With one week down in the state playoff tournament, were on to the District Championship round….
This round really starts to show who the really good teams are in this tournament, as the teams who pulled a first round upset usually get weeded out in this week's slate of games.
Let's get right to it as Lake Orion plays a home game against the always tough squad from Utica Eisenhower. These teams last met in the playoffs in 2010 with Lake Orion winning, 17-10.
Lake Orion comes into this big game with a sparkling 9-1 record, and has played well on both sides of the ball this season. Last week they dismantled Sterling Heights Stevenson 35-0 behind a great all-around performance. Senior quarterback Derek DeLaura was on the mark all night throwing 206 yards and three touchdown passes. His favorite target is senior Chaz Miller who caught two of those touchdowns. The Dragons scored 28 first half points and never let Stevenson sniff the end zone. As it has been all year, Lake Orion has used three talented running backs who accounted for 194 yards on the ground last week. Coach Chris Bell has his team playing at a top notch level and they are going to be very tough to stop this week.
Last week Utica Eisenhower battled up and coming Warren Mott and blanked them, 28-0. The Eagles always seem to play their best when it comes playoff time and that was evident last week. The 8-2 team held the ball for the majority of the game, and was able to get both their offense and defense clicking. Quarterback Joe Zerafa only threw two incomplete passes and tossed two huge scores. Both of those td passes were to his main man junior receiver Dan Chmielewski. Ike coach Chris Smith will be looking for a similar performance this week if they are to pull out the victory against a rock solid opponent like Lake Orion.
I see this one being a physical battle throughout and whoever gets in field goal position late will come out with this victory.
Lieutenant Dan's Prediction: Lake Orion 13, Utica Eisenhower 10
Another matchup this week that will be one of the more physical games out there is Grand Blanc hitting the road to take on undefeated Clarkston
Grand Blanc pulled one of the major upsets of last week as they took down the heavy favorite Carman-Ainsworth, 30-26. This was not a surprise to them, as they have pulled big time upsets in the last two state playoffs. Senior quarterback Bart Williams was on point last week throwing for 403 yards and three TD's. He even added a touchdown on the ground, which helped showcase his running ability. Bart Williams was an all-state quarterback last year, so this performance was no surprise to him. Coach John Delany has all the confidence in the world in his signal caller and will need him more than ever if they are to pull another upset this week.
The always powerful Clarkston Wolves come in to this one seemingly unstoppable and very possibly the favorite to take home the Division 1 state championship. The Wolves crushed Davison last week, 41-0. Running back Ian Eriksen was fed the ball early and often as he accounted for 105 yards on the ground and three scores. Quarterback DJ Zezuala was only asked to throw six passes in this one, but was still able to throw for 159 yards and a touchdown. The defense was its usual physical self not letting Davison get anything going and shutting them out. If Clarkston plays the way they have all year it will be very tough for Grand Blanc.
I see this one being closer than people expect early, with Clarkston pulling away in the second half
Lieutenant Dan's Prediction: Clarkston 35, Grand Blanc 17