This isn’t going to be easy. The playoffs never are, and even tough every team qualified for the postseason this year, this is relatively new territory for the three Ann Arbor public schools.
Pioneer reached the playoffs for the first time since 2015 last year and lost 50-21 in the opening game. Since starting the program in 2010, Skyline has never reached the postseason and have never won more than four games in a season. Huron last played in the postseason in 2002 (17-14 loss to Pioneer) and have won just seven games since 2010 – and two of those wins were this year.
So the locals aren’t exactly bursting with playoff experience. And to make matters worse, they are all playing on the road on Friday night and against higher seeds.
Pioneer, Huron and Skyline are all in Division 1, District 2.
The Eagles will admit things have not turned out as they had hoped after opening the season with an impressive 23-7 win over city rival Pioneer. Outside of one game, Skyline hasn’t been in any game this season and that’s surprising as it is disappointing.
The Eagles (1-4) have talent and if they can put it all together, limit the mistakes and play the way they did against Pioneer, they can (and should) beat Holt. But so far those requirements have not been met since Sept. 25.
Skyline lost 27-6 to Bedford and then let a win slip away at Tecumseh the following week, 22-21. Since then they have given up 102 points in two games in losses to Saline (63-0) and Lincoln (39-7).
Holt (2-3) also won its first game of the season (20-14 over Waverly) and have won just one of four since. They lost to Fowlerville (17-14), East Lansing (63-0) and Grand Ledge (15-14). Their second win was impressive, a 26-0 win over Portage Northern, the Huskies only loss of the season.
The Rams should come into the playoffs with not only home-field advantage but some confidence. They played a very strong Grand Ledge team tough, losing by just a point, in their last regular-season game. The week before was the win over Portage Northern.
Pairings for the first four weeks of the tournament are based on regular-season playoff point averages, with the highest-ranked team hosting, regardless of the distance between the two schools. For District First Round and Regional First Round play, the top-seeded team in each bracket will host the eighth-seeded team; and the second-seeded team will host the seventh-seeded team, etc.
MHSAA DIVISION 1 DISTRICT 2
* All games are at 7 p.m., Friday
Ann Arbor Pioneer (0-5) 9.500 at Saline (5-1) 66.533
Ann Arbor Huron (2-2) 31.000 at Kalamazoo Central (2-4) 33.567
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (0-6) 10.167 at Grand Ledge (4-2) 51.100
Ann Arbor Skyline (1-4) 20.000 at Holt (2-3) 38.167