The sixth week of the MHSAA season is upon us. There are eight teams in our coverage zone that can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win on Friday night. For others, Week 6 represents another week of playing for their playoff lives with their backs against the wall. Let’s look ahead to preview this week’s coverage here at Michigan Sports Radio.
Grand Rapids South Christian (3-2) at East Grand Rapids (3-2)
Last year when these two played, the OK Gold title was on the line. The Pioneers were victorious with the Sailors last ending with attempt a Jalen Broussard Interception. The Sailors would love to repay the favor on Friday night.
Both teams enter the game on Friday undefeated in OK Gold play, but tied for 2nd place in the conference. Middleville Thornapple Kellogg sits atop the OK Gold at 5-0 and 3-0.
With 4 games left on the schedule and the margin for error getting ever smaller and both teams yet to face M T K, this is a near PLAYOFF game for both squads.
The Sailors have GR Christian, TAK, and FHE after Friday’s game. The Pioneers will see TAK, GR Christian, and Wyoming.
I know it’s a cliché but “one game at a time” must be the key on Friday. If either team is caught looking ahead they just may find themselves left behind.
GREENVILLE (2-3) VS REETHS-PUFFER (2-3)
Last week, Greenville got back on the winning track as they shutout Ottawa Hills 35-0. At 2-3, the Yellowjackets can still make a push to the postseason, but their margin for error is very slim. This week’s matchup against Reeths-Puffer is a must win for both teams with tough league slates ahead. Reeths-Puffer also got back in the win column last week when they took down Union 65-6. These two schools have not met since 2009 when Greenville won 34-13, but Reeths-Puffer holds the 10-2 all-time edge.
HUDSONVILLE (4-1) VS GRANDVILLE (2-3)
The Eagles of Hudsonville were finally beaten this past week, as they were unable to hold off the second half surge of Jenison. This week, they have another tough contest as they face rival Grandville. The Bulldogs have an argument for being the best 2-3 team in the state of Michigan, as they have lost to Warren DeLaSalle, Clarkston and East Kentwood, who all combine for a 13-2 record thus far. Eventually, the Bulldogs do need to win one of these games against tough opponents however, and here is a solid chance. The last four in this series have gone to Grandville, including 19-7 last year. Hudsonville does lead the all-time count however by a narrow 14-13-1 margin.
ROCKFORD (2-3) VS CALEDONIA (1-4)
The Rockford Rams are fresh off of a shutout win over Grand Haven last Friday night, and their playoff hopes are still intact. This Friday night, they host the Scots of Caledonia, who must win out to give themselves a chance to earn a spot on playoff points. Last week, the Scots put up a valiant effort against West Ottawa before falling by fifteen. Caledonia has lost their last four games after winning the season opener against Holt. These two OK Red teams have met in each of the past four seasons with Rockford winning the past three by a combined 128-39, including 51-13 last year. Don’t count the Scots out however, as Tom Burrill defeated Coach Munger back in 2014 by a 42-0 defeat, and running back Caleb Bronkema has many similarities to that team’s star back Eddie Kelly.
ALLENDALE (3-2) VS GR CATHOLIC CENTRAL (4-1)
In the first of two OK Blue games that feature teams with unblemished league records, Allendale will try and earn a key fourth win over the two-time defending Division 4 Champion Cougars. Last week, Catholic Central fell behind early before storming back to a 69-13 win over Coopersville. For Allendale, they suffered their second loss a week ago in a tough 42-35 game against Cedar Springs. Last year, Catholic Central won their third straight in this series in a 56-18 game. Allendale’s lone win against Catholic Central in four tries came in the 2013 playoffs.
WEST CATHOLIC (2-3) VS SPRING LAKE (5-0)
The other half of our OK Blue showdowns features the West Catholic Falcons and the Spring Lake Lakers. The Falcons are the five-time defending champions in Division 5, but their margin for error is slim the rest of the way as they have already suffered a trio of defeats. Last week, they won their second contest with a 27-13 win over Sparta. For Spring Lake, it is a remarkable turnaround from last year’s 0-9 season in which their closest defeat was 21 points. They are 5-0 for the first time since 2005, and they are a win away from their first playoff berth since 2014. In the last two years, West Catholic has had little trouble in this one winning by scores of 45-7 and 41-0. Spring Lake’s only victory in three all-time meetings came in a 52-13 victory in the 2000 State Playoffs.
COOPERSVILLE (1-4) VS SPARTA (2-3)
Two additional OK Blue teams are in action on Friday night as the Broncos face the Spartans. Sparta has faced the two top dogs in the league in Catholic Central and West Catholic, and this is a huge game if they want to make a late charge to the playoffs. For Coopersville, they find themselves in a tough situation, but a win mathematically keeps them alive. The Broncos have lost their last three contests by 104 combined points after a Week 2 win over Hamilton. A season ago, Coopersville defeated Sparta 28-21 to extend their all-time series lead to 40-26-1.
COMSTOCK PARK (0-5) VS BYRON CENTER (1-4)
The final OK Blue team in action is Comstock Park. Last week, Comstock Park suffered their third loss by three points or less to extend their losing streak to six games. The Panthers are going out of league play this week for their crossover matchup against the OK Green’s Byron Center Bulldogs. Byron Center has also struggled out of the gate this season as they sit at 1-4 on the year. Byron Center has also been competitive in their losses, with a trio of them coming by less than ten points. These teams have met 23 times over the years, but the most recent meeting came back in 1993 when they were both members of the OK Blue. Byron Center won that matchup 43-0 to pull within one (11-12) in the all-time series record.
TRI-COUNTY (2-3) VS NEWAYGO (3-2)
In a key battle in the CSAA-Gold for a playoff spot, Tri-County will host Newaygo. After winning their Week 2 and Week 3 contests, Tri-County has struggled mightily in consecutive defeats to Reed City and Grant. Newaygo on the other hand, has been playing tremendous football as of late. After dropping their first two games, the Lions have won three straight including two victories by 48 points each. Newaygo has won five in a row in this series dating back to their Lakes-8 days, including a 38-0 shutout last year. The Lions have won 27 of 50 all time matchups as well.
FREELAND (4-1) VS MIDLAND BULLOCK CREEK (2-3)
After a narrow victory last week, Freeland is back in action as they take on Bullock Creek. The Lancers have lost their last two league contests, albeit against two of the league’s best in Swan Valley and Alma. Freeland also was defeated by Swan Valley earlier in the year, but they have emerged victorious in their other four games. For the past ten years, Freeland has handily defeated Bullock Creek, including a 35-6 win a year ago. The Falcons hold a 22-19 all-time edge in this series, and their last defeat came back in 2007.