GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The road to Ford Field is nearing its final destination.
Seven local high school football teams will play in state semifinals on Saturday for the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving weekend at Ford Field.
Here are quick previews of the six semifinal games involving local teams:
MUSKEGON BIG REDS (10-2) VS. EAST LANSING TROJANS (10-2) (at Greenville)
The Big Reds are looking for a second straight trip to the state championship game after beating Saginaw Heritage in last week’s regional final. Muskegon played in last year’s Division 3 title game, but lost to Detroit Martin Luther King.
The Big Reds are averaging 42 points per game in the postseason and have reeled off 10 straight wins after an 0-2 start.
East Lansing used a big second half to beat Byron Center (42-20) last week and win a regional championship.
The Trojans have won 10 games in a season for the first time since 2001 and will play in their first state semifinal since 2005.
FOREST HILLS CENTRAL RANGERS (11-1) VS. ZEELAND WEST DUX (9-3) (at West Ottawa)
Zeeland West ended the regular season with three consecutive losses, but has gotten back to its winning ways in the postseason.
The Dux, who have scored 42 points or more in each of their three postseason wins, haven’t played in a state semifinal since their state championship run and perfect 14-0 season in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are hoping for a return to the state finals. Forest Hills Central advanced to the Division 2 title game before falling to Warren De La Salle.
The Rangers were co-champions in the O-K White conference this season and beat Gaylord in last week’s regional final. Forest Hills Central has won 24 of its last 26 games.
PORTLAND RED RAIDERS (12-0) VS. GRAND RAPIDS SOUTH CHRISTIAN SAILORS (9-3) (at Forest Hills Eastern)
The Sailors are one game away from having the opportunity to defend their state championship from a year ago after an impressive 55-35 win over Big Rapids in a regional final.
South Christian went a perfect 14-0 last season, but dropped three games this season, each by nine points or less.
Portland enters its first state semifinals since 2018 with an unbeaten record after edging Niles last week, 21-14.
The Red Raiders’ defense has led the way this season, allowing only 91 points. Only three teams have scored double-digits against them.
FRANKENMUTH EAGLES (11-1) VS. GRAND RAPIDS CATHOLIC CENTRAL COUGARS (11-1) (at Ithaca)
The Cougars bring an 11-game winning streak into Saturday’s semifinal after a thrilling win over longtime rival and previously unbeaten Grand Rapids West Catholic in a regional final.
A late touchdown helped rally Catholic Central to a huge road win and a spot in the semifinals for the eighth consecutive year.
Frankenmuth is making its fourth straight appearance in the semifinals following a 35-13 victory over Kingsford.
The Eagles also have won 11 straight games after dropping their season opener and are looking for a return to the state title game. They lost to Gladwin, 10-7.
These two teams met in the semifinals in 2021 with Catholic Central earning a 35-0 win. They also squared off in the 2020 state championship game as the Cougars emerged with a 48-21 victory.
KINGSLEY STAGS (10-2) VS. REED CITY COYOTES (9-3) (at Cadillac)
Reed City is looking to avenge last year’s narrow loss in the semifinals.
The Coyotes lost to Negaunee 13-12 to spoil their bid for a spot in the state title game and are eager for another shot.
Reed City struggled early, but has bounced back from a 1-3 start to the season with eight straight wins. This is their fourth consecutive season with nine or more wins.
Kingsley is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2019.
The Stags are one of the highest scoring teams in the state and boast an offense that’s averaging 49 points per game. They’ve scored a school-record 583 points this season
NORTH MUSKEGON NORSEMEN (12-0) VS. MENOMINEE MAROONS (10-2) at (Gaylord)
The storybook season for North Muskegon continued last week with a 28-27 victory over Pewamo-Westphalia in a regional final.
The Norseman advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1986 and will search for their first trip to the state title game in school history. North Muskegon has already set school records in wins and points.
Menominee has been simply dominant in the postseason, out-scoring its three opponents 140-28.
The Maroons are enjoying their best season since 2016, when they advanced to the Division 5 state title game.