Football was fun the last nine weeks, but now it’s about to get really fun.
This area will be blessed with six playoff games on Friday night, and odds are a few games will be more exciting than the others. Now I like all of you readers, so I want to try to make life easy for you by sorting out these games.
This list wasn’t easy to make at all, but here’s how I would rank this Friday’s playoff games.
6. Peck (7-2) at Deckerville (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Two of the last three 8-man state champions are kicking off playoffs against each other, but Deckerville is clearly the stronger team. The Eagles faced the Pirates in week eight, handing them a 50-6 loss and exploded for 430 yards of offense. The Eagles defense was also unfriendly, giving up just 67 yards in the first meeting.
5. Clintondale (5-4) at Algonac (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday
I have a hard time ranking this as the fifth-best area game, believe me. The energy at The Swamp will be like someone shook up a bottle of Coke for 10 years and it will all explode on Friday. You Algonac fans are nuts (in a good way), and Friday’s atmosphere will be incredible.
As for the game, I think the Muskrats will get the victory without much drama in the fourth quarter. The defense is mean, the offense has too many weapons and, again, it might be the best home field advantage in the area.
4. Unionville-Sebewaing (5-4) at Sandusky (9-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Sandusky’s closest win in their perfect season came against the Patriots, winning 28-22 in week one. Then again, it was week one – that feels like seven months ago.
I’m excited to see if USA has grown this season at a rate as quick as Sandusky, who just throttled Capac 56-0 to end the season. It looks like the Redskins are playing their best football at the right time, but we’ll find out if the Patriots have the secret formula for taking them down.
3. Marysville (7-2) at Notre Dame Prep (7-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Notre Dame Prep is a good team (duh, they’re in the playoffs), and they know how to win them close. Of their seven wins, the Fighting Irish have won three of them by seven points or less. Their only two losses are to Detroit Loyola, losing to the reigning Division 7 state champs twice.
Then again, everyone in Marysville knows how hot the Vikings are playing. They’ve won six straight games, all by at least 25 points. Stopping Ryan Ellul and Dante Chrcek is like trying to stop a boulder rolling downhill. They don’t pass often, but the surprise timing of when they throw has been nearly perfect.
If you’re a Vikings fan, make that trip to Pontiac for a great game.
2. Marine City (6-3) at Almont (7-2), 7 p.m. Friday
You know what happened last year – the unbeaten Raiders topped the unbeaten Mariners at East China Stadium in the district final. This rematch deserves all the hype surrounding it.
I just hope whoever is working the scoreboard is ready for a busy night. The Mariners have scored at least 40 points in seven of their nine games. The Raiders are averaging 37 points per game as well. There is roughly a 50-50 chance that the scoreboard operator will get carpal tunnel syndrome on Friday.
1. Croswell-Lexington (6-3) at Richmond (8-1), 7 p.m. Friday
It’s tough to beat the BWAC when it comes to making a big game feel like a scene out of “Friday Night Lights.” The fans are passionate, the energy is unrivaled in the area and the quality of football is simply fun to watch.
Yes, Richmond did win the first meeting with a convincing 35-12 victory, but the Pioneers just have too many good players for me to sit here and say it will be another blowout. Not to mention, Cros-Lex just stunned Almont in week eight to prove to themselves and the area they’re one of the area’s elite teams.
This game will be … just wow. I can’t even put words together. Can Friday just get here already?