Monday, July 22, 2024

10 Jackson-area conference football games to watch in 2020


Follow Josh VanDyke on Twitter

JACKSON – The high school football season is still in limbo due to the impact of the coronavirus but that’s not going to stop us from being optimistic and forecasting a few games you should add to your calendars this fall.

Whether or not you should etch those in stone or scribble them down with a No. 2 pencil remains to be seen. One thing we know for certain is that football practice begins statewide on Aug. 10 and the opening kickoff for the football season is slated for Aug. 27.

Last season, 10 Jackson-area teams made the playoffs, but many of those same squads squared off on the gridiron during the regular season to determine conference champions and playoff seeding. Before we dive into team previews, key returning players and predictions on who might be hoisting state championship trophies at Ford Field in November, we wanted to take a look at a few local league games we believe will be worth the price of admission.

Below is our list of 10 Jackson-area conference football games you won’t want to miss in 2020, presented in chronological order.

Jackson’s Dorion Riley (21) tries to gert past Chelsea’s Alexander Lewis (18) during a high school football game in Withington Stadium at Jackson High School on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. J. Scott Park |

Jackson vs. Chelsea (Sept. 11)

The landscape of the SEC White has been shaped by the matchup between Jackson and Chelsea the past two seasons, so this game should be circled on the calendar again in 2020. Last year, the Bulldogs used a dominant defensive effort to record a 13-0 road win over the Vikings on their way to an SEC White title, a state semifinal appearance and a 12-1 overall record. The winner of this matchup should have an early advantage in the conference title race and may fuel another long postseason run to the victor as well.

Hillsdale vs Constantine playoff football game

Hillsdale players celebrate the win during a Division 6 high school football playoff district final game at Hillsdale High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Hillsdale won the game over Constantine, 20-14.J. Scott Park |

Hillsdale at Onsted (Sept. 11)

The Hornets used a powerful running game and smothering defense to win 11 straight games last year, including a 28-19 win over Onsted during the regular season. The two programs met again two months later in the Division 6 regionals and the Wildcats came away with a 12-0 win. Onsted lost to Monroe St. Mary Catholic (17-14) a week later in the state semifinals. This year’s matchup could once again determine the Lenawee County Athletic Association title race and may even preview a potential playoff rematch.

Lumen Christi's Jack Kelley

Lumen Christi’s Jack Kelley (1) is mobbed by teammates after a touchdown reception in the first half during the Division 7 regional final high school football game at Lumen Christi High School on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.

Lumen Christi at Marshall (Sept. 18)

The Titans completed their second straight 7-0 run through the Interstate 8 Conference last fall, but that streak was in serious jeopardy during a Sept. 27, 2019, game against the Marshall Redhawks. Lumen Christi survived with a 21-14 win on their way to a 12-1 record and a state runner-up finish in Division 6. This year, the Titans will have a lot of key players to replace as they head over to Marshall for a league showdown in Week 4. The Redhawks will be hungry for an upset in front of their home fans, which could give this matchup some early season playoff vibes and be a pivotal game in the conference title race.

Grass Lake vs Michigan Center

Grass Lake’s Cameron Darrow (44) leans down before being tackled by Michigan Center’s Dawson Brown (5) during the third quarter of a high school football game, Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, in Michigan Center. Grass Lake won, 14-10. (Nikos Frazier | Nikos FrazierNikos Frazier

Grass Lake at Michigan Center (Sept. 25)

The Warriors and Cardinals have had some intense battles in recent years, including a postseason clash in 2018. Michigan Center struggled during the opening half of the 2019 season, but they still managed to put together one of their best defensive efforts against their rivals from Grass Lake in Week 5. The Warriors used some special teams sparks to hold off the Cardinals for a 21-14 win and continue their pursuit of the Cascades Conference title. Both teams should be in the hunt for the league crown in 2020 and a potential playoff berth, which just adds more fuel to the intensity of these two rivals.

Jonesville vs. Springport high school football

Jonesville’s Jayden Nieswender (25) celebrates a touchdown during a high school football game at Jonesville on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Jonesville won the game over Springport, 46-0.J. Scott Park |

Jonesville vs. Reading (Oct. 2)

The Rangers haven’t lost a Big 8 Conference game since 2016, but they should have plenty of challengers this fall. One of the top contenders in the league will be the Jonesville Comets, who started 5-1 last season before key injuries derailed a potential run at conference and postseason glory. Jonesville will host Reading in Week 7 this year in a game that could likely determine whether the Rangers will win the Big 8 for the fourth season in a row.

Addison vs. Grass Lake high school football

Addison’s Noah Cole (7) pressures Grass Lake’s Carson Farley (10) during a high school football game at Addison High School on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. J. Scott Park |

Addison at Grass Lake (Oct. 9)

The Panthers and Warriors were the class of the Cascades Conference last season and met for one of the most entertaining games of 2019. Addison’s Frederick Bills found Travis Whitaker for a 33-yard pass with 40 seconds left in the game to push the Panthers to a wild 20-16 home win over the Warriors. This year, Grass Lake will host Addison in Week 7 in a game that may determine the league title again in 2020.

Grass Lake hosts Manchester in football playoff opener

Manchester and Grass Lake players face off during a Grass Lake vs. Manchester football playoff opener at Grass Lake High School on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Grass Lake defeated Manchester 30-22. Mary Lewandowski|

Manchester vs. Grass Lake (Oct. 16)

The Flying Dutchmen finished 5-5 last season, losing all five contests to playoff-qualifying teams. Two of those losses came at the hands of Cascades Conference foe Grass Lake, who defeated Manchester 25-8 in Week 8 and 30-22 in the district playoff opener. First-year head coach Ben Pack will lead the Flying Dutchmen into battle in Week 8 this season with a chance to make a statement as they host the Warriors in the final league game of the regular season.

Lumen Christi vs Parma Western in high school football

Lumen Christi’s Basil Hampton (3) is tackled during a high school football game at Lumen Christi High School on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The game is the opening matchup for both teams in Interstate 8 conference play.J. Scott Park |

Lumen Christi at Parma Western (Oct. 16)

Few teams challenged the Titans as thoroughly as the Panthers last season. The two Interstate 8 Conference rivals collided in Week 2 of the 2019 season with Lumen Christi coming away with a 22-7 victory in front of their home crowd. This year, the defending conference champs will have to survive a road trip against the Panthers in Week 8 if they expect to reign again in 2020.

Jackson at Ypsilanti Community High School football

Jackson’s Dorion Riley (21) runs the ball during Ypsilanti Community’s game against Jackson at Shadford Field in Ypsilanti Friday, Aug. 30 2019.Jacob Hamilton/

Jackson at Dexter (Oct. 16)

The Dreadnaughts got their revenge over the Vikings in 2019, as they scored a 57-21 decision over the defending SEC White champions on their way to an 8-2 season. In 2018, Jackson defeated Dexter 29-19 on their way to a perfect 9-0 regular season and a conference championship. Will the Vikings enact their own revenge in 2020 or will the Dreadnaughts hold serve in the league standings?

Hillsdale vs Constantine playoff football game

Hillsdale takes the field during a Division 6 high school football playoff district final game at Hillsdale High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. J. Scott Park |

Hillsdale vs. Clinton (Oct. 23)

It seems fitting that the last week of the Lenawee County Athletic Association schedule would pit the defending league champions against their newest challenger. Clinton joins the LCAA this fall in hopes of causing some havoc in their first run through the league schedule and will have the last crack at dethroning Hillsdale in a Week 9 showdown. A road game against the Hornets will be anything but easy, but Clinton should be a quality challenger nonetheless.


Leslie High School football practice

Leslie High School football players practice at the school on Monday morning, Aug. 12, 2019. It was the first day that high school football teams could practice throughout the state. Leslie opens their season on August 29 against Dansville.J. Scott Park |

Leslie vs. Olivet (Sept. 18)

The Blackhawks lost four games by one score or less last fall and should have enough firepower coming back in 2020 to make a push toward a playoff appearance. They’ll get a chance to make an early statement with a home game against defending Greater Lansing Activates Conference champion Olivet in Week 4.

Hillsdale vs Columbia Central in high school football

Hillsdale’s Zach Kornak stops Columbia Central’s Danny Miller during a high school football game at Hillsdale High School on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Hillsdale won the game over Columbia Central, 21-6, to clinch a share of the LCAA conference title.J. Scott Park |

Columbia Central vs. Hillsdale (Oct. 9)

The Golden Eagles were left off the brackets last fall despite posting a winning season at 5-4. The team lost a pivotal LCAA matchup at Hillsdale in Week 8 (21-6) that could have helped them automatically qualify for the postseason. This year, Columbia Central gets a chance to host the Hornets in Week 7 and cement their spot in the playoffs and possibly contend for a league championship.

Concord High School vs Homer High School in high school varsity football

Concord’s CJ Glaspie (21) protects the ball during the Concord game against Homer in high school varsity football at Concord, Thursday, August 31, 2017. (Claire Abendroth | MLive Media GroupMLive Media Group

Homer vs. Concord (Oct. 9)

The Trojans held off the Yellowjackets for an 18-13 win last season that pushed their series winning streak to three games. Both teams will likely be battling for conference and postseason positioning by their Week 7 matchup this fall, so the team that comes out on top in this one should carry some positive momentum into the playoffs.


5 intriguing Jackson-area high school football games to watch in 2020

MHSAA proceeding toward Michigan fall sports season, rules out potential full-season swaps

MHSAA moving forward with fall sports has Michigan football coaches optimistic

Michigan Premier basketball program continues to build college athletes, recruiting roots

National high school federation leader expects football delay, addresses other hot topics

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

Share post:


More like this

Top Reasons to Buy Instagram Likes from

Buying Instagram followers is a strategy some individuals and...

Green Glamour: How to Achieve Eco-Friendly Acrylic Nails

In the vibrant world of beauty and nail care,...

The Future Of Horse Racing In The Digital Age  

Horse racing, a sport steeped in tradition and history,...

How to Sell CS:GO Skins for Real Money

CS:GO skins have become not just an ordinary design...