2016 record in parenthesis; listed by predicted order of finish.
WARREN MICHIGAN COLLEGIATE (9-2, 5-0)
Collegiate is on a run of eight consecutive trips to the postseason, and last season it got over the hump by dethroning Harper Woods Chandler Park, which had won seven of the last eight league championships. With 14 seniors and the majority of starters coming back on both sides of the ball, head coach John Guth expects his team to make a big run this season after bowing out in a Division 6 district final with a 26-22 loss to Detroit Central Collegiate last year. Senior quarterback Tracy Hubbard will be the straw that stirs the drink. Though Hubbard (5-foot-7, 160 pounds) is undersized, Guth said he’s the toughest kid he’s ever coached.
SOUTHFIELD BRADFORD (8-3, 3-2)
Could this be the year coach Ki’erre Gaut’s team reaches the top of the league? Coming off a state playoff win in 2016, Bradford returns a bevy of starters, particularly on the defensive side of the ball where 10 are due back this fall. Senior defensive ends Da’Jon Wofford (13 sacks) and Nathaniel Conner (nine sacks, 22 tackles for loss) are going to be a handful for opponents. Wofford also reeled in 10 touchdowns as a tight end. Bradford will have to find a way to get past defending champ Michigan Collegiate, which is 7-0 all-time against its league rival.
HARPER WOODS CHANDLER PARK (6-4, 4-1)
The numbers are down this year at Chandler Park, where head coach John Jergovich won’t be fielding a junior-varsity team for the first time in the program’s 10-year history. He’ll make do with 28 varsity players, including 14 starters coming back on both sides of the ball. Junior quarterback Marquez Steele is back after breaking his foot in Week 3 last year. He’ll be splitting time with fellow junior Emari O’Brien, a dual-threat quarterback who stepped in and led Chandler Park back to the state playoffs in 2016. Steele is more of a pocket presence, and his 6-4 frame will see some time at receiver when O’Brien lines up under center. Chandler Park has made the state playoffs the past eight seasons.
DETROIT OLD REDFORD (2-7, 1-4)
Willie Alexander takes over at Old Redford and will immediately begin looking for some offense. Old Redford was shut out three times in 2016 and held to six points or less five times.
ROMULUS SUMMIT (0-9, 0-5)
Al Demps is back for his second season at Summit after the program went winless for a second consecutive season. Finding playmakers on both sides of the ball will be critical for Demps as Summit was outscored a whopping 417-40 in 2016.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.