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Orchard Lake

November 15, 2012

Football championships set to invade Ford Field in last weekend of 2012 season

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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St. Mary’s defenders Marshal Scott (51), Grant Niemiec (32) and Sean Harrington (36) close in on an Avondale runner during a playoff game. St. Mary’s was one of four defending champs still alive at press time in the 2012 postseason.

Thousands across the state share the dream, but the chance of realizing it remains reserved for a select few.

The road has been long — more than a year in the making and filled with twists and turns.

And now, those with a post-Thanksgiving appetite for some of the best football high school has to offer can get their fill at Ford Field with the Division 1-8 state championships.

“For the teams that get the opportunity to play in these games, it’s the realization of the season’s biggest goal,” MHSAA Communications Director John Johnson said of the state finals, set for Nov. 23-24. “These kids aren’t just playing for a championship, but they have the chance to play on, likely, the biggest stage they’ll ever see. And that’s what this should be about.”

The Division 8 final begins the weekend, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. Nov. 23.

The D-2 game kicks at 1 p.m., followed by the D-6 final at 4:30 p.m. and the D-4 final at 7:30 p.m.

On Nov. 24, the D-7 final begins the day at 10 a.m., followed by the D-1 final at 1 p.m., the D-5 final at 4:30 p.m., and the last game of the 2012 season, the D-3 final at 7:30 p.m.

Individual tickets are $10 per day and are good for all four games that day.

Johnson said most parking within walking distance to Ford Field is $6, adding that the finals weekend averages between 60,000 and 65,000 people every year.

“The team’s have their own fans that show up, but you’ll also get a number of people that show up simply because they love high school football,” Johnson said. “These are teams they’ve maybe read about or players they’ve heard about, and they get the chance to go see them live. … It’s not a bad deal, either, when you can go all day for $10. It’s a pretty good bargain.”

At press time, 32 teams were still vying for the final 16 spots.

Of those 32 playing in Nov. 17 semifinals, four defending champs — Detroit Cass Tech (D-1), Birmingham Brother Rice (D-2), Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (D-3) and Ithaca High (D-6) — were still alive, while three runners up from 2011 — Novi Detroit Catholic Central (D-1), Constantine High (D-6) and Pewamo-Westphalia (D-7) — remained in contention.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.