Tony Poljan, Tony Palmer and Lansing Catholic are trying to return to Ford Field for a second straight season.
That road back to the state championship game on Thanksgiving weekend could involve avenging their lone loss of the season.
The pairings for the high school football playoffs were revealed Sunday night and there’s the potential for a rematch between CAAC White rivals Portland and Division 5 No. 5-ranked Lansing Catholic.
Portland, which is ranked No. 2 in Division 5, posted a 28-6 win in that matchup and wrapped up an unbeaten regular season with a victory over Division 3 No. 8-ranked Marshall on Friday.
Lansing Catholic has built momentum since its Week 4 loss to Portland and allowed just 22 points the final five weeks of the regular season. And the Cougars enter the playoffs coming off a 35-10 win over reigning Division 6 state champion Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Lansing Catholic and Portland are among 21 teams from mid-Michigan that will be starting the journey toward Ford Field this weekend.
Both will be trying to get past area teams to set up a rematch of their earlier meeting. Portland will have to get past Stockbridge’s high-powered offense led by record-setting quarterback Mason Gee-Montgomery, while Lansing Catholic will have to get by Ovid-Elsie.
Division 6 top-ranked Ithaca is also trying to get back to Ford Field and begins its journey against Carson City-Crystal.
Division 4 No. 7-ranked Lakewood is in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, while other teams in the postseason after missing out last year are Corunna, Haslett, Laingsburg and Alma.
Corunna, which is ranked No. 4 in Division 4, is in the playoffs for the second time in three years after an eight-year drought.
“Everybody has such a special bond together, everybody gets along and treats each other really well,” first-year Corunna coach Kyle Robinson said, who guided the Cavaliers to a six-win improvement this fall. “There’s no groups and we’re all just one big family. It’s a lot of character things and a lot of things outside the football field that have made us have this kind of season.”
The opening-round of the playoffs will feature a few rematches with an all-CAAC Red Division 3 district. CAAC Red champion and Division 3 No. 10-ranked DeWitt will host rival Haslett, while St. Johns will face Mason.
Corunna, which won its first league title since 2002, will face GAC rival Lake Fenton for a second time. Portland St. Patrick will face Battle Creek St. Philip in a rematch of a Week 8 contest in an 8-man division opener.
A total of 216 teams across the state met the win requirement to automatically qualify for the postseason. No 5-4 team from mid-Michigan made the playoff field.
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
Howell at Grand Ledge
Haslett at DeWitt
Mason at St. Johns
Alma at Ada Hills Eastern
Hudsonville Unity Christian at Lakewood
Lake Fenton at Corunna
Stockbridge at Portland
Ovid-Elsie at Lansing Catholic
Olivet at Berrien Springs
Vassar at Ithaca
Laingsburg at Burton Bendle
Carson City-Crystal at Pewamo-Westphalia
Concord at Dansville
Fowler at Merrill
Portland St. Patrick at Battle Creek St. Philip
New Haven Merritt Academy at Morrice