The OK Silver for most of recent memory was a two-team race between Hopkins and Northpointe Christian. Hopkins won at least a share of the league title from 2010-2014, and Northpointe has finished no worse than third in their four years as a member, winning two league titles. Grandville Calvin Christian, it should be noted, also shared the 2013 league championship title. This year the league adds Belding from the OK Blue. This appears to be Northpointe’s league to run away with for their second straight title, with a much more exciting competition between the teams jockeying for second through sixth place.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
4-Grandville Calvin Christian
BELDING (1-8 in 2015)
Once a powerhouse that reached four state finals in the 1990’s, the Belding Redskins have slid off since the turn of the 2010s, reaching the playoffs just once. After a season in which they won just a single contest, the Redskins will look to improve on their record this fall. Two way linebacker and running backs James Daniel and Nolan Beck will be back along with interior lineman Dalton Riches and Damion Ball. A move to the OK Silver should help the Redskins as they are similar to the teams in this league in terms of size. Expect Belding to top last year’s one win total this fall.
GODWIN HEIGHTS (6-4 in 2015)
Just three years removed from not being able to field a team, Godwin Heights made the school’s second playoff appearance ever, it’s first since 1989. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, their playoff run was short-lived as they were topped 55-0 by Catholic Central. This fall, Godwin Heights will be under new leadership as former Wyoming Lee coach and Ferris State player Carlton Brewster brings his spread offense to Godwin. Brewster will have returning players Chris Palmer (RB/LB), Sergio Campos (OL/DL), Kelvyn Valdez (TE/S), Maurice Vinson (RB/DB) to aid in implementing this new scheme. After the graduation of quarterback Richard Major, Suriya Davenport, who played sparingly a year ago, is poised to take over. Godwin Heights has the experience to finish second in this league, contend for a playoff berth and give Northpointe the best challenge out of anyone in the OK Silver.
GRANDVILLE CALVIN CHRISTIAN (3-6 in 2015)
Last fall a senior led Squires team struggled as they lost five in a row to start the year. In the season’s final four weeks, Grandville Calvin Christian finished strong as they won three of those contests. This will be a young Squires team, as they lose quarterback Tony DeWitte amongst others, but in a wide open bottom half of the OK Silver, they should be able to scrap together some wins.
HOPKINS (2-7 in 2015)
After a five year reign of dominance in the OK Silver in which Hopkins won the league title, the Vikings took a step back in 2015 as the team lost seven games, three by a touchdown or less. A program that has missed the playoffs just three times since 1998, the Vikings will look to get back this season. Running back Cyrus Miner, a leading rusher out of the backfield a year ago will be the feature of the offense. Jason Battjes, who played quarterback and wide receiver in 2015 will also be back on the offensive side for the Vikings. With two non-conference opponents that struggled a year ago on the schedule and five home games, Hopkins is poised to improve on last year’s win total.
KELLOGGSVILLE (3-6 in 2015)
Last fall, the Rockets played in a lot of blowouts, two wins and four losses. The exciting win over Hopkins gave Kelloggsville their third win, however the two losses by a combined 11 points to Godwin Heights and Calvin Christian prevented the third straight 5-4 season. Four year starting quarterback Austin Spratling graduated, leaving a huge hole in the Kelloggsville offense. The Rockets do return offensive lineman Jacob Hemminger and Donovan Spencer to protect the newly formed backfield. Facing a non-conference schedule in which all three teams finished with a winning record, the Rockets will be hard pressed to improve upon their win total in 2016.
LEE (0-9 in 2015)
For the past few seasons, football has not been a success on the scoreboard at Wyoming Lee. The Rebels have lost 21 contests in a row and 26 of 27 dating back to the start of the 2013 season. Things look up this year for Lee though as a familiar face will be roaming the sidelines once again. Tom DeGennaro, the coach at Lee from 1998-2007, will look to rebuild the program he had turned into a success, including the school’s lone postseason appearance back in 2006. He will have quarterback Ramses Larabel returning along with lineman Ivan Martinez and Chris Ventura. The schedule presents two very strong opportunities for Wyoming Lee to snap their infamous streak as they will take on White Cloud, whose two wins since 2012 were both against Lee, and Detroit Public Safety, a school that is fielding a football team for the first time this season. The 2016 season could be a positive step in the rebuilding of Lee football.
NORTHPOINTE CHRISTIAN (12-1 in 2015)
Northpointe Christian has completed just eight seasons as a football program. In six of those seasons, including the past five, the Mustangs have reached the postseason. In both 2014 and 2015, Northpointe reached the state semifinals where they lost. This fall the Mustangs will look to win their second straight OK Silver crown as they will be led by two way player Charles Willekes. Willekes, whose brother Kenny is a defensive end at Michigan State, will look to keep Northpointe’s defensive dominance going as the Mustangs allowed under fourteen points a game last year. He will be joined by Jalen Shaffer in the backfield to form a strong running back combination. Micah Visser, who played in a handful of games at quarterback in 2015, is the expected starter under center this fall. The Mustangs are the heavy favorite to win the OK Silver and return to the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
2016 FOOTBALL PREVIEWS