TRAVERSE CITY — Sunday morning was full of pleasant surprises for football teams in the greater Traverse City area.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s playoff-point standings were finalized after 13 Saturday games. And in the end, players for many area schools on the playoff bubble woke up north of the top-32 qualifying mark.

Dates and times for most first-round matchups have not been announced.

Division 1

Traverse City West (6-3) made the playoffs — despite two late-season setbacks to Marquette and Detroit Catholic Central — but won’t be hosting its first-round game with Grandville (6-3).

The Titans will take the No. 3 seed in a district with Grand Ledge and Rockford on the other end.

Division 2

Traverse City Central (8-1) earned the No. 1 seed in its district with Saginaw Heritage, Midland Dow and Bay City Western. The Trojans finished with the fourth-most playoff points in Division 2.

Central will host Heritage (4-5) in the first round and will have the luxury of a home district final if they win. For the Trojans to host regionals, however, they’ll need help from Muskegon Mona Shores, Forest Hills Central or Byron Center. Should any of those three beat Caledonia, Central hosts a state quarterfinal game.

A Mona Shores-Central rematch at Thirlby would be interesting — as both schools were conference foes in the old Lake Michigan Athletic Conference and the Trojans lost to the Sailors in last season’s semifinals.

Division 5

Kingsley drew a heavily competitive district after the Stags’ Week Nine loss to Traverse City St. Francis.

The Stags (8-1) host Kingsford (6-3) in the first round. Kingsley hosts a district final if Clare (6-3) avenges a mid-season loss to Gladwin (9-0) on the other side of the bracket. Gladwin beat Clare for the first time since 1981 in a 48-42 thriller that featured 1,000 yards of total offense.

Division 6

Glen Lake is in the playoffs with a record of 4-5 after its week nine win over Mancelona. Lake City was not selected, despite holding a record of 5-4. The Lakers five losses came from teams that now hold a 38-5 combined record, while the Trojans played one game against a fellow Division 6 school.

Glen Lake will earn a first-round road trip to Standish-Sterling. Grayling and Boyne City — who met in last year’s district final at Boyne City — will play in a first-round matchup this year in Grayling on the other side of the bracket.

Whoever advances from this district has a good chance at hosting a quarterfinal. Negaunee (7-2) has the most playoff points on the other side with an all-U.P. district at 41.01 and Glen Lake is the only team with less than that. Grayling hosted Negaunee in last year’s quarters.

Manistee (5-4) plays at Reed City (8-1) in a different region.

Division 7

Traverse City St. Francis (9-0) holds the most playoff points in a region full of Northern Michigan teams. The Gladiators will host if they advance to the quarterfinals. Harrison (6-3) travels to Thirlby to face the Gladiators in the first round. McBain (6-3) plays at Evart (7-2) on the other side of the district.

Also in the region are several fellow Northern Michigan Football Conference teams that ended up on the right end of the 32-team postseason cut.

The East Jordan Red Devils (7-2) were the 32nd and final team to qualify for the D-7 playoffs and will make a trip over the Mackinac Bridge to play Ishpeming Westwood (8-1) after beating Frankfort in Week Nine. The Patriots have allowed less than 10 points in seven of their wins.

The winner of that game meets the winner of Mancelona (5-3) at Charlevoix (7-1). Those two NMFC-Leaders foes teams met in week eight, with the Rayders winning 28-20.

Division 8

Frankfort (6-3) will play at Iron Mountain (6-3) in the first round. The Panthers host a district final in the event they win and Bark River-Harris (6-3) pulls off an upset at Beal City (8-1).

8-Player Division 1

Suttons Bay (9-0) will get a rematch from its Saturday game with Mesick (5-4). Suttons Bay won that game 48-18. The Norseman will host the Bulldogs this time around.

Mesick won a playoff game last fall for the first time in school history. Suttons Bay will eye a run for what could be its third-straight appearance in the state championship game.

8-Player Division 2 

Gaylord St. Mary (5-4) moves down to Division 2 this year and gets a first-round game at Marion (8-1).

The two teams have faced a common opponent over the last two years. The Eagles' only loss this year was to Suttons Bay on Oct. 8. The Snowbirds ended their season last year with a loss at Suttons Bay. 

Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR

Trending Video

Recommended for you