By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Football teams have represented Michigan high schools for more than a century, beginning long before the MHSAA was formed during the winter of 1924-25.
This weekend, nearly all of the 614 varsity teams scheduled to play this fall will kick off their seasons – and for a fortunate 18, start a journey that will last more than three months through the MHSAA Finals.
This will be the 40th season of the MHSAA football playoffs, which were first played with a much smaller field of teams in 1975. The field expanded to its current 256 11-player teams in 1999, and an 8-player tournament was added in 2011.
The above photo was taking during a 23-0 Muskegon victory over Escanaba during the 1989 Class A playoffs (senior Marcus Longmire celebrates scoring his team's second touchdown). The Big Reds advanced from this Pre-Regional game to face Midland, then Lansing Sexton, and finally Detroit Martin Luther King in the Class A Final – which Muskegon won 16-13.
The Big Reds have won five MHSAA titles total, and also made Finals the last three seasons, finishing runner-up in Division 2 in 2012 and 2013 and last season in Division 3 after falling 7-0 to Orchard Lake St. Mary's.