For most teams in the Blue Water Area, Week 8 is the last week of conference play.
In four out of the six leagues area teams compete in, it’s also the week that will decide who walks away as conference champion.
Titles still can be decided – whether outright or shared – in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division, Blue Water Area Conference, Greater Thumb Conference East Division and North Central Thumb League.
As outrageous as it may sound, four teams are still in the hunt for the MAC Gold title.
For three teams, it’s simple – if they win on Friday, they win at least a share of the league title.
Marine City, Sterling Heights and Marysville all share a 3-1 conference record, but neither of them face each other. If all three win their home games on Friday, they all get to throw a joint parade and celebrate a three-way tie for the conference crown.
Of course, this means there are three teams that will try to play spoiler. Marine City will host Warren Woods-Tower (0-4 MAC Gold, 1-6 overall). Marysville will welcome St. Clair (1-3, 3-4) to Vikings Country. Sterling Heights will greet Port Huron Northern (2-2, 4-3).
Northern is that fourth team that can still win a share of the title, but they’ll need plenty of help. Step one for the Huskies is to beat Sterling Heights. If they top the Stallions and Marysville and Marine City also fall, it will be a four-way tie as they will all have 3-2 conference records.
Basically, it’s going to be a wild night.
The games also hold state playoff implications as Marysville and Sterling Heights can lock up a postseason spot with a win. Northern and Marine City need to win their last two games to guarantee a playoff berth, so essentially their playoff mentality is already there.
One team enters Friday night’s action with a chance to walk away as the lone BWAC champion: Algonac. Raise your hand if you’re not from Algonac and predicted that before the season.
The Muskrats are the league’s only unbeaten team, as they are 6-0 in league play (7-0 overall), and have a one-game lead on Richmond and Almont.
So the easy ending here is Algonac wins in Week 8, and walks away outright BWAC champion. But Richmond would rather it doesn’t go the easy way, because the Blue Devils are the team standing between the Muskrats and BWAC perfection. A Richmond win – at home, mind you – makes for a shared league title, at least between Algonac and Richmond.
Almont can also get in on a shared title with a win against Croswell-Lexington. The Pioneers will be at home, however, and are one win away from wrapping up a playoff berth themselves.
Sandusky has been the dominant team in the league this season, and a win Friday night against Memphis would wrap up an outright league championship.
And let’s be realistic, a Memphis win would be one of the biggest upset in the state this year. Sandusky is 7-0 (4-0 in the GTC East), has won 12 straight regular season games, and has won all four of its league games by at least four touchdowns. Memphis is 0-4 in the league and 1-6 overall, and has scored 24 points total in four league games.
If the Yellowjackets were to pull it off, Ubly could still get in on the league title, as the Bearcats are 3-1 in league play, and will square off with Brown City.
This is the one title of the four that could actually stretch into Week 9, but the biggest NCTL game of the year will be played Friday night in Peck.
The Pirates, who have won the last two NCTL titles, will play host to Deckerville in a game between the only teams remaining without a league loss.
Both teams enter the game with 6-1 overall records, as both teams have suffered a loss out of conference against Morrice. Both have also dominated league competition, as Peck is winning NCTL games by an average of 29.5 points per game, and Deckerville is winning by an average of 39.3.
One big difference, however, is that Peck is 4-0 in the league, and can win the title outright Friday. Deckerville, meanwhile, is 3-0 and can only clinch a share this week. If the Eagles win, they can clinch the title outright in Week 9 against Dryden.