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  • Jim Townsend

Playoff Round One – High School Football Preview

After finishing the regular season with an eight win and one loss record, the St. Patrick School Shamrocks will host North Adams-Jerome (5-4) on Saturday at 2:00 PM, at PHS, in the MHSAA 8-man Division Two Playoff Pre-Regional.

The Shamrocks enter the game after defeating Michigan School for the Deaf last week, 51-14. The Rams of North Adams-Jerome finished their regular season with a 56-54 win over Tekonsha last week. The Shamrocks had defeated Tekonsha 42-22 in week five. The Shamrocks and Rams have also both faced Burr Oak, Bellevue, Waldron and Webberville. The Rams beat Burr Oak 48-4 in week one, while St. Patrick’s beat them 59-0 in week two. The Rams lost to Bellevue 46-0 in week two, while the Shamrocks lost to them 28-6 in week four. North Adams-Jerome beat Waldron 26-21 in week six, while the Shamrocks beat them 47-20 in week one. The Rams lost to Webberville 40-6 in week seven, while the Shamrocks beat Webberville 38-22 in week three.

When asked about this week’s game, Shamrock Head Coach Patrick Russman said, “We look forward to playing North Adams-Jerome. We like how we have been improving as a team. It was a special game verse Flint School for the Deaf last week. This week: Defensively we have many sets to cover verse NAJ. Their QB runs and throws well. They have good size and speed in the backfield. Offensively and on special teams we look forward to showing team speed improvement.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The Shamrocks begin their journey towards a finals berth in Marquette as they take on North Adams-Jerome in the first round of the MHSAA 8-man Football Playoffs. Portland St. Patrick’s capped off an 8-1 regular season with a win last week, while North Adams-Jerome won a thrilling Week 9 decision over Tekonsha in OT just to be able to have enough playoff points to qualify with 5 regular season wins. Both teams share some common opponents, and judging by the results, St. Patrick’s projects to be a pretty safe bet to advance to Round 2. The Rams should be riding high after their emotional win last week, but talent usually wins out in these situations. The Shamrocks should be chomping at the bit to get the game started as they will play Saturday afternoon @ 2 PM to avoid conflict with Portland High’s Friday kickoff. Portland St. Patrick’s 58, North Adams-Jerome 12.”

The Portland Raiders will host the Marauders of Ovid-Elsie Friday night at 7:00 PM. The Raiders defeated Marshall 27-0 in their regular season finale, and finished with an overall record of eight wins and one loss, while going undefeated in league play, and securing their third straight CAAC White title.

The Marauders finished 7-2 overall, and 4-1 in league play. The Raiders and Marauders did not have any mutual opponents this year, but the Raiders did beat the Marauders 26-17 in the season opener. The Ovid-Elsie defense has only given up a combined three touchdowns in their last two games. The Marauders only other loss this season was to Ithaca, at Ithaca’s homecoming. Ithaca finished their season undefeated.

The Raiders will have their work cut out for them this week. While the Portland squad has improved significantly since the season opener, so has Ovid Elsie, and beating the same football team twice in one season is no easy feat. I can speak for that from personal experience from way back in 1994 when I was a senior at Livonia Stevenson. We were knocked out in round two, at home, bye a Westland John Glenn squad we had beat earlier in that season.

Regarding this week’s game, Raider Head Coach John Novara says, “OE is a good football team and they are well coached. They are loaded with seniors and several three-year starters. In our first meeting both of us struggled to get our offenses going and our defenses dominated the game. I am expecting a tough, physical, first round match-up, our kids will have to perform well.”

When asked for his prediction on this game, Buck Geno from “ESPN 96.1’s Game of the Week” said, “The road to Ford Field starts this Friday night as Portland faces a familiar foe in Round 1. The Ovid-Elsie Marauders come to town in a rematch of the season opener. The Marauders ended up at 7-2, losing to state power Ithaca in Week 7 in addition to the Week 1 loss to Portland. Having won a 9-point decision in the first meeting, this should be a good test for the Red Raiders as they gear up for meetings with possible opponents Lansing Catholic and Grand Rapids West Catholic. The weather promises to be cold and cloudy as fall finally makes its appearance. Expect a grind-it-out battle between two teams that love to control the clock and play stubborn defense. Portland 24, Ovid-Elsie 13.”

If you are planning on attending the games this week, please keep in mind that regular season passes are not accepted at MHSAA playoff contests. You must purchase a ticket. Tickets for round one are $5 per person, and there are no discounts for students, children or seniors. Portland High will be pre-selling tickets for their game on Thursday from 8:00-3:00, and on Friday 8:00-noon.

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