Grand Rapids once again has a healthy representation heading forward into the state high school playoffs.

The first round schedule has been released, and some area teams who were on the bubble found themselves in the playoffs.

A few GR area teams who finished with 5-4 records, the minimum in most divisions for getting into the playoffs were pleasantly surprised Sunday when they received playoff berths, including Grand Rapids West Catholic, the five time defending champions in Division 5.

The Falcons will travel to Unity Christian in Hudsonville to take on the 7-2 Crusaders Friday night at 7pm, in pursuit of their sixth straight title. Oddly, the Crusaders have a better record on the road, only going 2-2 on their home field.

Belding, at 7-2, also qualified in Division 5 and will travel to Muskegon to take on Oakridge.

In Division 1, another bubble team, Rockford (5-4) got in and will travel north to take on the Traverse City West Titans, who were 7-2. That game will also be Friday at 7pm.

Also in Division 1, Hudsonville will host Holland West Ottawa. Both teams finished the regular season at 6-3. Hudsonville won the regular season meeting between the two, 23-16.

Forest Hills Central, who went to the semi-finals last year in Division 2, squeaked into this year's field with a 5-4 mark and will have the unenviable task of taking on powerful top ranked Muskegon Mona Shores on the road Friday at 7pm.

Also in D2, Jenison (6-3), in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, travels to Traverse City Central for a Saturday night game, kicking off at 7pm.

Division 3 has a huge area contingent, starting with East Grand Rapids, who finished the regular season at 6-3, and earned a rematch with defending D3 champs and top ranked Muskegon at Hackley Stadium. The Pioneers battled the Big Reds tough in the regular season before capitulating late in a 49-21 loss in September.

Northview will travel down Plymouth Street to take on Christian Friday at 7pm, both teams finished at 7-2.

And both Zeeland teams will be home for playoff games with East hosting Stevensville Lakeshore Friday night at 7pm, while West will wait until Saturday afternoon to host St. Joseph starting at 1pm.

Catholic Central will begin defense of it Division 4 title at home against Spring Lake. Also in D4 -- Allendale takes its 5-4 mark to powerful Whitehall (7-2) Friday night at 7pm, and Godwin Heights at 6-3 will go to Byron Center to play South Christian Friday to take on the 5-4 Sailors.

And in 8-man football, in Division 1, undefeated Tri-Unity Christian from Wyoming will host Webberville at Grandville Middle School Friday night at 7pm.




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