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Jason Schmitt is the editor of, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Remembering back: Novi vs. Catholic Central - 2011

No year goes by without the emails, the phone calls, the chitter chatter on public online forums, from those stirring up the Public vs. Private debate. The public school supporters complaining of the advantages private schools have of being able to draw from a large pool of schools to put together a team, of which they must then play against once the state tournament rolls around.
And the privates having to fend off accusations that they "recruit" kids to come to their schools. They claim they're playing by the rules set forth by the MHSAA.
I get it from both sides. And I see valid points from both.
But in the end, it is what it is. The MHSAA deals with this issue in many, many sports. And there's no easy, cheap fix to the situation. To form a separate playoff system for private and public schools - the most favorable solution for the public-school backers - would personally disappoint this hockey writer.
If that were to happen, we wouldn't have a game such as the one we have on tap tonight at Compuware Arena. Novi and Novi Detroit Catholic Central are playing in a pre-regional final, a rematch of what I consider the "Game of the Year" in last year's playoffs. I know we've already had some great games this postseason, some of the best going into overtime or double OT. But last year's Novi-Catholic Central battle went into triple-OT before Novi's Michael Kruse ended it and springboarded the Wildcats to a Division 1 state championship. (CLICK HERE TO WATCH KRUSE'S GAME-WINNING GOAL)
It was a battle of the top-two teams in the division. It was a battle of two teams whose coaches are at the center of the public vs. private debate. It was the most anticipated game of last year's playoffs. And it did not disappoint.
But, if some coaches had their way, it may not have ever happened.
So let's enjoy these kinds of matchups when they happen. Catholic Central, ranked No. 1 again this year, is the favorite heading into tonight's game. The Wildcats are No. 5. Novi lost a lot of talent from last year's title team. But coach Todd Krygier has done a brilliant job this season and has his team playing some good hockey.
The Shamrocks have been No. 1 from Day 1 and coach Todd Johnson has his team playing determined hockey right now. I predicted CC to win this game a year ago. I was wrong.
This year I'm going with the Shamrocks again. Prediction: CATHOLIC CENTRAL 3, NOVI 1

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