Yes there will be football
And yes your team is going to make it to the playoffs.
How can I be sure?
Because just like they do in basketball everyone gets an invite to the dance this year.
The football playoffs began in 1975 with 16 teams including four from each of the 4 divisions competing.
In 1977 it was expanded to include 32 teams.
Eight years later it was doubled again to 64 with 8 teams from each of the 4 regions and four divisions in the hunt.
1990 saw further growth as the 4 divisions doubled into 8 and 128 teams played beyond the regular schedule
Finally in 1999 a 5 week, 256 team format including all squads with 6 or more wins and a few with 5 wins or even 4 qualifying, if slots needed to be filled.
And now the post season party is bringing in all teams who take the field.
So how have our local teams fared in the second season?
White Cloud has been in twice, the first time in 1987 when they won their first game then got beaten by Beal City who went to the finals. The last was in 2003 when their current players were either just out of the womb or not yet born. That year they lost to Oakridge who also ended up playing in the finals.
Newaygo made their first trip to the post in 1993 and has played past the regular season 13 times including the last three years in a row and 6 of the last 8. Included in their 5 playoff wins is the definitive 2012 win over Reed City, a team that had humbled them in week 4. That game began a rivalry that has endured in the CSAA Gold and carried over into all other sports..The next game that season was a loss to West Catholic who were on their way to the finals.
Fremont found their way into the playoffs for the first time in 1999 and made 7 visits the next 11 years winning a pair of games. Their last time in was 2013 when they shook off an 0-2 start to win 6 of their last 7 and the last postseason win came over Spring Lake in 2005 5 weeks after the Lakers beat them by 3 touchdowns.
Grant didn’t play a 10th game until 2003 and the Tigers have made 5 more appearances since including 3 of the last 4 seasons. Their one win? A classic victory over archrival Newaygo just 2 weeks after being beaten by those same Lions.
Hesperia also has been in 6 times the first in 1986 but have yet to win a postseason game. The last time in they drew Pewamo Westphalia only to become tone of 5 teams the Pirates sank on their way to the first of their 2 straight state championships
And finally, Holton. 1988 was their first and 11 years later they were in for the second time. In 2006 and 2007 they won their first postseason games but were eliminated by Muskegon CC Central each time in game 2. You recall the Crusaders, the team that has been in the finals 12 times winning 10 titles? The last time the Red Devils made it in was that magical season two years ago when they lost the last 3 games of the season then went on a stunning run to the semi finals losing to eventual state champion Reading.
And if all goes well each team will be adding to their playoff history.