Other qualifiers were SMCC(regional), Bedford, Summerfield, Huron, Ida, Flat Rock, Carlson and Milan.
League Champions were, Riverview(Huron) and Whiteford(TCC).
Airport failed to cash in on a fast and fun start to the season by losing their last 4 of 5. Dundee’s season seemed to be a bit snake bitten as they lost close game after close game. Erie Mason continued it’s 1-8 trend, however their offense had more of a spark. Grosse Ile showed signs that good things may be in store in ’18 however finishing 2-7. Jefferson may have been the best 0-9 team in the state with so many close losses. Monroe was one win away from a probable playoff birth with a tough loss to Fordson in week 9. Let’s take a more in depth look at each team and see how they fared in 2017 through the eyes of FNV’s Gary Hauf.
CARLETON AIRPORT JETS (4-5, 2-5 HURON)
The Jets opened the season with 4 thrilling games. Beating Dundee, GI, and Jefferson by a combined 8 points, while losing to Huron by 1 point, in the waning seconds. Airport then followed up with 4 blowout losses by a combined 67 points, before the season ending contest versus Tecumseh, in-which they played a fantastic game, winning 25-24. The Jet defense seemed to let them down in the latter half of the season, giving up 36.6 ppg in their final 5 games.
TEMPERANCE BEDFORD KICKING MULES (6-4, 4-1 SEC RED)
2017 saw Bedford start the season quite strong with a 6-1 record, it’s only loss being to a quality opponent in Saline. In fact, all 4 of the Mules losses were to playoff teams. The offense seemed to sputter a bit in their losses, averaging a pedestrian 16 ppg in those contests. Bedford did manage to make the playoffs for the 7th time in 9 years.
GIBRALTAR CARLSON MARAUDERS (9-2, 8-2 DRL)
The Mauraders came out of the blocks strong under first year coach Jack Giarmo, piling up wins to the tune of a 7-0 start. The game everyone had been waiting for took place in week 8. Carlson fell just short, losing to Wyandotte 24-20. Carlson earned their first playoff win since 2006 and set a season record for points scored in a season with 401. The Mauraders bowed out in the district final to an excellent Riverview squad.
DUNDEE VIKINGS (3-6, 2-5 LCAA)
Dundee had a very promising start to the 2017 season, winning 2 of their first 3 games. One of those wins was against Hillsdale, a playoff qualifier. The lone loss was by 1 point to the Airport Jets. The season then took a bit of a turn, losing 5 consecutive games. Four of those losses were by an average margin of 5 ppg. It was a frustrating season for the Vikings, a couple bounces here and there and it could have been a much different season.
ERIE MASON EAGLES (1-8, 0-7 LCAA)
Mason used 2017 as a stepping stone for the seasons to come. New Head Coach, new offensive system, a young and inexperienced team, all played a roll in the Eagles posting a 1-8 record, for the third consecutive season. The lone win came against Britton-Deerfield in week 2. The rugged LCAA slate was just too much for the young upstarts to gain any traction, as there was zero let up in the schedule.
FLAT ROCK RAMS (7-3, 5-2 HURON)
The Rams posted it’s first 7 win season since 1990 and qualified for the playoffs for the 3rd time since 1950. Needless to say, 2017 was a big year for Flat Rock. You could see how well coached they were during the first game, as they dismantled a much bigger and faster Garden City team. Then week 2 saw them beat, what would become the eventual HL champs in Riverview. They had some road woes following the big win, with close losses at Milan and at Grosse Ile. In between those losses was a big win vs SMCC. The rams would then win out as they headed into the playoffs. Flat Rock drew a very difficult week 1 playoff opponent at River Rouge. The season ended there, however it did not diminish what was a, once in a generation, Ram squad.
GROSSE ILE RED DEVILS (2-7, 2-5 HURON)
2017 was a rebuilding year for a young Red Devil team. Their first of two wins came against Jefferson. GI played very well, winning that game 26-6. The 2nd win came against a very good Flat Rock team, showing the league what may be in store in 2018. GI had 2 very difficult non-league games vs Almont and U of D Jesuit, losing both. The schedule may have been the most difficult in the HL, in 2018 however, the slate sets up much nicer.
NEW BOSTON HURON CHIEFS (5-5, 4-3 HURON)
The Chiefs started 2017 with their best start in school history at 4-0. Week 1 was a huge win over Division 1 Plymouth Salem, 28-27. Entering league play, Huron continued it’s strong play winning the first 3 games by a combined margin of 53 points. A tough home loss to SMCC followed in week 5, showing resiliency, Huron bounced back in week 6 with a very nice victory over Milan. Things seemed to be lining up for a big year, however the Chiefs succumbed to the daunting portion of the schedule, losing the last 3 regular season contests. A road playoff game at Carlson followed. Most thought Huron would get handed a lopsided loss but the Chiefs came to play, holding a lead for a good portion of the game. Huron eventually fell to the Mauraders in a hard fought game, 29-19.
IDA BLUESTREAKS (8-3, 5-2 LCAA)
Ida picked up where they left off in 2016 with another fine season in 2017, making the playoffs for a 5th consecutive season. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year but Coach Potter had different plans. The Bluestreaks came out of the blocks with a 6-1 record with big wins over Blissfield and Hudson. Week 8 saw a slight trip up vs a hot Hillsdale team. The Bluestreaks completed the regular season doubling up Onsted. As mentioned, Ida qualified for the division 5 playoffs, beating Denby Tech before bowing out to Algonac, for the second consecutive season.
MONROE JEFFERSON BEARS (0-9, 0-7 HURON)
The Huron League was no place in 2017 to start a rebuild, however that is exactly what Jefferson had to do. Jefferson went 0-9, we know that, but the Bears were in almost every game they played. In fact, they lost 3 games by a combined total of 5 points. The folks in Bear country know when a team is playing hard and just not catching the breaks. That is exactly what happened in 2017. Coach Gennoe, in 2018, will look to build off his teams work ethic and put some wins on the board.
MILAN BIG REDS (5-5, 5-2 HURON)
Milan was picked by many to win the league in 2017. The injury bug showed up in too many places, forcing back ups of back ups to get playing time. With that said, the Big Reds did qualify for the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 seasons. They got there with big wins over SMCC, Flat Rock and a thriller in week 8 versus the Jets. Milan played a quality Chelsea team in the playoffs losing 23-14, as they did to open the season. All in all Milan salvaged a nice season in 2017, setting themselves up for 2018.
MONROE TROJANS (4-5, 2-3 SEC RED)
Monroe’s 2017 campaign was a tale of two halves. They knew coming in, they would have to rack up wins at the top half of the schedule, because the bottom half was a gauntlet. They came out at 3-2 in the first half beating Elkhart, Skyline and AA Huron, with a stinging loss to Ann Arbor Pioneer. Then came the murderer’s row of Saline, Bedford and Fordson, dropping all three. Coach Notario’s squad saw what it took to play in the big games. He will use the experience gained in 2017 to hopefully take the next step for Trojan football.
RIVERVIEW PIRATES ( 11-2, 7-1 HURON)
To put it plainly, Riverview had a fantastic 2017 campaign. Nearly running the table in the Huron League, with it’s lone loss to a very good Flat Rock team. You knew they were for real when they beat SMCC and Milan by a total of 38 points in week 3 and 4. Riverview didn’t stop their impressive season after week 9. The Pirates advanced all the way to the state Semifinals with huge wins over Trenton, Carlson and Dearborn Divine Child. View then met up with quite possibly the best program in the state over the last 40 years in Farmington Hills Harrison. The Pirates fell short on their bid to Ford Field, missing out on several goal line opportunities. This was an all-time great team in Pirate lore, placing 7th on our list of the best teams over the last 20 seasons.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL FALCONS (7-5, 4-3 HURON)
The Falcons started 2017 with a bang, besting the now 2 time defending D7 state champions, Pewamo-Westphalia, in week 1. SMCC then hit a rough patch, losing the next 3 to the best teams in the Huron League. The Falcons got right quickly, ripping of 4 consecutive wins before losing the regular season finale to a good Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. Qualifying for the playoffs for the 15th time in 18 seasons, SMCC won a district title in thrilling fashion, with a last second field goal, beating Hudson 19-16. The season came to an end in Madison Heights, losing to Madison 22-20 in the Regional Final. The young Falcons gained valuable experience in 2017 in hopes it will springboard them to greater things this season.
PETERSBURG SUMMERFIELD BULLDOGS (7-4, 5-2 TCC)
The Bulldogs had and excellent 2017 season. Their only losses coming to perennial powers, Whiteford, Clinton and a quality program in Morenci. Summerfield made it to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Getting a chance to avenge an earlier loss in week 10, Summerfield did just that, with a 14-6 victory over Morenci. The Bulldogs then had the misfortune of playing the 2017 Whiteford Bobcats for the second time in the district final. Summerfield put up a good showing “holding” Whiteford to 36 points, their lowest output of the season, losing 36-20. Which was also the Bobcats closest game of the season.
OTTAWA LAKE WHITEFORD BOBCATS (14-0, 7-0 TCC)
The 2017 season for the Bobcats was one for the ages. Rumbling and Tumbling their way to a convincing Division 8 state title in their patented Double Wing offense. Whiteford was so dominant, its my opinion, they could have strongly challenged for the D6 title. I wont go through every game, but just know, they dominated each and every team they played. Blog team Summerfield, gave them their closest contest in a 16 point victory. The Bobcats outscored their opponents an amazing 737-183. One of the largest margins in state history. What else can I say? Dominance through and through.
So that’s how things unfolded for all 16 FNV teams in 2017. As practice starts up this Monday, look for upcoming previews of each team and much more. 20 days ’til kickoff!!!