Then there were seven.
A total of seven local schools with ties to the www.northoaklandsports.com coverage area have advanced to the 2012 prep football playoffs.
Last year was a strange season in that no area team got past the second round and only three of the local 10 qualifiers even won a first-round contest.
How many will advance to the Round of 16 the following weekend and how many will see their season come to an end this weekend?
There’s only one way to find out. Look into the crustal ball and see who will be playing at least one more week:
(Last week: 9-4 .692 PCT; Season: 68-18, .791 PCT)
STERLING HIEGHTS STEVENSON (6-3) AT LAKE ORION (8-1) (Friday, 7 p.m.): The last time these two played was in the regional finals in 2008 and the Dragons had to rally to win that contest. It won’t be as close this time around.
PICK: Lake Orion by 10.
DAVISON (6-3) AT CLARKSTON (9-0) (Friday, 7p.m.): Clarkston has been ranked No. 1 in the state for the past month. The Cardinals will find out why Friday.
PICK: Clarkston by 14.
OXFORD (6-3) AT BIRMINGHAM SEAHOLM (8-1) (7 p.m. Friday) — Oxford played a slightly more challenging schedule in the OAA White Division than the OAA Blue Division champion Maples. In other news, this is believed to be the first time these two schools have met in football.
PICK: Oxford by 6 in overtime.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS LAHSER (6-3) ATAUBURN HILLS AVONDALE (8-1) (7 p.m. Friday) — Avondale has too much size and speed for Lahser to handle. The Yellowjackets will prove that again.
PICK: Avondale by 7
LIVONIA CLARENCEVILLE (6-3) AT PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP (8-1) (7:30 p.m. Saturday) — It’s not too often that playoff games in the first round are played on Saturday night. Anyway, NDP had its regular season streak snapped at 21 wins last Friday. Perhaps the Irish will start a new streak…in the postseason.
PICK: Notre Dame Prep by 10.
FLINT BEECHER (5-4) at ROCHESTER HILLS LUTHERAN NORTHWEST (5-3) (Friday 7 p.m.) — Lutheran Northwest has had some trouble with team speed the past two years. Perhaps the Crusaders will finally figure out how to stop that this time around with their second-ever postseason win.
PICK: Lutheran Northwest by 6.
PITTSFORD (7-2) AT WATERFORD OUR LADY OF THE LAKES (7-2) (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.) — WOLL missed out on a postseason berth last season. The Lakers will make up for lost time in this one.
PICK: WOLL by 9.
(Stick’s Picks is a legend in his own mind and part of the prep sports family of seers in Michigan. You can contact him through his boss at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter@LocalSportsFans.)
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