The 2018 season saw an amazing 10 of our 16 teams qualify for the MHSAA playoffs. The longest run was made by SMCC as they found themselves in another Regional title match , bowing out to Cassopolis on the goal line. Playoff game winners were, Milan, Monroe, Ida, Bedford and Whiteford. Playoff qualifiers were Grosse Ile, Summerfield, Carlson and Riverview.
League Champions were, Grosse Ile(Huron), Whiteford(TCC) and Carlson(DRL). Let’s take a more in depth look at each team and see how they fared in 2018..
CARLETON AIRPORT JETS (4-5, 3-4 HURON). Although the final record of 4-5 was the same as the year before, the Jets made strides improving in all areas of the game. Averaging 31 ppg while giving up only 19 marked a notable step forward. Winning the big games escaped them and that will have to change, if they are to continue their upward swing in 2019.
TEMPERANCE BEDFORD KICKING MULES (6-5, 3-2 SEC RED). 2018 saw Bedford return to the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive season. Closing the season was a 2 point loss to Franklin in the District Final. The Kicking Mules found their stride late in the season, winning 4 of the last 5 contests. However, they will have to fare better in 2019 versus their 2 biggest rivals in Monroe and Saline, if they are hold high the coveted SEC RED crown at year’s end.
GIBRALTAR CARLSON MARAUDERS (8-2, 8-1 DRL). Under year two of Coach Giarmo, the Marauders nabbed themselves a Downriver League Title(shared with Woodhaven) and another trip to the playoffs. Numbers improved on both sides of the ball from 2017, scoring 38 a game while giving up 18. Carlson hung the cleats up after a rematch versus Trenton in the pre-district round, losing that one 22-21 in heartbreaking fashion.
DUNDEE VIKINGS (5-4, 3-4 LCAA). Dundee again came out of the blocks strong, starting the non league slate at 2-0 and opening league play vs Hudson with a big win. Close losses to BCC and Blissfield, proved to be the difference between what could have been an outstanding season for the Vikings. Defensively is where Dundee hung their horned helmets in 2018, giving up 16 a game. The LCAA is a very balanced league, Dundee will have to find more wins vs their back yard foes, winning the close ones.
ERIE MASON EAGLES (1-8, 0-7 LCAA). Mason used 2018 as another stepping stone for the seasons to come. Improving on both sides of the ball, the Eagles increased their offensive output by 3 points per game while giving up 8 less per contest than the previous year. 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 (4-5, 2-5 HURON). The Rams had what could be called a season of close calls. The 2018 campaign was decided by a 3 game stretch in September, where the Rams lost all 3 by a combined total of 10 points. Getting a W in any of those games, could have brought the playoffs into the picture for the 2nd consecutive season.
GROSSE ILE RED DEVILS (9-1, 7-0 HURON). 2018 was an amazing season for the Red Devils. I was on record saying nobody would run the table in the Huron in 2018. With a balanced attack, scoring 29 while giving up 18, the Red Devils won their first Huron League crown since 1979, going undefeated in league play… and proving me wrong in the process. They would see their season come to an end with and early playoff exit to the eventual state runner-up.
NEW BOSTON HURON CHIEFS (2-7, 1-6 HURON). 2108 was a rebuilding year for the youthful Chiefs. Wins were hard to come by in the very balanced Huron League. Huron showed signs of things to come at Navarre field in week 5, taking the Falcons to the wire in a close loss. The Chiefs finished the season with a week 9 victory over a division 3 playoff team in Garden City.
IDA BLUESTREAKS (8-3, 5-2 LCAA). Ida kept the train rolling in 2018 with their 6th consecutive trip to the playoffs. Since installing the Full House T, the Bluestreaks have been a team to reckon with. Weeks 3 and 7 proved to be the battle for the LCAA as Ida lost those contests to eventual co-champs Brooklyn Columbia Central and Hillsdale. Ida would bow out of the playoffs in the district final to Detroit Denby, in a close game that went down the wire.
MONROE JEFFERSON BEARS (0-9, 0-7 HURON). The Huron League was no place in 2018 to continue a rebuild, however that is exactly what Jefferson had to do. Jefferson went 0-9, we know that, but the Bears did play eventual Huron League champion Grosse Ile to a score of 14-7. The Bears will look to build on that type of play in 2019.
MILAN BIG REDS (8-3, 5-2 HURON). Qualifying for the playoffs 11 of the last 14 seasons, Milan had another excellent season under Head Coach Jesse Hoskins. Week 2 saw a last second comeback vs SMCC at Navarre, as Jones found Furtney in the back of endzone. The battle for the Huron League took place in week 7 as the Big Reds fell to eventual champ GI, 42-21. As mentioned, Milan once again made the playoffs, facing eventual state runner-up Chelsea. The Big Reds lost that contest 35-14 in district final play.
MONROE TROJANS (7-4, 4-1 SEC RED). Monroe jumped out of the gates strong in 2018 going 6-1, with it’s only loss to Jackson in a very close game, 27-20. During that stretch the Trojans put a whipping on cross town rival Bedford 41-6. The league showdown happened in week 8 versus SEC RED stalwart Saline, in front of a huge homecoming crowd in Hornet land. The Trojans put up a fight but would eventually fall short 28-6. Monroe made the playoffs for the first time since 2015, making it to the district final with a very impressive dismantling of Woodhaven. The Red and White would take the early lead in the District final match-up versus Belleville, but would succumb to the many D1 prospects on the Tigers roster, losing 49-33.
RIVERVIEW PIRATES ( 7-3, 5-2 HURON). The Pirates had another fine season in 2018 under Head Coach Derek McLaughlin. Riverview made a strong bid for their 2nd consecutive Huron League crown but would fall to champion GI in week 8, in a close game 21-14. Making the playoffs 6 of the last 8 seasons, Riverview found themselves facing a strong Allen Park squad on the road, losing in the waning minutes 23-20 in pre-district action.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL FALCONS (9-3, 5-2 HURON) The Falcons made a strong bid to take home their first Huron League Championship since 2015 but would fall short in week 6 to champion Grosse Ile. SMCC would once again make the playoffs(16 of the last 19 seasons), winning a District Crown, before being tripped up at the goal line vs undefeated Cassopolis in the Regional Final. The Falcons lost that game 23-22.
PETERSBURG SUMMERFIELD BULLDOGS (5-4, 4-3 TCC). The Bulldogs, per usual, had another solid campaign in 2018. Close losses to rivals, Clinton and Sand Creek would prove to be the defining moments of their season. Missing the playoffs for only the 3rd time in 11 seasons, Summerfield found themselves in unfamiliar territory come week 10.
OTTAWA LAKE WHITEFORD BOBCATS (11-1, 7-0 TCC). 2018 was another year of dominance for the Bobcats in the TCC. Their stranglehold of the conference now sits at 21 straight conference victories. Whiteford outscored their opponents by an average score of 49-10. Making the playoffs for the 7th consecutive season under Coach Mensing, Whiteford would meet their match, on an almost unplayable field, on the road at Reading in the District Final. Reading would go on to defeat the defending Division 8 State Champions 28-6, en route to a State Championship of their own.
So that’s how things unfolded for all 16 FNV teams in 2018. As practice starts up this Monday, look for upcoming previews of each team and much more. 20 days ’til kickoff!!!