ZPS Celebrates Double Championship
Being crowned conference champion is a dream come true for any district. Today, Zeeland Public Schools is celebrating two-fold.
Zeeland East and Zeeland West both earned conference championship titles last Friday. The undefeated Chix secured the OK Black Conference crown with a 40 to 39 victory over Muskegon. The Dux dominated Holland 46 - 3 to clinch a playoff spot and a share of the OK Green Conference title with Holland Christian.
By Sunday night, the excitement took on a new level when the teams learned they would next face each other this coming Friday at Zeeland Stadium.
This Friday night, Zeeland East will host Zeeland West at Zeeland Stadium for the first round of division playoffs. Game time is 7:00 PM.
“What is important to understand is how this happened,” ZWHS Athletic Director Mark Werley explained. “It is a numbers game based on factors such as geography, playoff points, and the size of the other districts who also made the cut. It is not a one- word answer.”
“As a community, we are proud to honor both high schools for this elite title,” commented Superintendent Gary Feenstra. “How many districts have the opportunity to not only celebrate one, but two football conference championships at the same time?”
In simple terms, 256 teams are needed to begin the state high school district playoff games. From there, a team can automatically reach qualifying status by winning 6 of 9 regular season games.
That accounted for 237 teams, including both Zeeland East with a 9-0 season, and Zeeland West, who ended with a season of 6-3.
Because the Chix ended with a higher ranking, they receive home status on Friday.
The remaining 19 teams are chosen based on a formula that tallies play off points amongst the next in line 5-4 season teams. The 19 teams with the highest point totals complete the roster of 256 teams for the play offs.
From there, The Michigan High School Athletic Associations groups the 256 teams into divisions of 32, ordering them on enrollment numbers. That list is then divided into 4 geographic regions. The regions are again split geographically into separate districts, and then seeded based on playoff point totals.
“It’s not a local decision to play Chix versus Dux, it is a MHSAA committee match up,” commented Tim Ritsema, Athletic Director for the Chix. “What’s important is to recognize how far both schools have come, celebrate and be proud of where we stand as a district. It is very impressive.”
This week, the hallways at East and West will be filled with excitement and positive camaraderie. Friday night, the band will play, and the student crowds will cheer.
“All eyes will be on Zeeland” added Feenstra. “We as a community must exhibit our strengths: Our positive spirit, our community pride, and the respect of sportsmanship throughout the game, and beyond. We are proud and want to share these attributes with those who will be watching.”
One thing is clear: many will be watching.
Tickets for Friday’s game are sold through MHSAA and will arrive in Zeeland for presale on Friday. Tickets will be $5, and can be purchased ahead of time at ZE or ZW Athletic offices between 7:00 – 2:00. Tickets will also be sold at the gate, beginning at 6:00 PM. Please note because they are MHSAA tickets, no season passes or discounts are applicable for the game.