The MAC Gold title race is, as many expected before the season, a brain-busting puzzle.
With two games left in the MAC Gold season, four of the conference’s six teams can still win at least a share of the title. Conveniently enough, those four teams are playing in two games on Friday that will shape the title chase.
The game that would open the window the widest is Sterling Heights (5-1 overall, 3-0 MAC Gold) at Marysville (4-2, 2-1).
If the Stallions win, they lock up a title share and can win it outright with a home win against Port Huron Northern (4-2, 2-1) the following week. That’s the easiest scenario to crack.
If the Vikings win, Pandora’s football box is busted open.
If Marysville tops Sterling Heights that will cause a three-way tie for first place as Marine City (3-3, 2-1) faces Northern on Friday. A Vikings win would mean Marysville, Sterling Heights and the winner of the Mariners/Huskies game all have a 3-1 record.
The winner of the Marine City/Northern game still has a chance to claim at least a title share the following week. To close the MAC Gold season, the Mariners will host Warren Woods-Tower and the Huskies will travel to Sterling Heights.
It’s cliché, but it’s nearly anyone’s race.
Marysville vs. Sterling Heights
One of the biggest turnarounds in the whole state is going on in Sterling Heights. Last year the Stallions 1-8 after the regular season. This year, they’ve earned enough respect to be ranked No. 10 in Division 2 in the latest AP Poll.
“Rumor had it they were going to be pretty good and they were going to be a sleeper,” Marysville head coach Mark Caza said. “You had an idea they’d be pretty good.”
Caza and a few Vikings players got to see firsthand just how good and fast the Stallions are last week against Marine City since Marysville played on Saturday. The Stallions topped the Mariners 25-19, using their outside speed to beat Marine City for the first time in program history.
“They’re a lot faster than they were (last year),” Marysville junior quarterback Phill Griffor said. “Their defensive backs really fly around to the ball too.”
Marine City travels
to Memorial Stadium
Port Huron Northern will be looking for its first five-game win streak since 1998, but it will have to come with its first-ever win against Marine City.
“I knew the potential of this team beforehand, they just had to believe it in themselves,” Northern’s first-year head coach Larry Roelens said of his Huskies.
As much as Northern is trying to reach history on its home field, Marine City is trying to avoid it. After back-to-back losses, this is the first time Marine City has had three regular season losses since 1997. If Northern trips them up on Friday, it will be the first time they’ve been dealt three straight losses since 1980.
That just speaks to how powerful of a program Marine City has.
As far as keys to the games, it will come down to the trenches and who can contain the other’s run game better.
“(We need to) control the line of scrimmage,” Roelens said. “It’s definitely going to be a fun night for Marine City and us.”
St. Clair welcomes in
The Saints and Titans will both be searching for their first MAC Gold win at East China Stadium.
St. Clair has won the last three matchups, including last year’s 25-21 victory. Tower has had a tough season so far, scoring more than one touchdown in just two of their six games.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or [email protected] He’s on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.