Some area football teams appear to have clinched berths in the MHSAA playoffs, while others are on the bubble as the 2021 regular season concludes this weekend.
With strength of schedule now entering into the picture, a few teams with 5-4 records, or even a few with losing records, could be selected when the MHSAA releases the lineup at 5:30 p.m. Sunday night on Bally Sports Detroit and TV 9&10.
Below are the final regular-season games in the area:
Whitehall (7-1) at Reed City (7-1)
The Vikings won the “Battle for the Bell” last week, extending its winning streak to six straight games. The Coyotes have also won six consecutive games.
Something has to give in this battle of state-ranked teams.
Fremont (1-7) and Cadillac (6-2):
The Vikings appear to have the inside track on making the playoffs in Division 2, but the Packers would like nothing better than to put a dent in the Vikings’ playoff party and finish the season on a high note.
Justin Dirheimer, who gained 231 yards on 24 carries, and Alex Gleason (79 on six attempts) each scored a pair of touchdowns as the Packers snared their first win of the season, 32-6 over winless Remus Chippewa Hills last Friday.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (8-0) at Fruitport (4-4):
Fruitport’s path to the playoffs is a treacherous one as undefeated Unity Christian presents a clear and present danger for the Trojans.
A 90-yard touchdown by Paschal Jolman carried the Trojans to a 22-14 victory over OK Blue Conference rival Allendale last Friday night. If they can pull off the upset against Unity Christian, it might be enough to get them into the post-season.
Kent City (5-2) at Grant (3-5):
The Eagles are flying high after overwhelming Hartford, 42-6 on homecoming last Friday, and hope to continue soaring with a win over Grant this week.
It was a balanced attack for the Eagles, as six different players scored touchdowns. Grant is coming off a heartbreaking 25-21 loss to Central Montcalm in the CSAA Gold Division. Could a 4-5 record get the Tigers into the playoffs? It’s possible, so the Tigers should be motivated to finish strong.
Rockford (8-0) at Grand Haven (3-5):
Grand Haven faces a tall order in trying to chop down undefeated Rockford in its season finale at home.
The Buccaneers can’t afford to fall into an early hole against a team like Rockford. They need to start fast and maintain the momentum.
White Cloud (4-4) at Hart (3-5)
Both teams have an opportunity to make the playoffs, although Hart is in more need of a victory in its home finale than White Cloud. A 3-6 record might not be good enough.
The Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak last week with a resounding 70-12 win over their Oceana County rival Shelby. Hart is focused on taking care of its end and letting the chips fall where they may on Sunday.
Hesperia (0-8) at Shelby (0-8)
Something has to give Friday night when two winless teams meet in the regular-season finale. One team is going to finish the year with a win.
Both coaches would like a win to put a little frosting on what has been a very difficult season.
Newaygo (1-7) at Holton (5-3)
The Lions could spoil the party for potential playoff-bound Holton when the two collide in the regular-season finale.
Holton was idle last week, picking up a forfeit victory when Wyoming Lee. Holton ho8pes for some carryover from their last game, a lopsided victory over Hesperia.
Newaygo is mired in a four-game losing streak.
Ludington (3-5) at North Muskegon (3-5)
Although the odds might be a little long for both, each team has an outside chance of making the playoffs if they can come out on top.
Orioles’ quarterback Trey Forfinski is a weapon, both with his arm and his legs so the Norsemen will need to keep him contained. North Muskegon called on third-string quarterback, sophomore Ben Meyers, to finish its shutout victory Mason County Central last week and rolled to a 35-0 win. Meyers passed for three touchdowns.
Wyoming (1-7) at Mona Shores (6-2)
Wyoming snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 33-17 win over Grand Rapids Union last week, but faces a daunting challenge in attempting to take out Mona Shores, which appears to have a playoff berth locked up., which is also coming off a win, a 76-24 blowout of Holland and appears to have locked up a playoff berth.
The Sailors bounced back from a loss to Muskegon with quarterback Mark Konecny throwing five touchdown passes in the first half. Dahmire Franum rushed for 151 yards on just three carries.
Montague (6-2) at Portland (6-2)
This one shapes up to be a dandy with two quality programs clashing on the gridiron. Both appear to have locked up a postseason berth.
Montague suffered a disappointing 34-14 loss to Whitehall in the annual “Battle of the Bell” last week, and is aching to get back on the winning track.
Zeeland East (5-3) at Muskegon (7-1)
The Big Reds have strung together six straight wins following a 49-14 loss to Detroit Cass Tech in the second week of the season and are looking to tune up nd stay healthy for the playoffs.
Zeeland East saw a short two-game winning streak snapped with a 48-21 loss to crosstown rival Zeeland West last week.
Muskegon Catholic (7-1) at Muskegon Oakridge (7-1)
Another “must see” matchup of teams heading to the playoffs. The Crusaders are riding a six-game winning streak after a 28-6 loss to Grand Rapids West Catholic in Week 2.
Including a forfeit win surrendered by Shelby three weeks ago, the Eagles carry a four-game winning streak into the contest. Both teams are looking to build momentum for the post-season with a victory over a quality opponent.
McBain (5-3) at Muskegon Heights (5-3), 1 p.m. Saturday
Heights saw its playoff possibilities take a hit last week with a 41-14 loss to Carson-City Crystal.
The Ramblers come in with a two-game winning streak and an offense capable of putting up points. They have scored 40 points or more five times this season.
Mason County Central (1-5) at Lakeview (1-7)
It’s been a particularly long, yet shortened, season for the Spartans. COVID-19 affected the early season, when they had to forfeit consecutive games.
But the Spartans can make things a little brighter, at least, with a win in their season finale.
Central Montcalm (5-3) at Ravenna (5-3)
Ravenna had a two-game winning streak snapped when Oakridge defeated the Bulldogs, 43-36 last week.
Central Montcalm, meanwhile, ended a two-game losing streak last week by holding off Grant, 25-21 in a thriller that went down to the wire.
Reeths-Puffer at Grand Rapids Union
The Rockets are looking to rebound from a 47-21 loss to Muskegon against a Union team that has lost three straight games.
Allendale (3-5) at Spring Lake (6-2)
Spring Lake is coming off a 41-28 loss to Grand Rapids West Catholic, but looks to have a playoff spot locked up. Allendale is on a two-game losing streak.