Photo Courtesy of Louis Murray
The high school football season has flown by, and we are already in Week 6 of the season! Before the action this Friday night, check out the standings, the Remax-United Power Poll, and the Core Power Performance Impact Players of the Week to catch up on all of the news here at MSR. Then, tune in on Facebook on Thursday night as Crysta Paganelli and Dave VanNoord go live from Celebration Cinema North at 8:00 PM. Finally, check back in on Friday to check out scores and listen to one of the nine contests previewed below.
#10 Rockford (3-2, 2-0 OK Red) at #9 Grandville (4-1, 3-0 OK Red)
One of this week’s matchups of ranked teams pits two OK Red foes against each other in a pursuit of the conference lead. These two, as well as West Ottawa, enter this week unbeaten in league play. Rockford comes in off a pair of blowout conference wins, a combined 90-23 over Caledonia and Grand Haven. For Grandville, they are winners of three in a row, 88-28 over Hudsonville, Grand Haven and East Kentwood. Last week’s 28-14 on the road against the Falcons surprised many and landed Grandville back in the Remax-United Power Poll. The Rams are averaging 25.6 points per game, while yielding just 13.4. Grandville has very similar season averages, scoring 28.2 per game, and giving up 14.4. Don’t be surprised if this game ends up being played again this season, as the two teams have rematched in the playoffs in both of the last two seasons. Rockford has won 12 of 13 in this rivalry, but Grandville currently holds the last laugh after a 20-3 in last year’s district finals.
East Kentwood (4-1, 1-1 OK Red) vs West Ottawa (4-1, 3-0 OK Red)
Two other contenders for the OK Red crown will face off just three highway exits down from Grandville, as Holland West Ottawa will travel to Kentwood to take on the Falcons. The Falcons were upset by Grandville a week ago, snapping an impressive four-game winning streak that included outscoring their opponents by an average of 34-13.8. They look to bounce back against a West Ottawa team that has surprised many by winning four of their first five games. They had an easy time defeating Caledonia, Grand Haven and Hudsonville to start OK-Red play, winning by a combined 96-20. The schedule is tough for West Ottawa down the stretch, and Friday night is their best chance to prove they are for real. East Kentwood has had recent success against the Panthers, winning each of the past two seasons.
Hudsonville (1-4, 0-3 OK Red) vs Northview (0-5, 0-3 OK White)
The fifth OK-Red team on the broadcast schedule this week, the Hudsonville Eagles, find themselves in a different boat than the four previously mentioned. They have struggled so far to score the ball, scoring double figures just twice on the year, so they will be relieved to see the Northview defense on the other side. The Wildcats are yielding an average of 45 points per game to start the season, including giving up 51 three separate times. Something has to give in this contest, whether it be the Hudsonville offensive droughts or the Northview defensive woes. Last year, these former OK-White foes (1994-2002) met and Hudsonville emerged with a 48-13 victory.
#8 Grand Rapids Christian (5-0, 2-0 OK Gold) vs #3 East Grand Rapids (5-0, 2-0 OK-Gold)
The second ranked matchup of the week sees the #3 Pioneers hitting the road to take on #8 Grand Rapids Christian. These two teams both enter the game undefeated, and they are playing for the driver’s seat in the OK Gold race. East has outscored their opponents 33.4-8.4 on average, and they have pitched a pair of shutouts the last two weeks to open league play against Middleville and Wyoming. Grand Rapids Christian has been able to score with ease all season, averaging an impressive 44.6 points per game. This is a battle of two of the area’s best quarterbacks in East’s Mike Malewitz and GRC’s Isaac Dykema. East won last year’s meeting by a score of 28-7, but I would be surprised to see a low score in this one. The MLive Game of the Week should not disappoint, with offensive fireworks a plenty, and both teams primed to make a statement.
Freeland (4-1, 3-1 TVC-Central) at Alma (5-0, 4-0 TVC-Central)
The Freeland Falcons, back-to-back champs of the TVC-Central faces a must-win game on Friday in terms of their pursuit of a three-peat. After falling to Swan Valley two weeks ago, the Falcons find themselves a game out of first place, trailing Alma and Swan Valley. This week’s road test is pivotal to their pursuit of the league title, and they have their hands full. Alma has lost four straight to Freeland, but each of the past two seasons they have played the Falcons within a touchdown.
Coopersville (3-2, 1-2 OK-Blue) vs Spring Lake (0-5, 0-3 OK-Blue)
The Broncos of Coopersville met a swift reality against of the state’s best when they were shutout 41-0 at West Catholic last Friday. Despite losing, they still have turned in a strong start to the season and could make a push toward the postseason. If Riley Johnson and his teammates want to play the 10th game, they face a must-win against Spring Lake on Friday. The Lakers have struggled this year, scoring just twenty-one points in five games, and they have been shutout three different times. The Broncos still have a tough pair of games ahead, so this one is crucial to their postseason aspirations. Spring Lake took home the victory in this one last season 20-0.
Comstock Park (4-1, 2-0 OK-Blue) vs West Catholic (4-1, 2-0 OK-Blue)
A second OK Blue battle pits a pair of teams that are undefeated in league play. While everyone expected West Catholic to be without a blemish in league play, not many would have expected this of the Panthers before the season began. Comstock Park suffered their first loss of the season a week ago against Unity Christian, but their strong offense, led by JoJo Whitley, has yet to skip a beat. The unit averages 42 points per game on the year, but they will have their toughest test of the season to date as West Catholic has held all but one of their opponents to six points or fewer, including three shutouts. West Catholic has won three straight in this series, including a 61-7 rout a season ago.
Tri-County (0-5, 0-4 CSAA-Gold) vs Grant (3-2, 2-2 CSAA-Gold)
The Vikings of Tri-County will look to get in the win column this week as they host the Tigers of Grant. Last week, Tri-County had their hands full with Reed City, but they have played well in three of their losses. This week’s opponent, Grant, enters the contest on a two-game losing streak, though they lost to the CSAA-Gold’s big boys in Reed City and Chippewa Hills. Last year, this contest was very close as Grant won by a narrow 21-14 margin. This was the Tigers’ sixth win in the last seven meetings against Tri-County.
Vicksburg (4-1, 4-1 Wolverine) vs Paw Paw (3-2, 3-2 Wolverine)
Jordan Slocum’s Kalamazoo Game of the Week pits a pair of Wolverine Conference foes that have had strong starts to the season. The Redskins of Paw Paw have experienced the highs and lows this season, shutting out two opponents while also being shutout twice. They take on a Vicksburg team that is coming in hot off of a 70-13 win against Otsego. The only blemish on the Bulldogs’ record is a three-point defeat against Plainwell. Last year Vicksburg defeated Paw Paw 28-7, their third straight win in this series.