North Farmington will be hosting Farmington on Friday night with the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division and city championship at stake between the two unbeaten teams.
North Farmington’s coaching staff — made up mostly of the staff from Farmington Hills Harrison after the school closed this past June — took over a program that had won a combined five games the previous three years and put it in position to win titles.
North Farmington first-year head coach Jon Herstein, who brought with him the state’s winningest coach John Herrington, Mill Coleman and defensive coordinator Dave Thorne, is proud of his team’s progress to this point.
“I think we’ve made steady improvement throughout the year and the kids are starting to grasp the understanding of the program offensively, defensively and special teams, so I think that’s been good," Herstein said. "Of course you’re just trying to make improvements each game, each day, each rep and I think we have so I’m excited to see how we can perform on Friday.
“It’s for a league championship and a city championship so it’s two things we’re going for which was our goal and now they are right in front of us.”
North Farmington has outscored its OAA Blue opponents by a 230-34 margin in five games this season with junior quarterback Jacob Bousamra helping his team average 46 points in those games.
Bousamra, who transferred from Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook, has thrown for 1,537 yards and 19 touchdowns while completing 72 percent of his passes (67-for-92). He hit on all seven of his passes for 150 yards and three TDs in last Friday’s 48-0 non-league win over Okemos.
“I think Jacob’s playing really well, has a strong arm and is very accurate,” Herstein said. “He understands the offense and is very smart. I think he’s getting a better and better grasp of the offense and is finding ways to be a leader on the team as far as directing traffic with the formations and personnel.”
Herstein and his staff will be trying to slow down their former quarterback at Harrison in Max Martin, who has helped Farmington average 39.5 points in league play.
“Max has been running the ball really well and has some good passes, so we have to contain him. They have an excellent running game, too,” Herstein said. “Offensively, we have to execute and find ways to put pressure on their defense, which will be difficult since they’ve obviously haven’t given up many points.”
Farmington has won the last three games in the rivalry.
Pick: North Farmington by 6
►No. 18 Romeo at No. 3 Chippewa Valley, 7 p.m. Friday:
The only thing in the way of consecutive Macomb Area Conference Red Division championships for Chippewa Valley (7-0, 4-0) is a strong, physical Romeo team.
Romeo (6-1, 3-1) is playing some of its best ball, earning a dominant 36-7 win over Macomb Dakota last week.
Romeo had interceptions on Dakota’s first two possessions that led to touchdowns to set the tempo. And quarterback Bret Miller has done a good job of running Romeo’s Wing-T offense.
Now, Romeo has a tough challenge ahead in trying to slow down a Chippewa Valley offense that has averaged 36 points in four division games, including a 34-6 rout of Sterling Heights Stevenson last week.
Chippewa Valley is led by the one-two punch of quarterback Josh Kulka (1,052 yards passing, nine TDs) and running back Myren Harris (1,048 yards rushing, 14 TDs).
“We have to continue to be able to run the football the way we have, win the special teams and really have to limit big plays in their passing game,” Romeo coach Curt Reinas said. “Their offensive line and running back are really good. I think it’s an interesting matchup because our strength is our offensive line and running game and I think that’s their strength as well, so I think a lot of it will be who can protect the ball and which team can slow the other team down running the ball.
“We have three guys on defense who have been lights out this year — defensive tackle Ben Weber, defensive end Jakob Ploetz and defensive end Michael Heldman.”
Pick: Chippewa Valley by 4
►No. 8 Lake Orion at Clarkston, 7 p.m. Friday:
Clarkston (3-4, 3-2 OAA Red) has won nine straight in the series and desperately needs a 10th to keep its state playoff hopes alive.
Clarkston won the Division I state championship in 2017 and advanced to the title game again last year, losing to Chippewa Valley.
Lake Orion last beat Clarkston in 2010 when it went on to win the Division I state championship. Lake Orion (6-1, 4-1) sits second in the OAA Red with its lone loss coming against No. 5 West Bloomfield.
“Their quarterback Blaze Lauer is very good, does a lot of things well, and the (running back Kobe) Manzo kid is a stud,” Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said. “We’re young and we’re trying to learn how to finish.”
Pick: Lake Orion by 6
►No. 2 Belleville at No. 13 Livonia Franklin, 7 p.m. Friday:
Belleville passed one major test when it won at Dearborn Fordson two weeks ago.
Now, Belleville (7-0, 6-0) will be looking to get a win at Franklin (6-1, 5-1) to clinch the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East Division title and earn the right to face No. 20 Plymouth in the KLAA championship game in Week 9.
Fordson defeated Franklin last week, 33-21.
Belleville has received strong play from three-year starting quarterback Christian Dhue-Reid. Franklin has a very good quarterback in three-year starter Jake Kelbert.
Pick: Belleville by 8