- Portage Northern qualified for a playoff spot last week in its 48-0 win over Kalamazoo Central.
- Portage Central has lost two games by a combined two points this season.
- Portage Central must beat either Portage Northern this week or Niles next week to earn a playoff spot.
- Portage Central is 9-5 against Portage Northern since 2000 (including playoff games) and 7-0 since 2006.
Keys to the Game:
Portage Central: Establishing the running game early will be essential if the Mustangs want to clinch a playoff birth this week. Central showed vulnerability in its rushing defense last week and must improve upon it against a Northern rushing attack that has vastly improved from last season.
Portage Northern: The Huskies surprised fans this season by starting at 6-1 and qualifying for a playoff spot after having a down year in 2011. Despite coming in with a better record Northern has previously struggled against Portage Central. The Huskies are a very multifaceted team and must use that to their advantage against a Central secondary that hasn't been tested often this season. Running to set up the play action pass could prove to be crucial if the Huskies want to get their first win over the Mustangs since 2005.
Players to Watch:
- Portage Central: Jacob Allan, RB
- Portage Northern: Jon Pincus, QB
Prediction: Both of these teams have a great opportunity to win this game. Northern comes in with the momentum while Central has a bit of a chip on its shoulder after losing a game against Mattawan last week that it probably should have won. Jacob Allan and DeJuan James will carry the load for the Mustangs' offense. Northern will try to use more versatility through the intermediate passing game. The biggest battle will be defensively. The team that makes the biggest stand will win this football game. Both teams lost close games to Stevensville-Lakeshore and have otherwise been about even. In this game, Northern will do just enough to finally get a win against their crosstown rival. Northern 35, Central 27