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Three Local Football Teams Prepare for State Semifinals on Saturday

Gladwin, Reed City and Traverse City St. Francis will compete in the MHSAA 11-Player Football State Semifinals on Saturday.

While St. Francis made it to the state championship game two years ago, Gladwin and Reed City are both seeking their first ever trips to Ford Field.

Here’s a preview of the semifinal matchups for each of the remaining local teams:

Division 5: Gladwin (12-0) vs. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (11-0) – 1 p.m. Sat. at Ithaca High School

Gladwin is in the state semifinals for the second time and waiting for them is one of the perennial powers of Michigan high school football. Grand Rapids Catholic Central is in the state semifinals for a seventh consecutive season. The Cougars have won the state title five of the past six years and lost in overtime to Edwardsburg in the semifinals the one year they didn’t win the state title. But as Grand Rapids South Christian (a semifinalist in Div. 4) showed back in week six, Catholic Central is not unbeatable. The Sailors handed the Cougars their only loss this season, 36-34.

Gladwin has looked unstoppable all season long, now the Flying G’s will have to prove they can do it against the best of the best.

Division 6: Reed City (11-1) vs Negaunee (12-0) – 1 p.m. Sat. at Gaylord High School

Reed City is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2017. The Coyotes have had to play through some brutal weather this postseason and the forecast for Saturday calls for lots of snow, bitter cold and wind in Gaylord. Of course, snow, cold and wind will be nothing new to the Coyotes opponent from the Western U.P., Negaunee. The Miners are undefeated this season and are making their first state semifinals appearance since 2003.

Reed City has allowed 15 or fewer points in each of its past six games and five of those games were against playoff opponents. On the flip side, Negaunee has allowed 15 or fewer points in every game this season. Expect a defensive battle similar to the one Reed City played in its 6-0 regional win over Millington last week.

Division 7: New Lothrop (10-2) vs Traverse City St. Francis (12-0) – 1 p.m. Sat. at Clare High School

It’ll be a rematch of the 2020 Div. 7 State Championship game when Traverse City St. Francis meets New Lothrop. The Gladiators fell 42-35 in that game two years ago. As the Gladiators look to get back to Ford Field, they’ve answered every question you could possibly have about them this season. Just last week, they faced the No. 3 team in the state, Ithaca, and raced out to a 56-0 lead by halftime.

St. Francis is undefeated and beat two of the teams still alive in the semifinals during the regular season (Jackson Lumen Christi in Div. 7 and Detroit Country Day in Div. 5). The Gladiators have all the makings of a state championship team but will have to get revenge on New Lothrop before they can turn their attention to Ford Field.

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