Michigan Collegiate football looking to get back to playoffs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Warren Weekly | Published October 19, 2015


WARREN — The Warren Michigan Collegiate football team is right on the doorstep of its seventh consecutive trip to the state playoffs.

At 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the Charter School League at press time, the Cougars need one win in their last two games to secure a playoff berth. The Cougars took on Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (5-2, 4-0 Charter School League) Oct. 16, after press time, in a game that crowned the division champ. Chanlder Park Academy won the league in 2014. Michigan Collegiate was looking for its first division title since 2011.

Michigan Collegiate’s Week 9 opponent wasn’t set at press time, according to coach John Guth. A win in one of those last two games ensures that the Cougars, who were on a four-game win streak through Week 7, will once again be a part of the postseason.

The team, though, could possibly sneak into the playoffs even if it goes winless in its last two games.

According to the MHSAA, for football, postseason inclusion is determined by wins and a computer point value, calculated for each team based upon its record and strength of schedule, with the top 256 teams (including all teams with six victories if playing a nine-game schedule) qualifying. These 256 teams are then ordered by enrollment and divided into eight divisions of 32 teams each. That means there are teams that could qualify for the postseason with a 5-4 record if they played a strong schedule.

Through Week 7, Michigan Collegiate sat at No. 192 in the MHSAA playoff point standings — ahead of a number of squads with more wins at this point in the season. Guth said this year’s schedule is the toughest in team history. The team’s two losses are to 7-0 Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and 6-1 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Guth said he made the schedule difficult because he knows his team must face stiff competition to prepare for any possible postseason trip.

“We have a goal — not to miss the playoffs,” Cougars junior quarterback Jorden Marks said. “As long as we keep working hard, we’ll be fine.”

Guth said his team is still learning. At times, it plays sound football, but it is still prone to make mistakes. He added that his team has had to learn that hard work and effort are key parts of the game.

“No team can win on talent alone. You have to work hard and play your hearts out every week,” said Guth, whose team has an average margin of victory of 12.6 points per game. “We’ve been behind in games. This team doesn’t give up. They’re young and aggressive. The fight they possess has gotten us to this point. Now we have to finish strong.”

The team has leaned on its run game and defense, Guth said. Marks has also been solid when called upon to make plays. Junior running back Shawn Jackson leads the rushing attack.

“When our offense is clicking, we’re tough to stop,” Guth said. “We can play against anybody. That’s because of the talent we have and the system we run.”

That talent includes senior linebacker Renaldo Smith, senior defensive lineman Justin Johnson, senior linebacker Josh Stewart and senior defensive back Jamell Green. Each of those players also has a role on offense.

That talent has to be at the forefront as the regular season comes to a close.

Guth said he told his players two weeks ago that the playoffs had already begun. They responded with a 16-14 win over Detroit Old Redford Academy and a 54-6 win over Harper Woods High.

“We have to finish the season strong,”