The postseason is finally here. Two months of work for one chance to reach top honors in Michigan. The road to a state title begins this week for all the area’s best teams. Here are the local brackets and matchups to look out for:
District 46 (Big Rapids)
For the first time in many years, Tri-County enters as the district 46 favorite after a 14-win campaign and second place finish in the CSAA. Coach Brian Campbell’s offensive firepower up front carries the Vikings with an average of 6.31 goals per game this season. They look to avenge their 2022 district finals loss starting in the semi final round against the winner of Clare versus Alma. The hometown Cardinals come in as the second favorite after .500 regular season under head coach Curt Ray. While Big Rapids has had a considerable down year, veteran presence on both sides of midfield and home field advantage can give the Cards a boost towards chasing a third straight district crown. Reed City also enters the tournament coming off two tough tests against Newaygo and Big Rapids in CSAA conference tournament action. The Coyotes do have an advantage with tough game experience, as they endured the toughest regular seasons among the seven teams in this bracket.
1st Round Matchups
Reed City (6-8-2) vs. Chippewa Hills (0-13-0) – Reed City Athletic Field, May 24, 6:00 P.M.
Big Rapids (10-10-0) vs. Shepherd (7-11-1) – Cardinal Stadium, May 24, 6:00 P.M.
Clare (7-9-2) vs. Alma (5-15-1) – Brookwood Athletic Complex, May 25, 6:30 P.M.
Tri-County (14-3-1) vs. Clare/Alma Winner – Cardinal Stadium, May 31, 5:00 P.M.
Big Rapids/Shepherd Winner vs. Reed City/Chippewa Hills Winner – Cardinal Stadium, May 31, 7:00 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Cardinal Stadium, June 2, 6:00 P.M.
District 47 (Newaygo)
It’s certainly been the Lions’ year. With a CSAA Championship under their belt, Newaygo looks for back-to-back District 47 titles with a chance to win on home soil. Matt Painter’s team not only has the offensive fundamentals to make a potential regional run, but they also have the defensive intrigue through only allowing 6 goals in their 17 regular season games. The Lions await the victor of Grant and Whitehall, which looks to be an intriguing game considering both team’s win totals and results against common teams. The Tigers go in on a two-game win streak, including a dominant win over fellow CSAA foe Lakeview last Friday. Underdog Manistee is also a team to watch out for, as the Chippewas began the season winning eight of their first ten contests. While they have cooled off recently, Manistee has shown a tournament staple of success throughout the season in their ability to win low-scoring games.
1st Round Matchups
Grant (6-10-2) vs. Whitehall (6-7-3) – Grant Athletic Complex, May 24, 5:00 P.M.
Manistee (9-4-2) vs. Hart (3-11-4) – Manistee Chippewa Field, May 26, 5:00 P.M.
Newaygo (16-0-1) vs. Grant/Whitehall – Newaygo Soccer Field, May 31, 5:00 P.M.
Montague (10-5-0) vs. Manistee/Hart Winner – Montague High School, May 31, 5:00 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Newaygo Soccer Field, June 2, 5:00 P.M.
District 62 (Brethren)
The dominance of McBain Northern Michigan Christian continues as the Comets earned another number one seed and opening round bye for the third year in a row. Head Coach Jen VanNoord’s squad has registered a 0.559 Michigan Power Rating during the regular season, which is ranked 12 th in all of Division Four. The Comets await a semifinal matchup between the winner Benzie Central and Big Rapids Crossroads Academy. The Cougars host the Huskies in a first-round rematch from April 10 th , in which Crossroads edged Benzie Central 2-1 thanks to a second half winner from Leah Nelson. Lakeview also finds themselves in the mix with a tough test right off the bat with Shelby. While the Wildcats will travel around 70 miles to face the Tigers, the team does have a considerable advantage with their away playthis year earning a 5-3 record in road games this spring.
1st Round Matchups
Big Rapids Crossroads (4-9-2) vs. Benzie Central (1-11-1) – Mitchell Creek Park, May 24, 5:00 P.M.
Shelby (9-9-1) vs. Lakeview (8-8-1) – Shelby Soccer Feld, May 24, 4:30 P.M.
Brethren (3-13-1) vs. Buckley (5-8-2) – Bobcat Stadium, May 26, 1:30 P.M.
McBain Northern Michigan Christian (13-3-0) vs. Crossroads/Benzie Central Winner – Bobcat Stadium, May 30, 4:30 P.M.
Shelby/Lakeview Winner vs. Brethren/Buckley Winner – Bobcat Stadium, May 30, 6:30 P.M.
Semifinal Winners – Bobcat Stadium, June 1, 5:00 P.M.
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