Michigan D1 and D2 State Championship Preview

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Sun Tzu

This weekend the top four teams in Michigan meet in East Grand Rapids to decide the D1 and D2 State Champions. To say these teams know each other is an understatement. Detroit Catholic Central and Brother Rice will play for the D1 State Championship.

This will be the ninth meeting for the two teams in the D1 State Championship and the first time since 2019. These two teams are both in the Detroit Catholic League and have played 26 times since 2013, including six straight in the State Championship between 2014 and 2019. The two teams split their two meetings this season.

Brother Rice won the first meeting at home 12-9 and the Shamrock defeated the Warriors 9-8 in the Catholic League Championship.

Forest Hills Central and Detroit Country Day meet for the second straight year in the D2 State Championship. The Rangers capped off a perfect 21-0 record with an 11-8 victory over the Yellowjackets in 2022.

The two teams met earlier this season with Detroit Country Day winning 11-10 at home in Overtime. These have been the two top teams in D2 throughout the last two seasons. This will be a heavyweight fight that both teams will be prepared for.

To get you ready for the games on Saturday, here is an overview of the team’s regular season, highlights from the postseason, and key player(s) to watch on Saturday.

Division 1

Brother Rice

The Warriors are 19-2 on the year and have played a challenging out-of-state schedule. They defeated Ohio’s D1 State Champion Dublin Jerome (12-9), Kentucky State Champion Louisville St. Xavier (18-9), and Indiana 2A Finalist Hamilton Southeastern (17-1). Their only other loss was to Ohio D1 Finalist Cincinnati St. Xavier (9-8).

Brother Rice has cruised through the MHSAA playoffs outscoring opponents by an average of 25.2 to 3.4. The Warriors defeated Clarkston Wednesday night 26-1 in the state semifinals.

Players to Watch: Beck Eck (M) and Hunter Polonkey (A/M)

Detroit Catholic Central

The Shamrocks are also 19-2 on the season and also made use of a challenging out-of-state schedule to prepare for its 2023 postseason run. This season, Catholic Central defeated Ohio D1 Finalist St. Xavier (11-3), and Indiana 2A Finalist Hamilton Southeastern (12-8).

Catholic Central cruised to the semifinals outscoring their three opponents by an average of 18.7 to 2.7. On Wednesday night, they defeated Hartland 10-9 to make it back to State Championship for the first time since 2019. The Shamrocks defeated the Eagles 10-9 on Wednesday night. Hartland had knocked out the Catholic Central in each of the last two years in the semifinals.

Players to Watch: Jack Cyrek (FOGO/A), Lachlan Moffat (A)

Division 2

Forest Hills Central

The Rangers were 17-4 in 2023 playing the top teams both in-state and in the Midwest. While it hasn’t always looked as easy or pretty as 2022, Forest Hills Central continues to be one of the top teams in Michigan and the Midwest. Forest Hills defeated Indiana 2A Finalist Hamilton Southeastern (10-9) and Ohio D1 Finalist Cincinnati St. Xaver (13-10). Taking out an uncharacteristic 15-3 loss to Hartland, the Rangers dropped their other three games by a combined five goals to Detroit Country Day, Brother Rice, and Detroit Catholic Central.

The Rangers were challenged throughout their MHSAA run, defeating crosstown rival Forest Hills Eastern 8-2 in the regional championship and a challenging Haslett squad 8-4 in the Quarterfinals. Forest Hills Central found their footing Wednesday night dispatching Lowell 18-5 in the Semifinals.

Players to Watch: Jake Koning, Crandall Quinn

Detroit Country Day

Detroit Country Day came into the season as the pre-seeded #2 team in D2. The 2023 team seems to be a culmination of the program that Yellowjackets head coach Chris Garland has been building in his five years at Detroit Country Day. The Yellowjackets are 19-2 on the season and have done a good job playing some of the top competition in the state.

Detroit Country Day has controlled its postseason run by outscoring opponents by an average of 17.25 to 4 in its four games.

Players to Watch: Caden Daley (A), Will Thompson (A)

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Craig McMichael

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