This week's top high school semifinals games
David Goricki of The Detroit News breaks down this week's top state high school playoff football games.
This week’s top games
No. 1 Detroit Cass Tech (12-0) vs. No. 4 Utica Eisenhower (12-0), Saturday, 1 p.m., at Troy Athens: Cass Tech had to rally from a 42-35 fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Saline 43-42, getting a 3-yard option run by Rodney Hall and then Hall’s pass on a slant route to Donovan Peoples-Jones for the 2-point conversion with 7:58 left for the difference. Cass Tech senior Donovan Johnson ran for 292 yards and four touchdowns and should test a strong Eisenhower defense which has allowed less than 700 yards rushing this season, just two yards per carry. Eisenhower junior Max Wittwer has done an outstanding job of running the triple-option attack and senior running back Jack Provencher has rushed for 1,425 yards and 23 touchdowns.
No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central (12-0) vs. Romeo (9-3), Saturday, 1 p.m., at Howell: Few expected defending state champion Romeo to make it back to the final four after losing the majority of its defense from a year ago. But Romeo is getting things done with a ball-control offense anchored by three-year starting lineman Joe Schneider and a defense led by free safety Kade Messner. Catholic Central will be trying to avenge last year’s 40-29 regional loss to Romeo with sophomore quarterback Austin Brown playing at a high level behind a big offensive line.
No. 2 Walled Lake Western (11-1) vs. No. 11 Lowell (12-0), Saturday, 1 p.m., at Brighton: Western coach Mike Zdebski is thrilled Western will have to only make the short trip to Brighton instead of the long haul to Alma like a year ago when it lost to Lowell in the semifinals. Western jumped on Fenton for a 48-6 halftime lead on its way to a 61-21 regional final rout with quarterback Johnny Tracy throwing for three first-half touchdowns and his fourth early in the third on a slant pass to Michigan State-bound Cody White before taking a seat for the rest of the game.
Last week’s top games
Detroit Cass Tech 43, Saline 42: Cass Tech pulled out the win when quarterback Rodney Hall scored on a 3-yard run with 7:58 left, then found Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 2-point PAT for the difference. Cass Tech’s defense came up big midway through the final quarter, forcing a fourth-down incompletion, then had Hall & Co. run out the clock with multiple first downs. Senior Donovan Johnson ran for a career-high 292 yards and four touchdowns for Cass Tech (12-0). Senior Connor Hibbard rushed for 216 yards and five touchdowns for Saline (11-1), including runs of 1, 58, 31, 7 and 1.
Detroit King 21, Temperance Bedford 7: King came back from a 7-6 fourth-quarter deficit thanks to a pair of long touchdown strikes from sophomore quarterback Dequan Finn to Jaeveyon Morton. Finn found Morton for a 57-yard touchdown pass, then on a 2-point PAT for a 14-7 lead with 10:56 left, then on a 50-yarder less than five minutes later. King kept Bedford (9-3) scoreless during the final three quarters after quarterback Joey Wiemer’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Brady Nowak in the opening quarter.
Detroit Catholic Central 28, Grandville 14: Catholic Central sophomore quarterback Austin Brown completed 10 of 12 passes for 148 yards, but his biggest play was when he scrambled out of the pocket on third down and scored on a 35-yard run to open up a 28-14 lead with 3:07 left. Catholic Central rushed for 188 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run by Nick Capatina for a 21-7 lead midway through the third. Catholic Central’s defense limited Grandville to 155 yards rushing and put pressure on the quarterback with Jack Morris leading the way.