Buczek: Glen Lake, Pine River Look to Continue Historic Seasons

As the high school football season continues to wind down, among the seven local programs still in the hunt for a state championship are two that are having historic seasons.

Rallying for a 14-7 win over Morley Stanwood last Friday, Pine River (8-3) secured its program’s first district championship since 2014 and second overall. The Bucks were the surprise team in the Highland Conference this fall, winning the league title for the first time since 1999, doing so in outright fashion.

Pine River will face a ninth-ranked Ravenna (9-2) team with a storied postseason tradition. The Bulldogs made three consecutive state semifinal appearances from 2008-2010 and have four state titles to their credit, last winning it all in the 2003 Division 6 final.

A win for Pine River would give the Bucks their first regional championship.

Heading north to Leelanau County, sixth-ranked Glen Lake (9-2) is fresh off capturing its first postseason championship of any kind since reaching the Class DD finals in 1996.

The 1994 Class DD champions, Glen Lake’s only two blemishes this season have come against Division 7 No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis (21-13) and Division 8 No. 6 Frankfort (26-21).

Glen Lake finds itself pitted against a tough Calumet (10-1) team ranked fourth in Division 6. The Copper Kings avenged a Week 2 loss to No. 1 Negaunee by pulling off a 6-0 upset in last week’s district final.

Winners of the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference, Calumet has never appeared in a state semifinal.

What to watch in Week 12

Pickford (10-1) at 8P No. 1 Powers North Central (11-0) Friday, 7 p.m. – The Panthers are in the state semifinals for the first time since making consecutive appearances in the Class D semifinals in 1990 and 1991. Pickford rallied late in the fourth quarter of last week’s regional final to pull off a 30-28 win over No. 3 Engadine. The defending 8-player state champions, Powers North Central has won 25 straight, dating back to 2014.

D7 No. 2 Pewamo-Westphalia (11-0) at D7 No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis (11-0) Saturday, 1 p.m. – One of the best matchups in the state this weekend, this marks the first meeting between the two. The 2015 Division 7 state runner-up, Pewamo-Westphalia has made four state semifinal appearances since 2011. St. Francis handed Iron Mountain a 54-6 loss in last week’s district final.

D8 No. 9 Norway (9-2) at D8 No. 3 St. Ignace (10-1) Saturday, 1 p.m. – These two last met in a 2002 Division 7 district final, with Norway winning 21-13. St. Ignace has been cruising in the first two weeks of the playoffs, while Norway just registered a 40-16 win over No. 4 and previously unbeaten Lake Linden-Hubbell.

D8 No. 6 Frankfort (11-0) at D8 No. 1 Muskegon Catholic Central (11-0) Saturday, 1 p.m. – This is a rematch of last year’s regional final. The Crusaders have won 17 straight, including rallying in the fourth quarter for a 22-12 win in the 2015 regional and have won three consecutive Division 8 state titles. Frankfort is looking for its first semifinal bid since making consecutive appearances in 2008 and 2009.

D5 No. 5 Menominee (10-1) at D5 No. 8 Reed City (11-0) Saturday, 5 p.m. – Fresh off its second district title in three years, Reed City has won 11 games in a season for the first time in program history and is eyeing its first semifinal berth. Menominee has been rolling this postseason, upending Kalkaska (41-13) and Grayling (61-7). The Maroons won the last meeting in 2010, 41-22.

Categories: Football