Lumen Christi’s comparative offensive production, and you might argue their ceiling is higher than SMCC’s: Lumen Christi averages nearly a touchdown more per game than SMCC.
So, it really depends on which version of Lumen Christi shows up: are you getting the team that beat Hastings, or the team that lost to Harper Creek?
We will find out this evening, but I’m going with the home team.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Jackson Lumen Christi
Mlive Wrap-Up from last year’s game
Addison (#3) at Hudson (#1)
Strength of Schedule (Opponent Wins): 49 (A) vs 47 (H)
Strength of Schedule (Avg Opponent Point Differential): 6.3 (A) vs -0.3 (H)
Offensive Production: 41.6 (A) vs. 35.8 (H)
Defensive Production: 17.1 (A) vs. 6.2 (H)
Last Meeting: Week 1, 2016. Hudson won, 26-8.
Common Opponents: None
Best Win: Addison over Michigan Center, 36-35
Worst Loss: Jonesville over Addison, 20-14
Another battle of historical rivals goes down tonight in Lenawee County as #3 Addison travels south on US 127 to play Hudson.
This is now the third week in a row this newsletter is covering Addison- they’ve been through the ringer the last few weeks, playing undefeated Jonesville in Week 9, returning State Champion Centreville in Week 10, and now the top overall seed for their Division in Week 11.
Suffice to say, the Panthers are proven. And their strength of schedule shows that, even when comparing to an undefeated team like Hudson: Addison is better in both SOS categories.
You would also say that Addison has the better ‘signature’ win: they knocked off otherwise undefeated Michigan Center in Week 4. Hudson has a handful of wins on a similar level to this (Ida, Clinton), but none have only 1 loss.
The lone blemish on Addison’s record from a comparative standpoint is their defense. Whereas Hudson only averages 6 points allowed per game, Addison is allowing 3 scores (17.1).
I don’t think the defense alone is enough to do Addison in: I’m picking them in a close one with lots of scoring.
Mother Goose’s Pick: Addison
LenConnect’s discussion on Hudson’s Coaching Staff (might be paywalled)
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