Prep picks: West Bloomfield gets rematch it wanted vs. Belleville
West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy has been looking forward to another shot at Belleville since his team lost to the Tigers 13-10 in a Division 1 regional last year.
No. 4 West Bloomfield (10-1) gets its rematch with the No. 2 Tigers (11-0) in the regionals again; kickoff is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Belleville.
Last year, Belleville stopped Michigan-bound Cornell Wheeler on a fourth-and-inches play at the Belleville 19, then went on an 81-yard TD drive to take the lead with 3:49 left.
West Bloomfield’s final drive stalled at midfield when C.J. Harris’ third-down pass fell incomplete, followed by a fourth-down sack to end the game.
West Bloomfield played without four-star running back Donovan Edwards due to an injury in last year’s game.
Edwards is now healthy, running for four TDs out of the wildcat formation last weekend in a 35-0 district final win over Plymouth.
Wheeler has been all over the field this season while playing linebacker, already getting in on more than 100 tackles, including 20 in an overtime win over No. 7 Lake Orion, which was eliminated by Utica Eisenhower in last week’s district final.
Harris sat out the second half of the Plymouth game with an injury, but Bellamy said he was fine, and it was a coach’s decision to keep him on the bench during the final two quarters.
Bellamy knows Wheeler and the rest of West Bloomfield’s defense, including Michigan-bound safety Makari Paige, will have to play at a high level to slow down Belleville’s explosive offense. Belleville, which is led by junior quarterback Christian Dhue-Reid, scored 42 unanswered points during the second quarter of Friday’s 67-14 win at No. 15 Woodhaven.
“We have to limit the big play and try to make them earn everything they get,” said Bellamy. “We have to play smart, play disciplined and take care of the ball.”
West Bloomfield will have to play as close to mistake-free as possible to stay with Belleville (11-0), which forced three turnovers during the pivotal second quarter at Woodhaven, also getting a 63-yard TD punt return in that quarter by Michigan-bound cornerback Andre Seldon.
Expect Dhue-Reid, who has thrown for 586 yards and nine TDs in the two district games, to continue his strong play in this one.
Pick: Belleville by 6
Other top games
► Detroit Cass Tech (7-4) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (7-4), 7 p.m. Friday:
Cass Tech is used to playing for regional championships, trying to earn its ninth in the last 10 years.
Cass Tech has put together a five-game winning streak after a 2-4 start and junior Kalen King, who has 27 offers – including Michigan, Penn State and Iowa – has been playing at a high level in all three phases, receiver, cornerback and punt and kick returner.
Stevenson earned its first district championship in 10 years with a win over Macomb Dakota and will try to use the homefield advantage to lift yet another trophy with four-star junior two-way lineman Giovanni El-Hadi leading the way.
Pick: Cass Tech by 4
► U-D Jesuit (8-3) at No. 12 Detroit King (9-2), 6 p.m. Friday:
King is trying to build a dynasty, going after its fourth state championship in the last five years, while U-D Jesuit will be looking for its first regional title since 2001.
U-D Jesuit won the Catholic League title, then took out undefeated North Farmington (34-21) and a Farmington team (11-10) that upset No. 5 Oak Park in a predistrict game.
U-D Jesuit has been winning with defense, allowing just 56 points the last seven games, earning three shutouts.
King has put up big numbers all season, averaging nearly 40 points, including an impressive 49-15 win over No. 16 Livonia Franklin in the district finals.
King is led by freshman phenom Dante Moore, who has been brilliant during the postseason, completing 23-of-28 passes for 428 yards and seven TDs.
Pick: King by 10
► Milan (11-0) at Detroit Country Day (11-0), 1 p.m. Saturday:
Country Day is enjoying its best season since making a trip to Ford Field in 2016 to play for the Division 4 state championship, a 10-7 loss to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Country Day has given up just 61 points all season, earning a 17-12 district final win over Harper Woods.
Now, Country Day’s defense will have to be at its best in trying to slow down Eastern Michigan-bound Tristen Hines, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards while also getting things done with his arm at quarterback.
Hines scored on runs of 61 and 37, then threw a pair of TD passes to Kendrick McBride before scoring on a 70-yard kickoff return in a 56-22 district final win over Romulus Summit.
Milan is 11-0 for the first time in school history.
Country Day defeated Milan the last time the teams played, 20-13 in a regional final in 2015.
Pick: Country Day by 2