By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Time is running out on the 2012 MHSAA football season.
And that's why it's the favorite time of year for fans all over the state.
The field that began with 272 teams has been cut in half. Seven teams that entered the postseason undefeated suffered their first and only losses last week. And for a number of other contenders, things are about to get much more serious as the matchups get tougher and the first playoff trophies are handed out.
Four games again will be streamed live on FoxSportsDetroit.com's Prep Zone: Constantine at Schoolcraft, Traverse City Central at Midland, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North at Macomb Dakota and Plymouth at Livonia Churchill.
Below are some of the District Finals that could have the most bearing on championship races in each division. Visit the MHSAA Score Center for game times and dates, and all weekend for updated scores and standings.
Plymouth (8-2) at Livonia Churchill (10-0)
This is a rematch of the deciding game in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South, although Livonia Churchill’s 35-31 win came all the way back in Week 3. The Wildcats rebounded nicely off a Week 9 loss to Grand Blanc with a 40-28 win over Canton last week, while the Chargers, with their 10th win, extended their best season in program history.
Others that caught my eye: Holland West Ottawa (8-2) at Rockford (8-2), Utica Eisenhower (8-2) at Lake Orion (9-1), Grand Blanc (6-4) at Clarkston (10-0).
Lowell (8-2) at Muskegon (9-1)
When these two met in Week 4, they were considered the top two teams in Division 2. They’re still among the elite despite a few bumps since, but Lowell might have an upward battle to keep its string of three straight MHSAA championship game appearances alive. The reigning Division 2 runner-up fell to the Big Reds 36-21 in that earlier meeting.
Others that caught my eye: Traverse City Central (9-1) at Midland (10-0), Walled Lake Western (7-3) at Mattawan (9-1), Wyandotte Roosevelt (9-1) at Taylor Truman (9-1).
Auburn Hills Avondale (9-1) at Orchard Lake St. Mary (8-2)
Avondale has its most wins since 1995 and won the Oakland Activities Association Blue championship before surviving with a two-point rematch win over Bloomfield Hills Lahser last week. The last time these two met turned into one of the wildest games of the 2010 playoffs – a 71-44 Eaglets win in the District Final. Beating St. Mary this time would give Avondale arguably its best playoff victory ever.
Others that caught my eye: DeWitt (8-2) at Linden (9-1), Zeeland West (7-3) at Grand Rapids Christian (9-1), Detroit East English (8-2) at St. Clair (9-1).
Richmond (7-3) at Croswell-Lexington (10-0)
Richmond has come back after two straight losing seasons to return to the playoffs, but has to be smarting a bit after missing out on the Blue Water Conference title by a combined 11 points over three losses. The first was to Croswell-Lexington, 27-24 in Week 2, and the Pioneers have won every game but one since by at least 15 points.
Others that caught my eye: Comstock Park (9-1) at Grand Rapids Catholic Central (10-0), Grand Rapids South Christian (7-3) at Dowagiac (10-0), Detroit Country Day (8-2) at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (9-1).
Frankenmuth (10-0) at Flint Powers Catholic (10-0)
This is the Eagles’ best run since making a Class B Semifinal in 1997 and has included its first league title since 2007. Frankenmuth is outscoring opponents by an average of 34-7. But reigning MHSAA champion Powers has won 18 straight games and has been one of the most impressive teams in the state all season.
Others that caught my eye: Kingsford (9-1) at Menominee (9-1), Grand Rapids West Catholic (7-3) at Muskegon Oakridge (10-0), Lake Fenton (8-2) at Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (9-1).
Millington (9-1) at Montrose (9-1)
Montrose got the scare of its season in the District Semifinal before edging Vassar 7-6. Millington had a much better time last week, cruising to a 66-18 win over Byron, the Cardinals' fourth straight game scoring at least 60 points. That sounds like bad news for the Rams, but consider: Montrose is giving up 14 points per game, and has faced five playoff teams including a pair still alive in Divisions 4 and 5.
Others that caught my eye: Constantine (8-2) at Schoolcraft (10-0), Detroit Consortium (7-3) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (8-2), Hemlock (9-1) at Ithaca (10-0).
Saginaw Nouvel (8-2) at Reese (10-0)
The Rockets have a strong football tradition, and this is their fourth season with at least 10 wins over the last 13. But beating the reigning MHSAA champion would add another degree of credibility to an already impressive run. The Panthers played teams from all over the Lower Peninsula again this fall, with their only losses to Flint Powers and Traverse City St. Francis.
Others that caught my eye: Mancelona (10-0) at Ishpeming (9-1), Decatur (8-2) at Lawton (9-1), Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett (8-2) at Detroit Loyola (10-0).
Climax-Scotts (10-0) at Mendon (10-0)
This might be the most anticipated game in the state this weekend. Mendon has been untouchable the last two seasons and is riding a 24-game winning streak. There were two close calls over the last three weeks, and Climax-Scotts is built to provide another. This is the Panthers’ fourth straight season with at least 10 wins, and their ninth over the last decade. But Mendon beat Climax-Scotts 35-10 in last season’s Regional Final.
Others that caught my eye: Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (9-1) at Beal City (10-0), Muskegon Catholic Central (7-3) at Fowler (9-1), Harbor Beach (9-1) at New Lothrop (10-0).
Rapid River (9-1) at Cedarville (10-0)
Cedarville entered the postseason with the highest playoff point average in this division, and this game will be a big step regardless of what happened the first time these teams met this fall. Rapid River finished runner-up in last season’s inaugural Final, and should give the Trojans a much better game than the Cedarville's 72-12 win on Sept. 28.
Other Regional Finals: Owendale-Gagetown (8-2) at Bellaire (7-3), Kinde-North Huron (6-4) at Deckerville (9-1), Battle Creek St. Philip (7-3) at Portland St. Patrick (10-0).
PHOTO: Montrose survived a tough challenge from Vassar to win last week's District Semifinal, 7-6. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com).