Sportswriter Brandon Folsom is back with his top 10 football rankings from Week 3:
10. Brother Rice (0-2; Last Week: No. 4)
The Warriors cruised to victory in Week 2 at East Kentwood. They were leading by one point, and all they needed was one final defensive stop.
Instead, the Falcons marched down the field 86 yards, lined up for a 26-yard field goal and scored it hard at the final whistle for the final victory, 19-17.
That’s a bummer for the Rice brother, who was still without three-star running back Nolan Ray, who suffered an injury during a preseason game. But he should get his first win in Week 3. Brownstown Woodhaven is coming off consecutive wins against bad teams.
Expect this game to be just the fit the Warriors need as they prepare for their three-game Catholic League-Central schedule beginning in Week 4.
9. Detroit Country Day (2-0; Last Week: No. 9)
The Yellowjackets held off Parma Western by one score a week ago.
Week 3 should be a bit easier. They face Warren Michigan Collegiate, one of the best small schools in metro Detroit, but Country Day beat the Cougars by almost 30 points a year ago.
Expect the Yellowjackets to be 3-0 when they host South Lyon for their biggest test of the season in Week 4.
8. Novi (1-1, 1-0 KLAA-West; Last Week. No. 8)
Outside of Westland John Glenn upsetting Livonia Churchill, the Wildcats had the most impressive win in Week 2.
After losing to state champion Belleville in the Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic, they bounced back by defeating Hartland, last year’s winners of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association-West, with theater at the end of the game. That included Boden Fernsler’s 19-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-11 that became the game-winning play in a 13-10 win over the Eagles.
That kind of recovery effort was necessary. But he also showed how good Novi will be the rest of the way. If the team can keep winning, they will keep moving up this ranking.
But can he win the West to earn a rematch with the Tigers in the KLAA championship?
7. Milford (1-1, 0-1 LVC); Last week: No. 6)
High pace. High risk. High reward.
That’s the best way to describe the Mavericks’ Ryan Allen-led offense. They are fun to watch, and you never know who will get the ball next. Everyone is going to get touches. And that keeps defenses honest.
Against undisciplined teams with players who don’t read their cues or follow their roles correctly, Milford will cut them down for hundreds and hundreds of yards.
But that wasn’t what South Lyon was in Week 2. The Lions read their keys. They stayed disciplined. There was rarely a defender out of position. Forced turnovers. They came up with five fourth down stops. And, before you knew it, they were ahead of Milford, 31-7, before they replaced their starters with backups.
The Mavericks are a solid, fun team that should make the playoffs. But they need to figure out how to handle the elite defenses in the Lakes Valley Conference because they’ll probably face two or three more teams as good as the Lions.
6. Livonia Churchill (1-1, 0-1 KLAA-East; Last Week: No. 1)
Well, the Chargers are human.
They seemed unbeatable in their big win over Plymouth in the Battle of the Big House in Week 1, but they had no answers for John Glenn’s running game a week ago. The Rockets’ surprise victory was one of the most surprising. So much so that they received a greeting from Michigan recruiting blog The D Zone.
And here’s why that loss is bad news for Livonia Churchill. He’s about to play a three-game streak against arguably the top three teams in KLAA-East.
Next up are the defending state champions, Belleville. The Chargers were the only team to beat the Tigers in 2021. But this year’s Belleville team is full of future college football stars, including Bryce Underwood, the 2025 No. 1-ranked quarterback in the country. , according to 247Sports.
And then they take on rival Livonia Franklin in Week 4 and Dearborn the following week.
They might be afraid of missing out on the playoffs if they don’t steal a win or two in this stretch.
5. Birmingham Groves (1-1; Last Week: No. 3)
It’s hard to blame the Falcons for their loss at the end of Week 2 at Oxford.
Tonight was the biggest game in Oxford history. It was the first home game since a 2021 school shooting claimed the lives of four students, including former Wildcats star player Tate Myre.
Not only did the community turn out in droves to support Oxford, but so did the rest of the state, either in person or following Twitter.
After listening to Buck Myre, Tate’s father, give an impassioned and heartfelt speech after the game For the Wildcats, it’s easy to see how they fought through adversity to defeat Birmingham Groves.
4. Redford Union (2-0, 1-0 WWAC; Last Week: No. 10)
If the Panthers didn’t have such a lazy schedule (not their fault, by the way), they would be my No. 1-ranked team.
The Western Wayne Athletic Conference has fallen this year, thus guaranteeing seven easy wins. There is no doubt that they will repeat as league champions. The real question is: Can they go a perfect 9-0?
It is probable. In Week 1, they defeated Pewamo-Westphalia by 20 points. And the Pirates were winners of two of the last three Division 7 state championships. Plus, the win snapped PW’s 55-game home win streak.
Union’s Week 9 opponent has yet to be finalized. But he will face Bishop Foley of Madison Heights if the Ventures lose qualification for the Catholic League Prep Bowl. Foley is arguably one of the best small school CHSL teams, actually winning the Prep Bowl a year ago.
I commend the Panthers for their tough non-conference scheduling. Too bad his league couldn’t be as challenging.
3. Livonia Franklin (2-0, 1-0 KLAA-East; Last Week: No. 7)
The Patriots will not win KLAA-East.
But if I had to pick any one team in the division to beat Belleville, it would definitely be Livonia Franklin.
The Week 1 win over Canton showed just how tough their running game and defense can be. And the Week 2 win against Wayne Memorial proved that new quarterback JD Bates can handle it.
Franklin might be the most complete team in the division outside of the Tigers.
They are my favorites to win the Livonia City Championship right now, and I am excited to see how well Churchill and Livonia Stevenson can compete with the Patriots.
2. South Lyon (1-1, 1-0 LVC); Last week: No. 5)
Unless something wild happens to Walled Lake Western, like a COVID-19 quarantine, an injury to a key starter or an upset loss along the way, the Lions won’t repeat as LVC champions.
But South Lyon will win and finish the regular season 8-1 overall. His next biggest test comes in Week 8 against three-star QB Kalieb Osborne and Waterford Mott. And then the Lions end the season against rival South Lyon East.
Second-half cramps and injuries cost them the league title in Week 1 against the Warriors, which is unfortunate. But South Lyon has a chance to win, earn enough playoff points to host a few postseason games and do everything they can to return to the state semifinal.
1. Detroit Catholic Central (1-1; Last week: No. 2)
The Shamrocks gifted Chippewa Valley a win in Week 1. They looked like the better team during the half, but they just couldn’t figure out their offense.
Well, they did just that in an impressive Week 2 win at Davison, who is just 3 years away from winning a state championship.
Running back Evan Haegar followed his blockers into the end zone for four touchdowns, and second-year quarterback Beau Jackson seemed to be on the same page with his receivers.
They take on another recent state champion at DeWitt this week. If they can beat the Panthers, that should set them up, confidence-wise, to compete for the Central-Catholic League title against Warren DeLaSalle, last year’s D-2 champions.
Of the top 10 places: None.
Also considered: Birmingham Seaholm (2-0), Canton (1-1, 1-0 KLAA-West), Livonia Stevenson (1-1, 1-0 KLAA-East), Northville (2-0, 1-0 KLAA-West) , South Lyon East (1-0, 1-0 LVC), Westland John Glenn (1-1, 1-0 KLAA-East), White Lake Lakeland (2-0, 2-0 LVC).
Brandon Folsom covers high school sports in the Detroit metro area for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folshandonj.