The 2015 high school football season kicks off tonight with dozens of games throughout the state.
The marquee matchup has two-time Division 1 state champion Clarkston hosting Macomb County power Dakota at 7 p.m.
Missing, however, is Clarkston running back Nolan Eriksen, one of several key players out with injuries, along with Southfield running back Matt Falcon (Michigan), Warren De La Salle linebacker Eric Rogers (Western Michigan) and Milan running back Trace Lindeman.
The loss of Eriksen, who rushed for 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns, is significant; he is one of four starters returning for Clarkston. Clarkston also must replace quarterback D.J. Zezula.
Clarkston, which hosts tonight game at 7 p.m., enters with the state’s longest winning streak at 27 games. It hasn’t lost since the 2013 opener to Rochester Adams.
Coach Kurt Richardson, however, knows what his team must do to win.
“We have to stop the run,” he said. “They have two good running backs (Kiser Carleton and Sonny Cooper) and we have to find a way to stop them.”
Pick: Dakota by 8
Other top games
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
Detroit East English at Walled Lake Central, Thursday: East English has an outstanding offensive line in front of QB Delvin Washington (6-foot-3, 230 pounds). Still, DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji (Notre Dame) will try to make Washington’s debut a miserable one. East English by 1
West Bloomfield at Dearborn, Thursday: West Bloomfield dual-threat QB Trishton Jackson (Michigan State) started to make a name for himself in last year’s opener against Dearborn (353 yards offense). Dearborn bounced back, winning six of its final seven games behind QB Mike Phillips. West Bloomfield by 7
Canton vs. Dearborn Fordson, Friday at Wayne State: Canton’s powerful running game showcases 2,000-yard runner Marcus Sanders. Fordson counters with an outstanding defense. Canton by 6
Muskegon at Detroit Catholic Central, Friday: Catholic Central will attempt to bounce back from a rare bad season (4-5). Muskegon has advanced to the state championship game the last three years. Catholic Central by 2
Detroit King vs. Warren De La Salle, 2 p.m. Saturday at Wayne State: Defending state champion De La Salle has a strong running game, led by Allen Stritzinger (1,356 yards, 20 TDs), but King has a big-time running game with the transfer of Martell Pettaway (West Virginia) along with dual-threat QB Donnie Corley. King by 4
Detroit Cass Tech vs. Southfield, 5 p.m. Saturday at Wayne State: With RB Matt Falcon out, Cass Tech can put more pressure on Southfield freshman QB Samuel Johnson III. Cass Tech is strong up front and has an outstanding secondary, led by Demetric Vance (Michigan State), Donovan Johnson and Jaylen Kelly-Powell. Cass Tech by 10