These are the five best opening-round games in the football playoffs. (Dates, times announced Monday.)
■Clarkston at Romeo: Romeo has played tremendous defense all season and will have to continue to if it hopes to eliminate the two-time defending state champ. The Wolves have won six straight now that Nolan Eriksen is carrying the ball and Alex Kessman is throwing it.
■Farmington Hills Harrison at Birmingham Groves: Last week Harrison, the OAA White champ, lost a close game to OAA Red champ West Bloomfield. Harrison now takes on Groves, the OAA Blue champ, and the stakes are much higher. This could be Groves’ best team in decades and Harrison will have to be able to stop the run.
■Muskegon at Traverse City Central: This is an old Lake Michigan Conference game back when the legendary Jim Ooley was calling the shots at Traverse City, which had only one public school at the time. Traverse City has a 27-17 edge over the Big Reds, but this will be quite test for Central.
■Marine City at Almont: The Raiders stunned Marine City in last year’s district final, 35-7. That was a glimpse of how good Almont was, and the Raiders rode that victory all the way to the state semifinals. The Mariners have looked domineering in their last three games.
■Mendon at Climax-Scotts: Climax-Scotts is ranked No. 1 Division 8, but how would you like to face an 11-time state champ in the opening round? Granted, Mendon (5-4) has struggled this season, but this is the Hornets’ 15th playoff appearance in the last 16 years.
Michigan high school football playoff matchups!