Goricki’s prep picks: Crunch time for playoff hopefuls
It’s all or nothing this week in high school football.
Multiple leagues have championship games, while other schools need victories — or some help — to have their name called during the Michigan High School Athletic Association pairings show Sunday.
And four schools get their first of Ford Field, site of the state finals, in league title games — No. 1 Detroit Cass Tech plays No. 5 Detroit King for the Public School league title Friday night, and No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central takes on Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Catholic League title game Saturday night.
St. Mary’s lost to Catholic Central in Week 7, and another loss would drop it to 5-4 and put it in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.
Teams with six wins qualify automatically, while 5-4 teams are added to make up the field in each of the eight divisions.
West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy believes a “record number of 5-4 teams will make the field,” hoping his team is one with a victory over Farmington on Friday.
And, legendary coach John Herrington calls his Farmington Hills Harrison’s Oakland Athletic Association crossover at Oxford a “play-in” game — both teams are 4-4.
And then there’s Detroit East English, which is 4-4 and hosts Douglass Thursday. East English has reached the playoffs every year since 2000.
All games 7 p.m. Friday unless noted
Cass Tech (8-0) vs. King (7-1) at Ford Field: Cass Tech will try to avenge a 27-25 loss to King in last year’s PSL title game. Cass Tech five-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and King four-star CB Ambry Thomas are among nearly 24 future Division 1 in the game. Cass Tech beat King in Week 6. Cass Tech by 6
Oak Park (6-2) at Southfield A&T (5-3), Friday, 5:30 p.m.: Southfield A&T earned a share of the OAA Red title, but could be in trouble with a loss. A&T might be without QB Sam Johnson (injury) and put the game in the hands of John Darby (225 yards, four TDs vs. Oxford). Oak Park showcases a mammoth offensive line behind Michigan-bound T JaRaymond Hall and G Marquan McCall. Oak Park by 8
L’Anse Creuse North (6-2) at Macomb Dakota (5-3): Dakota had its string of MAC Red titles end at four, but wants to keep its 15-year run of postseason appearances alive with a victory. Senior RB Kaiser Carleton is healthy after suffering a knee injury early. He has 460 yards the last four games. L’Anse Creuse North has lost 11 straight in the series. Dakota by 10
Farmington Hills Harrison (4-4) at Oxford (4-4): Harrison, coming off a forfeit last week, puts its run of seven straight playoff appearances on the line. “If we win we’d be 5-4 and maybe that would get us in,” legenday coach John Herrington said. Oxford opened with a victory over Romeo and won three straight before a loss to Southfield A&T last week. Harrison by 2
Livonia Franklin (6-2) at Novi (4-4): Novi showed how much damage a 5-4 team can do in the playoffs last season, upsetting unbeaten West Bloomfield before losing to Detroit C.C. in the district final. A victory for Livonia Franklin would assure them, a home playoff game. Franklin by 4
Farmington (2-6) at West Bloomfield (4-4): West Bloomfield defeated Birmingham Groves in overtime in Week 1, but forfeited for using an ineligible player. That loss could cost West Bloomfield a playoff spot. If it gets in, West Bloomfield could do some damage behind QB Bryce Veasley (2,059 yards, 20 TDs) and Garrett Winn (55 receptions, 700 yards, seven TDs). West Bloomfield by 14