We have reached the final week of the regular season already and some teams are looking toward the second season in the playoffs, some teams are still hoping to get there, while others have their eyes on next year.
Harper Creek was able to celebrate a championship, knocking off Marshall to clinch the Interstate 8 Conference. Lakeview was able to get a spot in the playoffs, making the postseason for the fifth straight year, after beating Niles.
So now we ask, what else happened last week, what happens next?
And what does it mean?
Each week, the Enquirer’s Bill Broderick will break that down on Mondays, handing out some analysis on what all the results mean from the weekend of prep football and what to look for next.
In the city
Harper Creek: Harper Creek won the school’s 14th league championship in the 60-year history of the football program, beating Marshall to get to 6-1 in the Interstate 8 Conference. The Beavers share the title with Jackson Lumen Christi – a team Harper Creek beat early in the season. Harper Creek held on for a last-minute win as Marshall scored in the final seconds to come within a point, but went for a 2-point conversion which the Beavers stopped to seal the victory, 21-20.
Next: With a league title in hand and a playoff spot already secured at 7-1 on the year, Harper Creek still has the goal of finishing the regular season strong in hopes of getting a home playoff game. The Beavers go out of conference to face Whitehall on the road, near the Grand Rapids area. Whitehall is 5-3. A win over Whitehall would put Harper Creek at 8-1 and most likely would mean the Beavers would start the playoffs at home.
Lakeview: Lakeview won its second game in a row, knocking off Niles, to get to 5-2 on the season. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Spartans who needed to get to five wins as they are playing an 8-game schedule this year. It is the fifth year in a row Lakeview has advanced to the postseason, a school record as the Spartans have never even had back-to-back playoff seasons before the recent run.
Next: Lakeview finishes up the regular season with a SMAC East Division game with Gull Lake. The Spartans’ hopes of defending its SMAC East title rely on getting some help elsewhere. Kalamazoo Central is currently in first place in the league, with Lakeview a game back. Lakeview can only get a share of the title if it beats Gull Lake and Kalamazoo Central loses to Mattawan (2-6). At 6-2, Lakeview would still have an outside chance of hosting a playoff game in the first round.
St. Philip: Undefeated Portland St. Patrick came to C.W. Post Field Saturday and defeated St. Philip, 34-20, to take the Tigers to 5-3 on the season. St. Philip had defeated Portland St. Patrick twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs as the Tigers were on their way to the state finals in 8-man football.
Next: St. Philip saw its chances to get back to the playoffs take a big hit with the loss to Portland St. Patrick. The Tigers, who had been ranked in the top 5 in the state much of the year, have now lost three of their last four and will have to rely on computer points to get a postseason spot. St. Philip will face 7-1 Lawrence in the final regular season game. Even with a win, a 6-3 Tigers team could still be on the outside looking in for the playoffs as only the top 16 teams make the postseason in 8-man football.
Pennfield: Pennfield lost to Lumen Christi in a hard-fought game, 35-20, as the Titans were able to clinch a share of the Interstate 8 Conference title. Pennfield falls to 4-4.
Next: Pennfield will be playing for a winning record and an outside shot at making the playoffs when it sees Olivet in the final game of the regular season. With a victory, the Panthers could get over .500 for the first time since 2013. A 5-4 record would also put Pennfield’s playoff chances in the hands of the computer as several 5-4 teams make the postseason each year based on strength of schedule.
Battle Creek Central: The Bearcats went out of conference to face St. Johns, a team added to BCC’s schedule when Benton Harbor left the SMAC. St. Johns held on to beat BCC, 28-24, and drop the Bearcats to 2-6 on the year.
Next: Battle Creek Central will be playing for pride this week as it faces winless Loy Norrix at home. Loy Norrix has only won three games in the last four seasons combined.
Around the Area
Marshall: Marshall is still hanging on to its hopes of making the playoffs for the second straight year, despite losing to Harper Creek in a rivalry game on Friday. Marshall has a chance to impress the computer with a game against undefeated Portland next. If the Redhawks were to upset Portland and get to 5-4 they would have an outside chance of making the playoffs.
Climax-Scotts: The Panthers won their 18th straight regular season game, with a 51-7 win over Bay City All Saints to go to 8-0 and as the Panthers are well on their way to the playoffs for the 14th straight season. The Panthers have scored over 50 points five times this year and face 3-5 New Buffalo to end the regular season. Climax-Scotts will most likely be home in the playoffs for the first two weeks, if the Panthers can keep winning.
Contact Bill Broderick (269) 966-0678 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick