Allendale (2-7 in 2017)
Last year, the Falcons disappointed in terms of their final record, but they lost four games by single digit margins. This year, they hope to change this fact in order to get back to the postseason. Logan Miller anchors an offensive line that hopes to pave the way for running backs such as Owen Burk, son of coach Ben Burk. There are a lot of parts that need to be replaced this fall.
Non-Conference Schedule: Unity Christian, Greenville, at Cedar Springs
The Crusaders and the Falcons have opened each of the last fourteen seasons pitted against each other. Unity has had an advantage, winning 8 of 14 including four consecutive games. The pair of OK White opponents in Greenville and Cedar Springs are both first time matchups.
Catholic Central (14-0 in 2017)
The Cougars completed their pursuit of back-to-back Division 4 State Championships. They topped their 2016 performance by posting a perfect record, capping it off with a win over Edwardsburg in the finals. There are a lot of pieces that must be replaced for Catholic Central. Finn Perdue, Luke Harmon and Jake Passinault anchor the offensive line for the Cougars. They will aim to protect Joe Collins, a senior, who will take over the quarterback duties. He has a trio of pass catchers, Ben Joppich, Kyle Tepper and Ethan Lott, whom also will start at the linebacker position.
Non-Conference Schedule: Muskegon Heights, at Saline, Zeeland East
Catholic opens the season against a Muskegon Heights team that has not posted a winning season since 2010. In week two, they travel to Saline, a program that has made the playoffs six years in a row, four of those seasons featured double-digit wins. In the third week of the season, they host Zeeland East, who has made the postseason in seven of the past eight years. The only team they have played prior to this season is Muskegon Heights, but their last matchup was in 1964.
Comstock Park (7-4 in 2017)
In 2016, Comstock Park missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Coach Tim Johnston and the Panthers made sure that this was strictly a one-year hiatus, as they won a playoff game before falling to Belding in the district finals. This year, they return all state quarterback Chase Brown to direct the offense. He has four key recievers returning in Aidan Martin, Colby Brown, Chanse Crittendon and Keegan Peoples. When they must run the ball, Comstock Park will turn to the Martin brothers, Cameron and Quinton. The biggest issue for Comstock Park is their offensive line. All of their starters graduated, so they will look to players such as Brenden Pelton to step into large roles.
Non-Conference Schedule: Northview, at Wyoming, Byron Center
The Panthers have a favorable season opener in Northview, a team that they have favorably defeated in each of the last two seasons. They then face Wyoming, a squad they have defeated in five of the past six seasons. The big question mark game will be against Byron Center. The Bulldogs had a down year in 2017 but look poised to regain form in 2018.
Coopersville (6-4 in 2017)
The Broncos made the playoffs in Ed Kaman’s first season at the helm, snapping a drought that dated back to 2008. It will be an inexperienced bunch, they only return nine starters on both sides of the ball combined, but there are some key players back. One of these is all conference running back Cayden Schneider, who also makes significant impacts as a defensive back. Owen Syrek, Connor Helsen and Nate Brodi are leading the way as wide receivers for Coopersville.
Non-Conference Schedule: Holland Christian, at Hamilton, Fruitport
Coopersville opens their season against Holland Christian, a team that is on the rise from a year ago. Hamilton and Fruitport are two programs that struggled a year ago, and they will be inexperienced again in 2018. These three games give the Broncos a strong shot at sweeping the non-conference slate.
Sparta (4-5 in 2017)
Coach Mark Chapman has fielded a pair of 4-5 teams in his two years at the help in Sparta. This year, he hopes to get the Spartans over the hump and into the postseason for the first time since 2013. He will look to junior Jakel Davis, who will make an impact at both quarterback and linebacker, to lead the Spartans. Jonathan Kutzli and Conrad Savage will look to also play both ways for Sparta, at running back and linebacker. A small roster leaves Coach Chapman in a position that he needs the team to stay healthy to reach the postseason.
Non-Conference Schedule: Lansing Everett, at Union, Forest Hills Eastern
By opening with Lansing Everett and Union and following that with the league opener against Spring Lake, Sparta’s first three opponents finished 2017 with a 1-26 combined record. The crossover game is against Forest Hills Eastern, who has finished 3-6 in the last two seasons. Sparta has never faced Forest Hills Eastern prior to this season.
Spring Lake (0-9 in 2017)
For the first time since 1991, the Lakers finished a season without a victory. The games were extra difficult for Spring Lake as they never came within 21 points of any opponent. The experience, eight starters on both offense and defense, allows for Spring Lake to take some momentum into this year’s campaign. Caleb Montgomery, a senior, will lead the offense at quarterback as well as captain the defense at linebacker. Aleck Frederick, Mitch Payne and Wyatt Lisman join him as linebackers, but they will play running back on offense.
Non-Conference Schedule: Orchard View, at Fruitport, at Holland Christian
The Lakers open with a pair of former Lakes 8 opponents in Orchard View and Fruitport. Spring Lake won the final seven meetings against Orchard View in Lakes 8 play, but they have lost four straight games to Fruitport. Spring Lake and Holland Christian have played each of the last two years, with the Maroons taking home the victory in both of those contests.
West Catholic (12-2 in 2017)
The Falcons lost a pair of games last season, but that did not slow them down from winning their fifth straight State Championship in Division 5. West Catholic graduated 23 seniors, but there are players that have some game experience that will be vital in their pursuit of a sixth straight crown. Matt Bilski, an offensive lineman and defensive end, will serve as a leader as one of the most experienced players on the roster. Junior quarterback Spencer Zobro will look to seniors Mitchell Doyle and Nick Dorato as reliable targets in the passing game.
Non-Conference Schedule: at Lumen Christi, Lansing Catholic, Grand Rapids Christian
A trio of historically talented programs loom on the non-conference schedule for the Falcons. They open with Jackson Lumen Christi, the two-time defending Division 6 Champion. These two teams have met each of the past three seasons with Lumen winning a pair. Lansing Catholic and Grand Rapids Christian are both teams that have made deep playoff runs in the last five years, so they are nothing to overlook.
The other OK Conference previews can be found at the following links: