The 2017 regular season in winding down, and teams are locking in on conference titles and playoff berths. This week, Michigan Sports Radio will send its broadcast crews out to eight games across the area. In addition to Thursday night’s LIVE preview show on Facebook, check out a quick preview of the matchups below:
Rockford (4-3, 3-1 OK Red) vs East Kentwood (5-2, 2-2 OK Red)
In a pivotal game on Friday night, the Rams and Falcons square off with playoff implications on the line. East Kentwood can clinch a playoff berth with a win, and Rockford can stay on track with a win of their own. The Rams also have an outside chance at earning a share of the OK Red title if they can win out and get some help in Week 9. Their defenses have both been very strong this season, as the Falcons allow 17.7 points per game and Rockford is slightly better at 14.6 per contest. This game should be a competitive contest, as these two teams have played some great games over the years. Last year, the Rams snapped a two-game skid by topping an inferior Falcons team 45-7.
Hudsonville (3-4, 1-3 OK Red) vs Grand Haven (0-7, 0-5 OK Red)
Another OK Red battle pits two of the bottom three teams in the league as Hudsonville hosts Grand Haven. The Eagles got their first conference win of the year last week when they scored a late touchdown with 40 seconds left to defeat Caledonia 17-10. The Buccaneers have struggled all season, as they have been outscored by an average score of 36.3-9.7, with six of seven losses coming by at least eighteen points. The Eagles have had their number lately against Grand Haven, as they have not lost in this series since 2011.
#4 Forest Hills Central (7-0, 5-0 OK White) at #10 Cedar Springs (5-2, 4-0 OK White)
The OK White Championship is on the line Friday night in Cedar Springs as the Rangers face off against the Red Hawks. Forest Hills Central dominated Lowell last week, snapping a losing streak that dated back to last millennium. This week, they can check off another goal with a league title, if they can win on the road against a Cedar Springs team that has surprised many since their win over Lowell two weeks ago. In their only matchup prior to this season, the Rangers defeated Cedar Springs 30-21 a year ago.
Freeland (5-2, 4-2 TVC-Central) vs Carrollton (6-1, 5-1 TVC-Central)
The Falcons have had three straight ten-win seasons, so not being qualified for the playoffs into Week 8 is relatively unchartered territory. With undefeated Frankenmuth on deck in the season finale, it is crucial that Freeland gets their sixth win in Week 8, but it will also be a tough task. The Carrollton Cavaliers are 6-1 on the season, and they are still alive in the TVC-Central conference race with their best season since 2012. Freeland has won 17 of 23 all-time meetings in this series, with their last loss coming back in 1993.
Coopersville (5-2, 3-2 OK Blue) at Holland (4-3, 3-2 OK Green)
Another crucial matchup in the playoff picture takes place in Holland on Friday night in a crossover contest. The Broncos of Coopersville out of the OK Blue are just one win away from reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008. On the other side, Holland needs two wins to clinch a berth, one would give them a chance, and if they reach the playoffs it would be for the first time since 2011 when they made the regional finals. In the only prior matchup between these two teams, Holland took home a 21-8 win a season ago.
Tri-County (0-7, 0-6 CSAA-Gold) at Fremont (0-7, 0-6 CSAA-Gold)
In the CSAA-Gold, two teams have something unique to play for in the eighth week of the season. Tri-County will travel to Fremont in a battle of teams that are looking to crack the win column in 2017. The Vikings have not won a game since last season when they topped these Packers 29-0 in Week 8. On the other side, Fremont has lost 25 in a row dating back to a Week 9 win over Montague in 2014. One of these streaks has to snap this week, and the recent play would give a slight edge to Tri-County. The Packers have had success historically against Tri-County however, winning 14 of 18 all-time meetings, though their last win came back in 2013 as part of a nine-game winning streak in the rivalry.
#8 West Catholic (6-1, 4-0 OK Blue) vs #4 Catholic Central (7-0, 4-0 OK Blue)
The OK Blue Championship is on the line Friday night at Fifth Third Ballpark as the #8 Falcons host the #4 Cougars. After a season-opening loss to Jackson Lumen Christi, the Falcons have given up just 47 points in their six wins, outscoring opponents 39.3-7.8 in that span. They will take on an undefeated Catholic Central team, who also boasts a very strong defense, allowing 39 points in their first six games combined before giving up 50 points a week ago. Nolan Fugate will try to disrupt the West Catholic defense on his follow-up act after a record day on the ground last week against Comstock Park. Last season, West Catholic topped Catholic Central 20-3, their third straight win in the series dating back to 2008.
Schoolcraft (5-2, 2-1 SAC-Valley) vs Watervilet (7-0, 3-0 SAC-Valley)
Jordan Slocum will air LIVE the Kalamazoo Game of the Week as Schoolcraft takes on Watervilet. The Panthers are undefeated on the season and have an explosive offense that averages 58 points per game, the highest average in the state of Michigan. They will take on the Eagles of Schoolcraft, who averages half of the point production offensively (29.2) but they boast a strong defense (14.6 PAPG). Schoolcraft has had success in this series, 4-1 all time, including a 51-30 win last season.