High school football is back in the great state of Michigan! After a long off-season, we finally have arrived at Week 1. Our coverage teams will be busy all across the state of Michigan with 15 games on the docket. On Thursday and Friday night, visit our website and Listen LIVE to all of these games! When the games are over, make sure you come back to the website for stats and recaps for these games and others across the area.
A quick preview of the fifteen games below:
THURSDAY AUGUST 29 ACTION
Zeeland West at East Grand Rapids
The Pioneers under coach Casey Longo made their fifth straight trip to the playoffs last year, though it was a short trip with a first round exit against Muskegon. They once again start their season with a tough test against perennial power Zeeland West. The Dux made the playoffs each of the past nine years, and they will rely on their running game to extend the streak to ten. Chase Peddie, a senior, will be the go-to back for the Dux. He will line up behind quarterback Carson Gulker in what is a traditionally potent offense. For East Grand Rapids, the key to success also sits in the backfield with tailback John Shelton, who is looking to build off a fantastic 2018 campaign. This will be the first ever matchup between the Dux and Pioneers, two of West Michigan’s premier programs.
Northview vs Comstock Park
The Northview Wildcats made the playoffs last season for the third time in school history last year with a 7-2 regular season record. The first of those seven wins was a 68-47 shootout win over Comstock Park, the same opponent they will open the season against in 2019. These two schools have met each of the past three season openers, with Comstock Park winning the 2016 and 2017 affairs. There are many questions for Northview this season as they replace a large count of starters on both sides of the football. It will be interesting to see who steps up for coach Trip Gallery’s team this season.
Rockford at Grand Rapids Christian
For the twenty-fourth consecutive year, Rockford reached the playoffs last year. They made a surprising run to the regional finals where they fell narrowly to Saline 13-12. They open their quest for 25 against Grand Rapids Christian, a team that has an impressive playoff streak of nine years themselves. Last year, Grand Rapids Christian advanced to the district finals before bowing out to Muskegon. The Rams have a tall task as they will have to try and stop Eason Hardoin. The senior quarterback passed for over 2000 yards a season ago, and he will prove a big challenge for the Rockford secondary. On offense, Rockford will have to replace quarterback Drew Bareno, but they do benefit from returning leading rusher Jaiden Friesen and star receiver Eli Haddad. This will be the first matchup between these two schools, and it has all the makings of a great opener.
Hudsonville at Grand Ledge
The Hudsonville Eagles were back in the playoffs last year after missing the postseason in 2017. For the fourth straight season, they will open play against the Grand Ledge Comets from the CAAC-Blue. Last year, the Eagles had no trouble in starting the season with a win, taking home a 27-7 victory. The Comets are looking to improve this season, as they snapped their postseason streak with a 3-5 record a year ago. Junior Brennan Hayes will be under center again this season, and his protection was bolstered by the incoming transfer of Carter DeGraaf, a 6-5 offensive tackle.
Forest Hills Central vs Jenison
The Rangers and coach Tim Rogers are rolling, making a program record third straight playoff appearance last season. For the eighth straight season, they will take on the Jenison Wildcats. Forest Hills Central has won seven consecutive in this series, including a 21-19 result a year ago. Key players this year for the Rangers are Jackson Clay and Jonah Spates, who both play wide receiver and defensive back, and Cam Deines, who will play fullback and linebacker. Their opponent Jenison, also had a monumental year a season ago, making the playoffs for the first time since 2003, will have to replace quarterback Kyle Nott.
Coopersville at Holland Christian
The Coopersville Broncos start their season with a road trip to Holland Christian. Last year, the Broncos put up a valiant effort before ultimately falling short 33-24. They will have Joe Keefe back at quarterback, who missed a portion of last season with an injury. The Maroons made the playoffs last year at 8-4, their first appearance since 2012. Trent Lamb has huge shoes to fill as he takes over for quarterback Wilson Wirebaugh, who put up tremendous numbers a year ago. Last year’s matchup was the first between these schools.
Greenville at South Christian
The Greenville Yellowjackets begin their 2019 season trying to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Their pursuit of this goal starts with a game at South Christian, who is a staple of success in West Michigan, making the postseason all but three seasons since 1999. Both of these teams will be under control of new coaches this season. For Greenville, they will be under the direction of Nick Davis, and the Sailors will be under Danny Brown’s guidance.
Freeland vs Marshall
For the eleventh straight season, Freeland reached the playoffs in 2018. They will open their season again against the Marshall Redhawks, the same team that they faced to begin the 2018 campaign. In that one, the two teams played a tremendous back and forth affair that went to overtime. In the end, Freeland was victorious and set the tone for a successful year of football. Marshall is looking to snap their three year playoff drought with a bounce back campaign.
Tri-County vs Lakeview
The Vikings of Tri-County made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004 by winning their final three regular season games. They will try to make it two in a row for the third time ever this season. That quest begins with a game against Lakeview, the season opener each of the last five years. Tri-County won the battle back in 2014, but the Wildcats have been victorious in each of the last four years, including 28-8 last year.
West Catholic vs Berrien Springs
The Falcons made their playoff streak another year longer last season, making it for the 16th straight season. After five consecutive Division 5 state titles, they were finally knocked off in the first round of the playoffs a year ago. This year, they will be under the direction of new head coach Justin Michalowski, who spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach. He will benefit with having an experienced returning quarterback in Spencer Zobro. These two teams met back in the 2017 playoffs and West Catholic won 43-13. They also met in the 2014 and 2016 playoffs, both West Catholic victories.
Unity Christian at Allendale
The Crusaders won 12 of their 14 games a season ago en route to their first ever Division 5 State Championship, capping off the run with a 42-7 win over Portland. Isaac TeSlaa the star quarterback from a year ago, returns to lead the Unity Christian attack. On the other side of things, Allendale and senior star Owen Burk will try to return to the playoffs for the second straight season. They have struggled in this series however, as Unity Christian has won five consecutive seasons including 38-31 a year ago.
Saginaw Swan Valley at Cedar Springs
The Swan Valley Vikings have been one of the most successful programs over the past two years as they reached the Division 5 State Finals in 2017 and the semifinals in 2018. They will try to continue this success in 2019 when they take on Cedar Springs. The Red Hawks also were highly successful a year ago as they went 10-2 before losing in the regional finals. In last year’s opener, Swan Valley was able to pull out a 21-12 victory over the Red Hawks in their first ever meeting.
FRIDAY AUGUST 30 ACTION
Newaygo vs Kent City
The Newaygo Lions won their first playoff game since 2012 last year when they knocked off Morley-Stanwood in the first round. They will try to build off this success and make their third straight trip to the playoffs in 2019, though their first regular season game will be tough. They take on Kent City, who has posted a 26-6 record over the last three seasons. In last year’s opener, Kent City was able to come away with a ten-point victory over the Lions, a former conference foe from 1952-1997.
East Kentwood at Mona Shores
Mona Shores continued their pattern of success in 2019 with another trip to the state finals. Though they were defeated by Warren DeLaSalle, they showed everyone that they were amongst the state’s top programs once again. They have made the playoffs in all but one season since 2013, winning 9+ games in four of those years. In 2019 their campaign will once again begin against East Kentwood, whom they narrowly defeated 48-38 in a high scoring affair.