It's now or never for high school playoff hopefuls
Grosse Pointe North coach Frank Sumbera would love nothing better than a repeat of last year's regular-season finale.
And for good reason.
The victory over previously unbeaten St. Clair was not only Sumbera's 200th, but it also sent his team to the state playoffs.
"It's already a playoff game," Sumbera said of Friday's rematch at North. "We're hoping for the same outcome as last year."
And, like last year, North (5-3) needs a victory to head for the postseason.
North is among several schools throughout the state needing a victory on the final weekend to get the six wins needed to qualify for the playoffs.
Here's a look at a few of the others:
East English Village
East English should have no trouble getting in, hosting winless Detroit Southeastern at 3:30 today. All of East English's losses have come to ranked teams — twice to No. 3 Cass Tech and once to No. 9 Lansing Sexton.
"I told our kids we still have six games to play," said East English coach Rod Oden, noting the games needed to win a title. "Our backs are against the wall, and we have to win the next game for (our) 17 seniors."
Northville started 3-0 and was ranked 20th.
Then it lost three of five, and faces a must-win Friday in Grand Blanc.
"We've just flat-out gotten beat up in our losses where we just couldn't establish the run," said Northville coach Matt Ladach, pointing especially to one-sided losses to Livonia Stevenson (46-21) and Plymouth (42-17). "(Friday's game) is without a doubt a playoff game."
Warren De La Salle
Warren De La Salle's season was spiraling out of control after it suffered its third straight loss Oct. 3, evening its mark at 3-3.
While all the losses were close and to strong programs — 28-21 to Birmingham Brother Rice, and 14-10 to Orchard Lake St. Mary's and Fordson — coach Paul Verska knew he needed to turn things around in a hurry.
"We just needed to get healthy, and we are now," said Verska, who saw his team dominate Detroit Catholic Central and U-D Jesuit in the past two weeks.
De La Salle plays Detroit Pershing at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Utica Eisenhower, Romeo
Utica Eisenhower is playing its best football at the right time.
After Eisenhower lost to three-time MAC Red champion Macomb Dakota in late September, it bounced back with victories over Grosse Pointe South, Chippewa Valley and Warren Mott to set up its must-win Friday at Romeo.
Coach Chris Smith, however, believes Eisenhower would have enough points to make the playoffs at 5-4 thanks to its strength of schedule.
Still, he'd rather win and be in than play the waiting game.
"We want to leave it in our own hands," Smith said. "We're peaking right now and we want to keep it up."
Romeo is also in a must-win to reach the playoffs.
Catholic Central will miss the postseason for the first time since 2006. CC won the Division 1 state title five years ago and played in the championship the last three years.