Birmingham Groves receiver Eli Turner is pursed by a host of Birmingham Seaholm defenders in a game earlier this season at Seaholm. The winner of this game will move on to face either Port Huron High or St. Clair Shores Lakeview in a regional final.

Birmingham Groves receiver Eli Turner is pursed by a host of Birmingham Seaholm defenders in a game earlier this season at Seaholm. The winner of this game will move on to face either Port Huron High or St. Clair Shores Lakeview in a regional final.

Photo by Brian Sevald


Herbert’s Huddle: Playoff race thickens in district final round

By: Jacob Herbert | Online Only | Published November 7, 2019

 Utica Eisenhower quarterback Blake Rastigue looks for an outlet Nov. 1 in a first round playoff game against Rochester Adams. The Eagles and Lake Orion High fill fight for the right to move on and face either Davison High or Lapeer High in a regional final.

Utica Eisenhower quarterback Blake Rastigue looks for an outlet Nov. 1 in a first round playoff game against Rochester Adams. The Eagles and Lake Orion High fill fight for the right to move on and face either Davison High or Lapeer High in a regional final.

Photo by Mariusz Nowak

 Royal Oak Shrine coach Oscar Olejniczak huddles with his team during a first round playoff game against Ottawa Lake Whiteford. The Knights get a familiar foe in a D-8 district final as they met Britton-Deerfield in the regular season.

Royal Oak Shrine coach Oscar Olejniczak huddles with his team during a first round playoff game against Ottawa Lake Whiteford. The Knights get a familiar foe in a D-8 district final as they met Britton-Deerfield in the regular season.

Photo by Donna Agusti

The first week of the state playoffs has come and gone but not without plenty of excitement as some of the best teams in the southeast Michigan were upset and sent home early. 

Week 1 saw Farmington High, of the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, knock off OAA White Champ Oak Park high and Macomb Dakota take care of defending Division 1 state champion Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. 

While it’s not yet certain that this week will be as exciting, there are plenty of matchups between high-caliber teams that could make for some exhilarating performances. 

Following is a look at some of those games.

Crosstown Rivals: Part 2

Birmingham Seaholm (7-3) at Birmingham Groves (8-2) — 7 p.m. Nov. 8

The Maples and Falcons are set to battle for the second time in four weeks. During the regular season, Groves topped Seaholm 35-14 in a game in which the Falcons led by one point at the half. 

Coach Jim DeWald’s Maples are fresh off a 55-34 win over Macomb Area Conference Gold Division co-champion Sterling Heights High while Brendan Flaherty’s Falcons were automatically placed in a Division 2 district final game due to a forfeit by Warren De La Salle.

The past seven times these two teams have met the Falcons have come out on top. However, Seaholm holds a 40-21 lead in the all-time series. Seholm also leads Groves in points for (356-299) while the Groves defense leads in points against (160-206)

MAC vs. OAA

Utica Eisenhower (8-2) at Lake Orion High (9-1) — 7 p.m. Nov. 8

For the second week in a row, a team from the OAA Red and MAC Red will face off in the D-1 playoffs. Eisenhower knocked off Rochester Adams 24-0 last week to advance to its seventh district final in the last 10 years.

The Eagles test this week will likely get tougher as Lake Orion finished as the runner up in the OAA Red. Their only conference loss, and only loss on the season, came to Red Division champ West Bloomfield High.

Last week Lake Orion had its hands full, but ultimately came out on top 21-14 over Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.

Eisenhower holds a slight 5-3 advantage in the all-time series but the Dragons have won the past three meetings including a 10-7 win in a 2012 district final. That was the last time the two teams got together.

Regular-season rematch

Britton-Deerfield (6-4) at Royal Oak Shrine (8-2) — 1 p.m. Nov. 9

Six weeks into the regular season, Shrine was undefeated. In Week 7, Britton-Deerfield handed the Knights their first loss of the season by a score of 30-14. After Shrine beat Ottawa Lake Whiteford 21-16 in the D-7 predistrict round, coach Oscar Olejniczak promised the Patriots would see a different Shrine football team.

Both offenses have been able to score north of 300 total points. However, there’s a difference in the defenses as the Patriots have allowed 209 more points than the Knights. 

The winner of this game, which is the second all-time meeting between the two schools, will move on to face either Flint Beecher or Fowler High in the regional final.