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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Michigan Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 4

By By Christopher Parish

Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on ESPNHS State Rankings)

No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central (11-1) vs. No. 5 Rockford (11-1)

This is the classic East-West matchup in Michigan that we love to see. Which side's football is really better? Both of these teams have played tough, hard-nosed football all year long, and the winner earns a trip to the Division 1 state finals. It doesn't get much better than this. Detroit C.C. has had a tough go of it in the playoffs, winning each of its first two state tourney matchups by seven points. Rockford blew out Grand Ledge but earned a two-point squeaker of a win against Grand Blanc. Expect this game to be very tight. PREDICTION: Rockford 14, Detroit Catholic Central 10

Detroit King (9-3) vs. Brother Rice (8-4)

After playing one of the state's most difficult schedules and narrowly making the postseason, the Warriors are one win away from a state title berth. To get there, BR must take down public school juggernaut Detroit King, led by one of the state's best running backs in Dennis Norfleet. King has been unstoppable in the postseason, pitching back-to-back shutouts (41-0 and 33-0) to reach the state semis. But Brother Rice's difficult road prepared the team well for this time of the year, and now the Warriors are playing like the best team in the state. This matchup could be epic. PREDICTION: Brother Rice 20, Detroit King 16

Harper Creek (12-0) vs. St. Mary's (10-2)

St. Mary's has some very impressive wins this season. Brother Rice, De La Salle and Detroit Catholic Central have all suffered losses to the Eaglets this season (though Catholic Central avenged the loss one week later). St. Mary's is capable of beating anyone on any night. But Harper Creek isn't to be taken lightly. The Beavers need just 10 points this season to surpass the 500-point mark for the season and have outscored opponents by nearly 300 points this year. Back-to-back blowout wins have the Beavers playing as well as they've played all year long. But can they beat a battle-tested opponent when it counts the most? PREDICTION: St. Mary's 23, Harper Creek 17

Previous Record: 20-11