October 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Tom Markowski

Tom Markowski's football picks: Shrine vs. Lakes showdown is Sunday

Royal Oak -- One of the top small-school rivalries enters another chapter on Sunday when Royal Oak Shrine hosts Waterford Lakes in a Catholic League Intersectional matchup at 2 p.m.

For the past 20 years, Shrine coach John Goddard has matched wits with his long-time friend Mike Boyd at Lakes. Boyd resigned last summer after 47 seasons. One of his former players, Josh Sawicki, is now the head coach.

"(The rivalry) is still big for the school and the kids," Goddard said.

Detroit Loyola was the dominant team in the division last season but it was moved up to the AA Division this season. Goddard said the move created more balance within the division.

Shrine (5-0) and Lakes (3-2) are tied for first place at 2-0 with three division games remaining.

Lakes won last season, 24-21, and the teams have split their last eight meetings.

Though Shrine has just five seniors, many of its underclassmen gained experience last season as sophomores. Junior Tim Niehaus started at receiver and defensive back last season, and has stepped in nicely at quarterback. He's accounted for nine touchdowns.

At 5-9 and 200 pounds, junior fullback Chris Kelly is a strong and punishing runner. Goddard said Kelly often looks to run over a defender rather than around. Kelly is primarily used as a blocking back when Shrine uses its I-back formation and he's often the featured back when in a spread formation.

Pick: Lakes by 2.

Other games

All games listed here are Friday at 7 p.m.

Birmingham Brother Rice (5-0) at Orchard Lake St. Mary's (3-2): St. Mary's has never lost to Brother Rice at home. St. Mary's needs to establish its running attack to keep Brother Rice's offense off the field. Pick: Brother Rice by 6.

Lincoln Park (0-5) at Taylor Kennedy (0-5): Kennedy held on to defeat Lincoln Park 7-3 for its only victory last season. This promises to be another close game. Pick: Lincoln Park by 2.

Clawson (3-2) at St. Clair Shores South Lake (3-2): The winner has an excellent chance at making the playoffs. A loss to South Lake last season kept Clawson out of the playoffs. Pick: Clawson by 4.

Waterford Kettering (3-2) at Walled Lake Northern (3-2): Northern's defense played better last week (41-10 over Walled Lake Central) after having surrendered 144 points the previous three games. Pick: Northern by 7.

St. Clair (5-0) at Marysville (4-1): St. Clair's closest game has been a 57-24 victory over Sterling Heights. Pick: St. Clair by 16.

Taylor Truman (5-0) at Allen Park (3-2): Truman whipped Allen Park 38-0 during the regular season last season then eliminated Allen Park in the first round of the playoffs, 29-7. Pick: Truman by 10.

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (5-0) at Milan (5-0): Milan got the best of SMCC last season, 35-20, after losing the previous four in this series. Pick: Milan by 3.

Lake Orion (4-1) at Rochester (3-2): Rochester has lost 13 straight to Lake Orion and many have not been close. Lake Orion won 42-7 last season but its 36-7 lost to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek two weeks ago gives hope to other teams in the OAA Red Division. Pick: Lake Orion by 10.

Warren DeLaSalle (3-2) at Dearborn Fordson (4-1): DeLaSalle defeated Fordson each of the last two seasons, including 40-19 last year. The winner has an excellent shot at making the state playoffs. Pick: DeLaSalle by 6.

tom.markowski@detroitnews.com

More Tom Markowski