Football Frenzy: State titles up for grabs

Grand Rapids West Catholic wins the Division 5 state championship at Ford Field on Nov. 26, 2016.

DETROIT (WOOD) — Ford Field will welcome five West Michigan football teams this weekend as the MHSAA championships take place on Friday and Saturday.

Here’s a look at the games involving local teams:

Division 3: Farmington Hills Harrison (10-3) vs Muskegon (13-0)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: In a matchup of two of the most winningest programs in the state, the Big Reds are chasing an elusive state crown.

Muskegon has finished runner-up in four trips to the state finals the last five seasons, but is poised to finally break through behind standout quarterback La’Darius Jefferson and a stout defense.

The Big Reds cruised to an easy 42-0 win over Battle Creek Harper Creek in the semifinals as Jefferson accounted for five touchdowns.

Farmington Hills Harrison is led by the state’s winningest coach, John Herrington, who has won 13 state titles.

Division 4: Edwardsburg (12-1) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (13-0)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Unbeaten Catholic Central will defend its 2016 state title when it takes on Edwardsburg, which is making its first appearance in the state finals.

The Cougars knocked off Escanaba in the semifinals, while the Eddies defeated River Rouge. C

atholic Central quarterback Jack Bowen is 25-1 the last two seasons, and teammate Nolan Fugate has rushed for 2,650 yards and 32 touchdowns. Fugate also is the Cougars’ all-time leading rusher with 4,081 yards.

The two teams last met in 2010 in the Division 4 semifinals with Catholic Central winning 46-31 en route to a state crown. The Eddie have lost only six games in the last five years.

Division 5: Grand Rapids West Catholic (11-2) vs. Saginaw Swan Valley (12-1)

When: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

Outlook: West Catholic is chasing history as it hopes to join only a handful of teams to win five consecutive state titles.

The Falcons, coached by Joe Hyland, have reached the state finals six straight years. They lost in the 2012 final to Portland before their recent streak. West Catholic, which rallied from a 21-0 deficit to Frankenmuth in the semifinals to win 25-21, is led by quarterback Gaetano Vallone.

Swan Valley will make its first appearance in the state finals in school history and has been sparked by senior running back Emmett Boehler.

Division 7: Saugatuck (10-3) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (12-1)

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Outlook: Saugatuck will play in the state finals for only the second time in school history and first since 2010, when it lost to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart.

The Indians, which have recorded at least 10 wins the past three seasons, upset previously unbeaten Madison Heights Madison 14-7 in the semifinals.

Each of Saugatuck’s playoff wins have been by sevent points or less. Pewamo-Westphalia is the defending Division 7 state champions and routed Lake City 51-8 to reach the finals.

Bryce Thelen and Jimmy Lehman pace the Pirates’ offensive attack.

This will be the fourth postseason meeting in the past five years between the two schools.

The Pirates ended the Indians’ season in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

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