Are you ready for some football?
Tonight, the 2019 season kicks off with nine of our 10 local high school teams seeing action. New Lothrop has the lone Friday game, taking on Lake City.
I’m looking forward to another fun season and I’m grateful I managed (somehow) to win last year’s contest. Skill had nothing to do with anything, really. If anyone thinks it’s skill involved in prognostications, they forget the biggest elements — luck and happenstance.
Football is really impossible to forecast, especially at this time of year. No way of knowing anything about teams this week with so many new faces and new positions being filled. So it’s strictly a stab in the dark, especially high school games.
It will be especially exciting to see how our two state title teams from last year, New Lothrop and Morrice, fare. Also another major storyline is having both Owosso and Corunna in the Flint Metro Stars Division. The Metro broke into two divisions this fall. We’ll have to wait another six weeks for the big Backyard Brawl between the Trojans and the Cavaliers.
Here are the picks and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Stay safe.
Owosso at Lansing Eastern
The Trojans have a good senior class led by the Brothers Blaha (Colton and Hunter) and Owosso is hoping that improved team strength will pay off in 2019. Owosso — just 1-8 last year — still has to silence its critics and a road win would be a good start. The Quakers have struggled mightily the past six seasons, going 0-9 in five and 1-8 the other year . .. Owosso 35, Lansing Eastern 21.
Hemlock at Corunna
A 1-8 season last year didn’t sit well with the Cavalier nation after going 8-2, 9-3 and 5-4 the previous three years. A more experienced Corunna squad hopes to “Turn the Page,” in 2019. There’s no “Lookin Back,” for the Cavaliers tonight as they hope to show some “Night Moves,” to Hemlock. Nick Steinacker, a 6-foot-7 defensive end may cause some havoc tonight for the Huskies, a Class C squad which went 8-2 last season … Hemlock 28, Corunna 20.
Laingsburg at Perry
Coach Brian Borgman and his Wolfpack will face Perry in a nonconference battle. It’s a game that I’m not sure of and can only guess that this goes to the ‘Pack, which has more experience coming back … Laingsburg 28, Perry 13.
Benzie Central at Chesaning
Last season, Benzie defeated Chesaning by a point, 22-21, and the Huskies made the playoffs during a 6-4 campaign. Chesaning is trying to hit the ground running this fall but may experience growing pains following the graduation of passing/receiving superstars Cole Higley and Jacob Turnwald … Benzie Central 28, Chesaning 14.
Morrice at Kingston
The Orioles must replace virtually all of their starters from last season’s state title team which went 13-0. It’s more than just quarterback Hunter Nowak that the Orioles will miss, but a talented and seasoned offensive line and a whole lot of other people. Still, coach Kendall Crockett is one of the best football minds in the business. It remains to be seen how talented his newcomers are, especially against the likes of a team that fared 8-2 last fall … Kingston 35, Morrice 28.
Ovid-Elsie at Portland
It’s been a while — 10 years — since the Marauders have beaten the Red Raiders as Portland has established itself as a perennial powerhouse. Ovid-Elsie will be led by the 1-2 running punch of Cooper Beard and Shayne Loynes.
Still, Portland should have a few more weapons … Portland 42, Ovid-Elsie 14.
Capac at Durand
Durand is going to a three-running back offense in 2019 to take advantage of a big offensive line, led by 6-foot-8, 340-pounder Evan Egan, who will be playing at Eastern Michigan. I sensed a lot of confidence emanating from the Railroad City, which recently hosted Grand Funk founder Mark Farner in concert. Tonight at Roundhouse Stadium could be “Some Kind of Wonderful” for Durand … Durand 28, Capac 17.
Williamston at Byron
Williamston went 10-3 last fall and Byron went 5-5 but I’m going with the Hornets as the Eagles have a new quarterback and that’s an important position to fill … Williamston 27, Byron 13.
New Lothrop at Lake City
This will be a rematch of last season’s state semifinal won by the Hornets, 50-44.
The Hornets return quarterback Avery Moore and some others and I’m going to go with New Lothrop but this game is another hard one to predict … New Lothrop 35, Lake City 31.
Tulsa at No. 18 MSU (-22.5)
Michigan State never seems to cover the big spreads (and they won’t this time) even though the Spartans should be stronger than last season. I’m hoping that Brian Lewerke is a bit healthier this season and can actually follow through on his passes. Tulsa is no world beater and won’t beat MSU, at least I don’t think so … Michigan State 35, Tulsa 17
Middle Tennessee at No. 7 Michigan (-33.5)
I think that Michigan can cover the spread with its new offense installed. The Wolverines will be a high-powered machine … Michigan 50, Middle Tennessee 14.
No. 11 Oregon at No. 16 Auburn (-3.5)
I’m going with Auburn to take this one … Auburn 28, Oregon 24.