NEWS: Undefeated Harbor Beach can clinch the outright Greater Thumb East football championship Friday night with a win on the road at Mayville.
VIEWS: Not only should the Pirates roll to an 8-0 record, they will probably be able to sew up at least two home playoff games with a victory.
And, if they can win their Week 9 matchup against Unionville-Sebewaing Area, they will more than likely secure home field through the regional.
The Pirates have been impressive on both sides of the ball, but according to coach Troy Schelke, they are still looking to improve and put four quarters together in the same game.
Nevertheless, they have answered five consecutive challenges, dating back to early September when they beat a very good Reese squad. Since then, they’ve knocked off Brown City, Ubly, Marlette and Sandusky.
It’s a nice turnaround for a program that hasn’t made the playoffs since its 2007 state semifinals run.
NEWS: Reese can clinch the outright Greater Thumb West title with a win against Bay City All Saints on Friday.
VIEWS: Like the Pirates, the Rockets shouldn’t have much trouble disposing of the Cougars.
In an odd twist, Friday’s game at BCAS is Reese’s final contest of the regular season. The Rockets do not have a Week 9 game scheduled.
NEWS: As of today, only Harbor Beach has clinched a playoff spot of all the teams in the Tribune’s coverage area.
VIEWS: The only guarantee this week is that either Deckerville or Ubly will secure a berth. Both of those teams are 5-2 and meet at Deckerville on Friday night.
If the Bearcats win, the Eagles will then have to beat a pretty good Armada squad on the road in Week 9 to guarantee their ticket. They could still qualify on points at 5-4, but that would be tempting fate.
USA is the only other area team with a chance. The 4-3 Patriots, who qualified last season at 5-4, have a rough road with games against Sandusky and Harbor Beach.
Non-area teams which have qualified include Vassar and Marlette.
In 8-man, Owendale-Gagetown looks like it will be one of the 16 teams to qualify for the official first-ever 8-man playoffs, regardless of what it does the rest of the season.
Those schools with 8-player teams will be ranked by playoff average at season’s end, and the top 16 programs will be drawn into regions of eight teams each for the playoffs in that division.
NEWS: Rumor has it that ALL the schools in the North Central Thumb League will be playing 8-man football next season.
VIEWS: This certainly is a contradiction to what some NCTL coaches said at the start of the season. A couple were adamant that they wanted to stay with an 11-man program, regardless of what some of the other schools did.
Apparently, NCTL schools have discussed this over the past month, and they will be announcing the change some time in November.
In short, this whole thing is a mess. NCTL schools wishing to stay with an 11-man program should merge with the GTC and form a football conference. This should have been hashed out a few years ago.
There is a way to do it. Some creative scheduling (ie. work) would have made it possible.
I have nothing against the 8-man game. But it will be simply shocking to see programs like Deckerville, North Huron and Kingston playing 8-man.
Mike Bogan is the Daily Tribune’s editor. He also serves as sports editor.