Detroit Catholic Central will be facing No. 10 Warren De La Salle on Friday night at Wayne State’s Adams Field in the Catholic League Central Division showdown for first place, with the winner clinching a spot in the state playoffs.
The teams — both 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Central Division — will have a rematch Oct. 21 in the Catholic League championship game at Ford Field.
“I feel up front for us will be the key because I think their strength is their offensive and defensive line,” first-year Catholic Central head coach Dan Anderson said. “Offensively, it will be important for us to stick and stay on blocks, really finishing blocks and defensively getting off blocks.
“And we have to tackle well because they have good backs.”
Senior Isaac Darkangelo leads Catholic Central’s defense from his linebacker spot, while running back Cam Ryan (921 yards rushing, 151 carries, nine TDs) and junior quarterback Marco Genrich (894 yards passing, seven TDs) lead the offense.
“Isaac Darkangelo has done a great job for us,” Anderson said. “He was out the first four games with a broken thumb, but since he’s come back he’s taken back that leadership role of the defense.
“He’s one of those kids that plays sideline-to-sideline and makes every tackle.”
Ryan rushed for 200 yards and three TDs in last week’s 20-3 victory over three-time defending Division 3 state champion Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, eliminating St. Mary’s from a state playoff opportunity.
Catholic Central defeated De La Salle the last two years, 21-14 in 2015 and 17-7 last season — the latter when it advanced to the Division 1 state championship game in Tom Mach’s final year as head coach, before falling to Detroit Cass Tech.
Pick: De LaSalle by 4.
Detroit Cass Tech (5-1) vs. Detroit King (6-1), 3 p.m. Saturday at Detroit Northwestern: The teams have played each other in the PSL championship game the previous four years with Cass Tech coming out on top in 2013, ’14 and again last year. This time, the teams will play in a PSL semifinal with the winner off to the Oct. 20 title game at Ford Field.
Cass Tech is ranked No. 4 in The News Super 20 poll and King is ranked No. 5.
Cass Tech is the defending Division 1 state champion, while King won the Division 2 state title the last two years.
“It’s always a special game,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “There’s a lot of excitement. The kids will be ready to go. There’s going to be a lot of hard hitting. We have to win out if we expect to stay at Cass for the rest of the year (host district and regional games).”
Cass Tech’s secondary will be tested by King’s passing game, led by quarterback Dequan Finn and receivers Jaeveyon Morton (Iowa State), Eric Gibson (Minnesota) and sophomore Ra’Shawn Williams who has an offer from Ohio State.
Pick: King by 2 in OT
Wyandotte (7-0) at Gibraltar Carlson (7-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Carlson and Wyandotte will play for the Downriver League title in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Carlson already has clinched its first state playoff appearance since 2009 and now is in search of its first Downriver League championship behind the strong play of Wisconsin-bound Jaylan Franklin.
Look for Carlson to end a seven-game slide in the series.
Pick: Carlson by 6.
West Bloomfield (5-2) at Southfield A&T (3-4), 7 p.m. Friday: West Bloomfield has a lot on the line in this OAA Red Division game like in guaranteeing itself at least a share of the league title, along with a state playoff spot win a victory.
West Bloomfield also would like to keep its momentum since its heading into the game with a five-game winning streak, not to mention wanting revenge from last year’s one-sided loss to A&T in a Division 1 district final, 41-6.
Look for West Bloomfield’s aerial attack, led by quarterback Bryce Veasley (Bowling Green) and Wisconsin-bound receivers Taj Mustapha and A.J. Abbott, to be the difference.
Pick: West Bloomfield by 8.