The Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red Division title is on the line when No. 1 Belleville plays at Dearborn Fordson Friday night in a showdown between unbeaten teams.
Fordson coach Walker Zaban knows his team has to play its best to compete with a Belleville team which has outscored its opponents by a 228-6 margin during its last four games, coming off an impressive 58-0 rout of Dearborn.
“It will be important to shut down the big play because they are a big-play team, really they make big plays on offense, defense and special teams,” Zaban said. “They are very tough, very skilled and very talented everywhere on the field. We’ll have our hands full, but I can guarantee you that our kids will play hard.”
Junior Hussein Ajami, a pro-style quarterback, has played well for Fordson — which has averaged 40 points during the last four games — with help from Ahmed Sabbagh, who leads the running game.
Belleville coach Jermain Crowell, now in his third season as head coach, stressed the importance of playing physical to get ready for the postseason. Its last playoff victory came in 2002.
Belleville’s players have taken Crowell’s words to heart the last several games. Fordson’s offense will be facing Belleville’s talented secondary consisting of Michigan State-bound Davion Williams, four-star junior Julian Barnett, Kmare Carey (Western Michigan) Patrick Lupro and sophomore Andre Seldon.
“This will be a big measuring stick just because of the talent they have and how well they’re playing,” Zaban said.
Fordson earned a 34-25 victory at Belleville last season.
Pick: Belleville by 10
Dearborn Divine Child (5-0) vs. Warren De La Salle (4-1) at Wayne State, 7 Friday: De La Salle is playing like the top team in the Catholic League’s Central Division, entering the game on a four-game winning streak while outscoring its opponents by a 151-28 margin, including a 31-0 win over a 4-1 Grandville team in Week 2 and a 26-7 victory over three-time defending Division 3 champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last weekend. De La Salle will be tested by MSU-bound quarterback Theo Day on one side of the ball and by Michigan-bound defensive end Aidan Hutchinson on the other. Pick: De La Salle by 4.
Canton (4-1) at Livonia Stevenson (4-1), 7 Friday: Stevenson will try to bounce back from a 30-10 loss to Brighton to stay in the hunt for the Kensington Lakes Black Division title. If Stevenson plans to avoid a two-game slide, its defense must play well against Canton’s strong running game, which has averaged 425 yards rushing during a four-game winning streak, averaging 50 points. Pick: Canton by 6.
Birmingham Brother Rice (2-3) at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (1-4), 7 Friday: Three-time defending Division 3 champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s is now in must-win mode for the rest of the season if it has any hopes of making the playoffs. St. Mary’s entered postseason play with a 5-4 record last season, then went on to win the championship. St. Mary’s has won each of the last two meetings, 21-0 last year and 37-0 in 2015. Pick: St. Mary’s by 3.