| The Detroit News
Michigan-bound running back Donovan Edwards is on a mission to lead West Bloomfield to a state championship.
Edwards, the No. 2-ranked back in the nation according to 247Sports, rushed for a career-high 245 yards (19 carries) and four TDs in a 52-14 Division 1 regional final rout of Romeo on Saturday.
Now, No. 4 West Bloomfield will play at No. 1 Belleville in a semifinal Saturday afternoon for the right to play for the state championship Jan. 23 at Ford Field.
Edwards has played his best in big games, rushing for 146 yards (15 carries) in a 63-6 district final win over No. 7 Sterling Heights Stevenson back on Nov. 13 before the season was put on pause until this past Saturday, scoring six TDs in the first half of that district final, including an 11-yard TD catch.
Yes, Edwards is allowed to play against Belleville — which defeated West Bloomfield in the regional finals the previous two years — before moving into Michigan this weekend, then attending orientation next week.
And if West Bloomfield defeats Belleville for the right to play at Ford Field, Edwards will be allowed to play in the championship game with the blessing from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, along with the MHSAA.
“Athletes in football, volleyball and girls swimming and diving are receiving a waiver to continue participating with those teams in postseason competition even if they’ve graduated at the end of first semester or at the trimester,” said MHSAA representative Geoff Kimmerly.
When asked if athletes would be allowed to play, even if they enrolled at colleges and took part in orientation, Kimmerly replied: “Yes.”
Edwards’ teammate, cornerback Maxwell Hairston, also is still playing as an early enrollee at Kentucky.
Edwards wants nothing more than to get revenge on Belleville, then have the opportunity to play at Ford Field for the state title. He didn’t touch the ball his freshman year when West Bloomfield lost to Clarkston in the title game, 3-2.
Edwards was sidelined with an ankle injury in 2018 when Belleville defeated West Bloomfield, 13-10, then rushed for 62 yards (19 carries) and grabbed a 12-yard TD pass in West Bloomfield’s 27-22 regional final loss last season when West Bloomfield failed to protect a 15-0 first-half lead against Belleville.
Edwards has been in contact with Harbaugh in past weeks since signing a national letter of intent to play at Michigan on Dec. 16.
“Coach Harbaugh is definitely all in for me continuing to play,” Edwards said. “He wants me to win a state championship for myself.
“It was cool to get back to the game-time environment with my teammates since we prepared very hard last week for the game. We’re going to come into this week’s game (against Belleville) with everything we have to win the game.”
Edwards, who earned a spot on The News Dream Team, has rushed for 1,256 yards and 21 TDs, running out of the wildcat on occasion.
“The coaches do a great job of putting me in position of getting the opportunity to get the football in my hands to make plays,” Edwards said.
Multiple other Michigan early enrollees played this past Saturday with Detroit Cass Tech center Raheem Anderson playing in a 43-16 loss to Belleville and East Lansing receiver Andrel Anthony having several receptions in a 24-21 loss to Muskegon Mona Shores.
Anthony originally opted out for the game, but changed his mind in the days leading up to kickoff.
Several high-profile players opted out of regional finals, including the King twins of Cass Tech, cornerback/receiver Kalen King and running back/linebacker Kobe King, both enrolling early at Penn State, along with Davison quarterback Brendan Sullivan (Northwestern) and Belleville receiver Deion Burks (Purdue).