Portage Central got the job done on Saturday and did it in a very impressive way. They were able to wear down Harrison just like they have every other team this season. On top of all that, they also showed their depth and Jerrod Davis showed his brilliance. They lost QB Ryan Mergener and fellow RB Jacob Allen, but that didn’t slow the Mustangs. Replacing Mergener was Mickey Losey who completed three of his six passes for 100 yards and a TD and also rushed for a TD. As for Allen? Well it just looked like Davis picked up his job while doing his own. Davis rushed for 228 yards and three TDs. Their offense put up 42 points on a defense that was allowing only 15 ppg and had allowed over 26 just once this season. As for the defense, they did allow 21 first half points on a lot of big plays, but they shut the door in the second half and allowed the offense to do their thing. It sets up their showdown with state power Muskegon next Saturday.
The SMAC West:
It doesn’t happen very often that one conference gets two teams into the semi-finals. Not only did that happen, but the SMAC West Division got two teams into the semi-finals with Portage Central in division two and Stevensville-Lakeshore in division three. A lot of things have gone Lakeshore’s way in the playoffs. They got in with a 6-3 record and still got to host an opening round playoff game (which is a pretty rare event). Not only that, but they got to host two playoff games, after hosting last week’s regional game with Byron Center (Which is an extremely rare event for a 6-3 team). On top of that, they never had to travel very far, as their only road game was down the street in St. Joseph. I’m not saying that all plays a part, but it certainly helps the cause. I also don’t want to sound down on Lakeshore like it is all luck that they got to this point, because it clearly isn’t. This team has done everything they’ve been asked to do in the playoffs and have been very impressive in doing it. They just beat a very good Byron Center team 34-7 and now they get a date with perennial power Zeeland West.
It was a great run for the KVA as they went 5-0 in the first round and 4-1 in the second round, but they all ran into some great teams this past Saturday. Schoolcraft fell to Shelby 33-7. Constantine was dropped by Clinton 41-28. Olivet lost to Grand Rapids West Catholic 35-14. Back on Friday night Pennfield fell to Grand Rapids South Christian 35-17. It’s a sad state of affairs because if you have four teams in the regional, you would think and hope at least one would get a win. Still, they were all playing great teams who showed their power on Friday and Saturday night. I put it in the bad category because they went 0-4, but when you look at the match-ups, all but Olivet were on the road but the Eagles were playing one of the toughest teams in the state regardless of what their regular season record was. Pennfield was playing the defending state champs and the #1 ranked team in division four. Schoolcraft was facing a team that was in the state semi-finals last season and who out rushed them 367-48. Also, Constantine faced a team that has lost one game in two years. It was a great run for the KVA, just unfortunate that it had to end on an 0-4 day.
All the other Kalamazoo area football teams not named Portage Central:
The Kalamazoo area had five teams in regionals but only one team came out ahead. The aforementioned Portage Central is in the semi-final, but Schoolcraft, Constantine, Decatur and Mendon all went home on Saturday afternoon. I already touched on Schoolcraft and Constantine so allow me some time for the others. Mendon had their second straight season end in the regional at the hands of Muskegon Catholic Central. The Hornets certainly had their chances, but they are not used to playing from behind and playing a team they can’t run against. Mendon was forced to throw, and throw they did. QB Robert Riley threw the ball more than most Mendon QB’s have putting the ball up 35 times and completing 17 passes. It was a 14-12 game into the fourth quarter before MCC scored two TDs in the final four minutes to pull away. This much you know with Mendon, they will be back. It would be no surprise to see them back in this same spot, possibly against MCC again in next year’s regional
Decatur on the other hand had to handle a very solid team in Homer and they did what they could. Their defense slowed the Trojans as much as they could, holding them well below their 40 ppg they average, but their faults this season have come from their offense not being able to score and that happened again on Saturday. They were still close at the half down only 13-7, but Homer slowly pulled away in the second half. With the bad, did come another good season for Decatur as they got to their second straight regional and their third in six years. When it comes to post season success, they have had better success than anyone in the SAC in recent times.
Portage Central Division 2 Semi-Final Game:
#8 Portage Central (12-0) vs. #3 Muskegon (11-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ East Kentwood High School
Other Semi-Finals Games:
Flint Carmen-Ainsworth (11-1) vs. #4 Clarkston (11-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ Lake Orion High School
#6 Detroit Catholic Central (10-2) vs. #1 Detroit Cass Tech (12-0) – Saturday 1:00 @ Troy Athens High School
#1 Birmingham Brother Rice (12-0) vs. #10 Detroit Martin Luther King (10-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ Wayne State University
#2 Zeeland West (11-1) vs. Stevensville-Lakeshore (9-3) – Saturday 1:00 @ Vicksburg High School
#1 Dewitt (12-0) vs. #7 St. Clair (11-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ Goodrich High School
#5 Comstock Park (12-0) vs. #1 Grand Rapids South Christian (11-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ Rockford High School
#4 Lansing Sexton (12-0) vs. #5 Marine City – Saturday 1:00 @ Ortonville Brandon High School
#1 Menominee (12-0) vs. #3 Muskegon Oakridge (11-1) – Saturday 4:00 @ Northern Michigan University
Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-4) vs. #6 Livonia Clarenceville (12-0) – Saturday 1:00 @ Battle Creek Harper Creek High School
#1 Ithaca (12-0) vs. #3 Montrose Hill-McCloy – Saturday 2:00 @ Midland High School
#9 Shelby (11-1) vs. #4 Clinton (12-0) – Saturday 1:00 @ Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg High School
#1 Ishpeming (12-0) vs. #3 Harbor Beach (11-1) – Saturday 1:00 @ Northern Michigan University
#10 Homer (11-1) vs. #2 Detroit Loyola (12-0) – Saturday 1:00 @ Chelsea High School
#5 Crystal Falls Forest Park (12-0) vs. #1 Beal City – Saturday 10:00 am @ Northern Michigan University
#6 Muskegon Catholic Central (10-2) vs. #4 New Lothrop (12-0) – Saturday 1:00 @ Greenville High School
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