It’s time for the stretch drive for the high school football season, the final three games of the regular season where some teams are trying to get in position to win league championships while others are attempting to get enough wins — six — to guarantee a spot in the state playoffs.
South Lyon (6-0, 5-0) and South Lyon East (4-2, 4-1) are having surprising seasons to stay in the hunt for the Lakes Valley Conference title.
South Lyon was 1-8 a year ago after making the playoffs three of the previous four seasons.
South Lyon East was 4-5 a year ago, significant improvement from the previous four years, where it was a combined 3-33.
South Lyon East has been winning with defense, owning a pair of shutouts and earning a 37-6 win over Waterford Mott on Friday. The victory avenged a 47-0 loss from a year ago, after failing to protect a 17-0 halftime lead in a 24-17 overtime loss to White Lake Lakeland on Sept. 21.
It was Lakeland (4-2, 4-2) which pulled off a 28-7 upset win over Walled Lake Western (4-2, 4-1) Friday to make sure multiple teams will be fighting it out for the title in the weeks ahead.
South Lyon East plays at Walled Lake Western on Friday and faces South Lyon in Week 9.
South Lyon East’s defense is playing well, limiting opponents to less than 10 points a game.
On Friday, South Lyon East forced five turnovers, including a pick-6 by Drew Ranson and another by Chris Kaminski that was called back, but still gave East great field position.
“It was 22-0 at halftime, and defensively we forced five turnovers,” said South Lyon East head coach Joe Pesci, quarterback on Farmington Hills Harrison’s 1993 state championship team and a former assistant under the legendary John Herrington. “Drew Ranson had a pick-6, Nick Helfrick had two fumble recoveries and Sean Clary and Chris Kaminski each had interceptions.
“Yes, the defense stepped up and played huge, and offensively we did a nice job of mixing up the run and the pass.”
Kaminski threw two first-half touchdown passes to Brendan DeWitt.
Pesci is looking forward to seeing how East matches up with Walled Lake Western, which shared the league title with Mott last season.
“We caught wind that Lakeland beat Western, so it just kind of shows that any week anybody can play with anybody and beat them,” Pesci said. “We know it will be a tough challenge with all the weapons they have on offense. We have to come out focused with the mindset of win one more.
“The players were extremely focused not to have a letdown like we did last week .... We preach playing 48 minutes, but didn’t have the ball much in the second half (against Lakeland). We learned from last week and we were kind of in the same situation (22-0), and we played the second half similar to how we played the first half.”
Kaminski will miss the next two games due to a shoulder injury. Sophomore Ayden Oliver, also a starting linebacker, will fill in at quarterback.
“He has a strong arm, is a good runner with great football instincts,” Pesci said. “I’m excited for him. He’s the future for us so he’ll cut his teeth this week.”
Detroit Community earns first playoff spot
Detroit Community head coach Del Humphrey had reason to be proud of his team following its 30-8 win over Detroit University Science & Math on Thursday night to push its record to 6-0, guaranteeing its first state playoff appearance in the program’s eight-year history.
In fact, this is Community’s first winning season, going a combined 7-20 the previous three years.
“Rayvon Williamson and Kejuan Sanders had great games for us,”Humphrey said. “Ray had three interceptions with two pick-6s. He also threw three TD passes, two to Kejuan and one to Daron Davis.
“Ray’s a leader and the kids follow his lead. He comes from a family of athletes, coached two of his older brothers before him. He has 22 total TDs this season and has picked off six passes. He hasn’t had any offers yet, but I’m receiving calls now on him.”
Williamson has developed into a solid dual-threat quarterback, rushing for 895 yards and nine TDs and throwing for 700 yards and nine TDs, also returning two interceptions for scores and returning a punt and a kickoff for TDs as well.
Sanders has rushed for 740 yards and five TDs. Davis has 400 receiving yards and five TDs.
“Daron Davis is the sleeper,” Humphrey said. “Last year he led our team in receiving yardage and TDs, and has the best hands I’ve seen since Dominique Douglass, who played for Murray Wright years ago. He makes great adjustments on his routes. He’s definitely a deep ball threat.”
Community will host Hamtramck on Friday for homecoming.
Rochester Adams, Utica Eisenhower need wins
Utica Eisenhower and Rochester Adams are 3-3 teams that will be trying to keep state playoff streaks alive.
Eisenhower, which has advanced to the postseason the last four years and 18 of the last 19 years, played in the Division 1 state semifinals two years ago and advanced to the regional title game last season.
Eisenhower has won two straight and has games remaining against New Baltimore Anchor Bay (2-4) this Friday, then No. 15 Macomb Dakota (5-1) and Utica Ford (2-4) in Week 9.
Adams, which has competed in postseason play the last two years, rounds out the regular season against No. 13 Farmington Hills Harrison (5-1) Friday, then Southfield A&T (2-4) and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (1-5).
Adams has been competitive, losing to No. 9 West Bloomfield 24-20 Friday.
Big games ahead for De La Salle
Defending Division 2 state champion No. 10 Warren De La Salle has a Catholic League Central Division showdown with No. 12 Detroit Catholic Central Oct. 12, but first must play at unbeaten No. 18 Davison on Friday.
De La Salle (5-1) has won five straight since a season-opening loss to No. 4 Muskegon.
“We are looking for that magic No 6 to try and get back to the playoffs,” De La Salle coach Mike Giannone said. “This week will be a good test against a really good Davison team.
“Nolan Schultz has taken over at quarterback for us and done a great job. Josh DeBerry is playing well as a receiver and cover corner. Chris Cominos is manning the O-line, and Jacob Dobbs is playing great at linebacker, Braden Babich at safety and Michael Young Jr. at end.”