Make no mistake: This is going to be a great game.
Both teams are hungry, both teams feel they have something to prove and both think this can be the year for a lengthy playoff run.
The fun begins at 7 p.m. Friday night in Woodhaven.
24787 Van Horn Road Flat Rock, MI 48134
Nick Maher and the Woodhaven Warriors will host Roosevelt in the opening round of the MHSAA playoffs on Friday.
It’s Michigan High School Athletic Association football playoff time and six Downriver teams gained admission to this year’s postseason party.
League tri-champs Truman, Roosevelt and Woodhaven are in along with fellow Downriver League member Allen Park.
Grosse Ile is the lone area representative from the Huron League and Catholic League playoff qualifier Cabrini rounds out the group of six.
There will be four first-round playoff game involving local teams and all will be played Friday night at 7 p.m.
Truman will host Allen Park; Woodhaven will host Roosevelt; River Rouge will host Cabrini; and Grosse Ile will host Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy.
Here is a look at the upcoming games, starting with the rematches.
Roosevelt (8-1) at Woodhaven (8-1):
The first time these two teams met, the result was the most eye-popping of the season.
Woodhaven was nearly unstoppable as it scored at will and rolled to a 64-36 victory over Roosevelt on Sept. 28.
It was a stunning result because the Bears came into the game without a loss and are known for playing tough defense.
The week before Roosevelt limited high-flying Truman to 20 points and handed the Cougars what would turn out to be their only loss of the season.
The game saw Woodhaven roll up 809 total yards, 747 of it on the ground as quarterback Nick Maher and running back Mickey Sutton took turns gouging the Bear defense.
Running their usual option attack, Maher (357 yards) and Sutton (261) rolled up their biggest rushing numbers of the season in that game.
Sutton scored five times; Maher scored twice and threw a 43-yard touchdown pass.
Along the way, Woodhaven got runs of 75 yards from Maher, 57 yards from Sutton, 47 from Garrett Weirich and 22 from Garett Briscoe.
It was a feel-good kind of a win for Woodhaven, which had not beaten Roosevelt since 2005, but pay-back time could come sooner than Coach Keith Christnagel’s team might have hoped.
The Bears and their defense were stung, naturally, by the outburst against them and they have been on a tear since that game, running off three straight wins and holding teams to 20 total points in the process.
Defensive coordinator Jason Carpenter has also had the luxury of watching and re-watching the film of the first meeting. I am sure the Roosevelt players are sick of looking at that thing.
Also out there is a film of Truman’s 36-8 win over Woodhaven on Sept. 9.
The Cougars are the only team to have beaten the Warriors this season and if there is a blueprint for shutting down the Warriors’ option attack, that game is it.
This game is not only the best one on the local schedule this week, it has the potential to be the best first-round game played in the state.
These are two great teams with revenge, pride and bragging rights all on the line, to say nothing of berth in the second round of the playoffs.
Maher is Downriver’s premier all-around offensive player.
He leads all Downriver players with 1,605 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns and, for good measure, he has passed for another 347.
Behind Maher, Sutton and Weirich each would be the envy of any offensive coordinator.
Sutton has 1,029 yards and 12 TDs this season and Weirich has 1,011 and 14 scores.
This is a deadly offense that can march the ball and score via the quick strike.
But Wyandotte is not defenseless. The Bears have an excellent offense and it sometimes gets overlooked that in its lone loss of the season to Woodhaven, Roosevelt still scored 36 points.
The Bears, really have not been limited by anyone this season, expect maybe by themselves. Several times this year Roosevelt missed chances to run up big scores because of turnovers.
Still, the team averaged 36 points a game.
The Bears have two of the finest wide receivers around in Devin Stewart and Brandon Sowards.
The acrobatic pair has combined for 48 pass reception for 1,051 yards and 13 touchdowns.
In Kevin Matejko they have a quarterback fully capable of getting them the ball numerous times a game.
Matejko, who has completed better than 55 percent of his passes this season, has thrown for 1,361 yards and 15 touchdowns.
And let’s not forget about the Roosevelt defense.
Yes, the Bears were torched by Woodhaven in their first meeting, but the 64 points scored by the Warriors was more than the Bears allowed in all eight of their other games combined.
Including the Woodhaven game, Roosevelt allowed an average of 13 points a game. Subtract that one bad outing and the points-against number drops to seven.
You can watch video here or at the Mi PrepZone website.