Buczek: Saving the Best for Last
The final week of the high school football regular season is upon us, with an anticipated matchup in the Bridge Alliance and the annual showdown for the Northern Michigan Football League Legends Division championship between Traverse City St. Francis and Boyne City.
Thursday, Oct. 19
No. 1 Pickford (8-0) at Rudyard (7-1) – Rudyard has won seven straight since a Week 1 loss to Cedarville. Rudyard leads the all-time series at 31-19, but Cedarville has won three straight against the Bulldogs. The Panthers have already secured at least a share of a Bridge Alliance title and a win gives them an outright title.
Friday, Oct. 20
Division 6 HM Lake City (8-0) at Morley Stanwood (7-1) – Lake City is looking to complete its first 9-0 season since the playoffs began in 1975. The Mohawks are seeking their first eight-win season since 2011 and won last year’s inaugural meeting, 28-13. Morley Stanwood has only allowed 95 points this season.
Division 7 No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis (8-0, 6-0 NMFL Legends) at Division 5 No. 5 Boyne City (7-0, 6-0) – The Gladiators have won 30 straight regular season games and haven’t lost since a 28-27 overtime win by Boyne City in Week 5 of the 2014 season. This matchup has settled the NMFL Legends champion each of the last three years, with St. Francis owning a 29-9 record against Boyne City. The Gladiators are only allowing 5.6 points per game, while the Ramblers are surrendering 9.3.
Suttons Bay (5-3) at Mesick (5-3) – Mesick has won five games in a season for the first time since 1999 and can solidify a playoff bid for the first time since 1995 with a win. The Bulldogs have won three in a row, but the Norseman lead the all-time series at 29-16 and have their sights set on the playoffs, too.
Chippewa Hills (6-2) at Beal City (4-4) – These two met for the first time a year ago, with Chippewa Hills winning 27-7. The Warriors have already locked up their seventh straight playoff bid, while the Aggies need a win to have an outside shot. Beal City has lost two straight coming in and last missed the playoffs in 1999.
Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (6-2) at Division 8 No. 4 Saginaw Nouvel (8-0) – Sacred Heart has won five straight and secured its 10th straight playoff bid with a win over Coleman last week. The Irish have not had a losing season since 2003, but dropped last year’s meeting to Nouvel, 35-7. Nouvel holds a 2-0 all-time series lead.