Listed with last year’s record.
1. Saline (12-2)
2. Detroit King (8-2)
3. Muskegon (12-2)
4. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (12-2)
5. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (8-4)
6. Detroit Cass Tech
Last season: 12-1.
Top players: OT/NG Michael Onwenu, DB/WR Demetric Vance, Jr. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jr. QB Rodney Hall, WR Marcel Paul, C/NG Alvin Clemons, Jr. DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell, Jr. DB Donovan Johnson.
Coach: Thomas Wilcher, 19th season (137-60).
Overview: The Technicians will attempt to advance to at least the Division 1 semifinals for the fifth straight time, and they have the talent to make it happen. Onwenu (Michigan) is a dominating blocker, and Vance (Michigan State) is an excellent strong safety. Peoples-Jones is among the best deep threats in the state. The defense will be solid and, if the Technicians can run the ball, they will be dangerous.
7. Warren De La Salle
Last season: 11-3.
Top players: Jr. RB Allan Stritzinger, OG-OT/DT Jordan Asbury, TE/DE Drew Beesley, WR/DB Tru Wilson, QB/DB Josh Wilk.
Coach: Paul Verska (209-20-5); 15th season at De La Salle (100-49).
Overview: The defending Division 2 champs will feature an offense revolving around Stritzinger, who gained more than 1,900 yards and scored 20 TDs last year. Asbury (WMU) and Beesley
(Bowling Green) lead a stout defense that keeps the Pilots in every game.
8. Midland Dow
Last season: 10-1.
Top players: Jr. QB Bruce Mann, WR Mike Robb, slot/DB Justin Cook, RB Johnny Wilson, Jr. LB Spencer Stephenson, LB Brad Drenckpohl, DE/LB Spencer Hulbert.
Coach: Jason Watkins, seventh year at Dow (40-20).
Overview: With eight starters back, the Chargers will have a dynamic defense, and you won’t have to worry about the offense. Mann, a transfer from Bay City Western, will have a multitude of
weapons. Robb and Cook are scoring threats when they get their hands on the ball, and Wilson is a slasher at RB.
Last season: 9-3.
Top players: Jr. FB Marcus Sanders, OT Devin Obrec, RB Jake Wickens, LB/TE Jalen Cochran, LB/TE Jacob Stephan, DB/QB Jared Stephens, DT Tommy Evely, DT Ali Mashhour.
Coach: Tim Baechler, 25th season overall (169-64), 18th at Canton (144-54).
Overview: Replacing the secondary won’t be easy, and the Chiefs will need to find a quarterback who can manage the game, but there is a wealth of talent here. Sanders ran for 2,000 yards as a sophomore, and Wickens will start for the third season. The offensive line will be good, and the front seven on defense could be outstanding.
10. West Bloomfield
Last season: 9-2.
Top players: QB Trishton Jackson, DB/WR-RB Navon Mosley, DB Evan Foster, DB Justin Clark, DT Theo Majette.
Coach: Ron Bellamy, fifth season at West Bloomfield (18-20).
Overview: The Lakers are fresh off their best season since the 8-0 team of 1960, winning the first state playoff game in school history. The offense is built around Jackson (MSU), who can make something out of nothing. Mosley (Purdue), Foster (Bowling Green) and Clark (Toledo) will give West Bloomfield one of the top secondaries in the state.
11. Walled Lake Central
Last season: 9-3.
Top players: DE/OT Adetokunbo Ogundeji, RB/DB Ethan Rodriguez, TE Ryan Kalis, SE/OT Nick Tinson, DB Josh Leimbach.
Coach: Bob Meyer, 10th year at Central (60-54).
Overview: It will be difficult replacing do-it-all QB/DB Nick Krumm, but the job will be made easier with veteran offensive and defensive lines, led by Ogundeji (Notre Dame), who requires double-teaming on defense. Rodriguez gained more than 600 yards last season and will be a reliable back. Kalis will be starting for the fourth year and will be a reliable target.
Last season: 10-2.
Top players: WD/DB Gabe Steed, RB/LB Max Dean, QB Ryan Stevens, LB/WR Sawyer Olesko, OG Karson Murley, DB/slot Zeth Dean, DB Derrick Massey.
Coach: Noel Dean, 25th season (211-61); 20th season at Lowell (189-46).
Overview: The Red Arrows return 18 starters who will seek their 20th consecutive winning season. Steed is a game-changer on offense as well as in the secondary. Stevens is a good passer who can gain yards running the ball. Max Dean will be the anchor to an outstanding defense. Zeth Dean is another solid receiver and a standout defensively.
13. Muskegon Mona Shores
Last season: 12-2.
Top players: Slot/DB Hunter Broersma, DB/slot Darece Roberson, WR/DB Kobe Burse, QB/DB Tyler Trovinger, DT Christian Boyd, LB/RB Dom Shermeta, OG/DT Mike Bordeaux.
Coach: Matt Koziak, sixth season (31-22); fifth at Mona Shores (24-18).
Overview: In only their second playoff appearance, the Sailors advanced to the Division 2 finals last year before losing to Warren De La Salle. A crucial key will be the development of QB/DB Trovinger, who started in the secondary last year. Broersma (WMU) and Roberson (WMU) will hurt you catching or carrying the ball. Bordeaux will be a three-year, two-way starter.
Last season: 9-4.
Top players: DB/WR Delan Wynn, Jr. OG/NG Eric Eldridge, DE Don Griffin, DB Tim Brown, WR Josh Pickens, Fr. QB Sam Johnson III, WR/DB Tyrone Lyte, Jr. LB/RB Brandon Brown.
Coach: Tim Conley, 11th season at Southfield (68-39).
Overview: The Bluejays were one victory away from the Division 2 state finals last fall and have enough talent to finish the trip. Losing RB Matt Falcon (U-M) to injury is a big blow, but the Bluejays are deep at running back, which will make Johnson’s job easier. Wynn and Tim Brown will highlight another talented secondary. Lyte and Brandon Brown transferred from Farmington Hills Harrison a week before practice began.
Last season: 8-3.
Top players: DB/QB/WR/RB Tyler Bradfield, DL Gabe Baumann, K/P Quinn Nordin.
Coach: Ralph Munger, 36th season overall (298-90); 23rd at Rockford (211-60).
Overview: Only three starters return for the Rams, who will be seeking their 21st consecutive state playoff berth. Bradfield will be a three-year starter, and Rockford will use him in a variety of spots offensively. Baumann will be a key to the defensive line. The ace in the hole is Nordin (Penn State) who kicked 14 of 19 field goals two seasons ago and averaged 39 yards per punt last season.
16. Macomb Dakota
Last season: 8-3.
Top players: DE Blake Brady; LB Brendyn Pittman; junior RB Kaiser Carleton; OT Colin Schock; junior WR Jaylen Hall.
Coach: Mike Giannone, 18th season, 149-48.
Overview: Only three starters return on offense and four on defense, but that is nothing new for the Cougars, who have a sustainable program year in and year out. Despite the overall inexperience, there is good depth here. Dakota will be able to gain a lot of yards on the ground with Carleton running behind a solid offensive line. Typically, the defense will be good.
Last season: 14-0.
Top players: LB/FB Carter Linton; TE/LB Mitch Heaton; K Alex Kessman; RB Nolan Eriksen; QB Anthony Reiner; OT Sam Bullen; OT Nathan Troutvine.
Coach: Kurt Richardson, 30th season at Clarkston (225-79).
Overview: It is unlikely that the Wolves will win their third consecutive Division 1 state title, but success breeds success and Clarkston has been successful. Eriksen compiled 1,690 all-purpose yards last season and will have a quality line in front of him led by Bullen and Troutvine. Heaton is a quality receiver and will team with Linton to help form a tough defense. Kessman consistently drills field goals from 40 yards away. Reiner will need to adapt quickly at QB.
18. Novi Detroit Catholic Central
Last season: 4-5.
Top players: RB/DB Alex Bock; OT/DT Tom Kowalski; RB/DB Tyler Laurentius; LB/RB Phil Schmitz; LB/RB Austin Darkangelo; DE/TE Michael Edwards; junior DE-DT/TE Jackson Ross.
Coach: Tom Mach, 40th season (348-93).
Overview: Coming off only their third losing season in Mach’s 39-year career, the Shamrocks hope to rebound with a tough defense led by Kowalski (Boston College), a two-way standout. The key will be to rebuilding an offensive line, which is where Kowalski will also have to play a prominent role, and allow Bock to make plays.
19. Walled Lake Western
Last season: 9-2.
Top players: QB Kyle Thomas; RB Jake Prokes; C Dan Barrett; G Alex Gammo; junior WR Cody White; LB Darnell Lanier; DB Jackson Neracher; OT/DL Tyler Shreve; DL Ryan Steiner; K John Camilleri.
Coach: Mike Zdebski, 18th season at Western (127-54).
Overview: Thomas is a dual threat at QB, passing for 1,560 yards while running for an additional 920. Prokes will improve upon his 320 rushing yards. White is a threat running or catching the ball. Lanier recorded 112 tackles with six sacks, and Neracher added 74 tackles. A potent weapon will be the leg of all-state kicker Camilleri, who booted 12 field goals last fall.
20. Mt. Pleasant
Last season: 7-4.
Top players: RB/LB Hunter Buczkowski; WR-QB Kalebb Perry; WR/DB Obie Ricumstrict; junior LB Logan Buczkowski; Slot/DB Jake Mogg; OT Billy Tithof; junior OG Sean Fitzgerald; DB Zach Heeke; NG Adam Zainea.
Coach: Jason McIntyre, ninth season at Mt. Pleasant (79-25).
Overview: If Perry (WMU), who will be a receiver in college, comes through at QB, the Oilers will be outstanding. Ricumstrict is a terrific receiver and Hunter Buczkowski (CMU) bulled his way for 1,145 yards and 10 TDs a year ago. Mogg will also be a threat running the ball. Tithof and Fitzgerald offer protection for Perry. Heeke and Zainea are standouts on a quality defense.
All players seniors unless noted.
Last season: 6-4.
Top players: QB Paul Hurley, TE-WR/LB Mitch Heimbuch, WR Brad Tanner, RB/LB Lucas Schimon.
Coach: Jason Couch and Curt Reinas, 13th season as co-head coaches (82-42).
Overview: There is a lot of talent in the skill positions as Romeo seeks its 12th consecutive state playoff spot. The Bulldogs will score a lot of points, but don’t think they will have to score much each week to win. With eight returning starters, Romeo will be difficult to run against thanks to diminutive tackles — Jake Hernden (5-feet-8, 180 pounds) and Joe Meyers (5-9, 170) — who are tough to block.
22. Allen Park
Last season: 8-2
Top players: Junior QB Antonio Mangiapane, C/NG Ryan Compean, OT/DT Sean Stephens, TE/LB J.R. Whiteford, junior FB/LB Tyler Marsee, junior DB/RB Reid Paffhausen, RB Nate Berrelez.
Coach: Tom Hoover, 20th season at Allen Park (161-48).
Overview: The Jags lost 25 seniors last year, but return seven starters on each side of the ball. When Mangiapane rolls out, he is a threat running and passing. Compean and Stephens will be stalwarts on both sides of the ball.
23. Birm. Brother Rice
Last year: 11-1.
Top players: LB Jeff Timko, DE-LB Riley Maher, LB Ryan McWood, junior TE Carter Dunaway, junior OT Octaveious Miles, junior OG Larry Borom, OT Sterling McCarrall.
Coach: Dave Sofran, second season.
Overview: This is a switch — not one senior as a Division I scholarship offer yet. There is not a lot of experience after Rice graduated 20 seniors who had a school-record 33-game winning streak snapped in the regional final. In Miles (6-5, 275), Borom (6-6, 310) and McCarrall (6-3, 285), the Warriors have tremendous size, and if these three develop, Rice could be good.
Last year: 4-5.
Top players: QB Brett Chaperon, OT Dan Collins, junior OG Will Manson, DB Thomas Lassiter, DB Trevor Wetzel, LB Joe Senecal, LB Bobby McQueen.
Coach: Aaron Metz, eighth season (44-27).
Overview: This is a sleeper pick that could be better than anyone imagines. The keys are better starts in games and converting on third down. The Highlanders won some big games last season, and three losses easily could have been wins. Chaperon passed for 1,290 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and will have good protection this season. Wetzel is a ballhawk in the secondary, which gets good support up front.
25. Lake Orion
Last year: 4-5.
Top players: OT Brendan Thompson, C Josh Benson, junior OT/DL Nick Novak, junior slot Max Horneffer, DB/WR Jaylen Wiggins, sophomore QB Caden Prieskorn, DB Drew Casey, LB Jack McClear, LB Bay Smart, DL Cameron Shadaia, junior RB Keith Fields.
Coach: Chris Bell, 18th season (140-49).
Overview: The Dragons will be big and athletic and ready to bounce back from their first losing season in 18 years. They have three-year starters in McClear and Smart, who will make the defense better than the unit that gave up an average of more than 27 points game last season, the most in almost 50 years. Wiggins (Toledo) is a shutdown corner and a threat to score every time he catches a pass.