The 2019 MHSAA Football season is flying by, as are already entering the final third of the regular season action this week. In these final three games, teams will qualify for the playoffs, win conference championships, and position themselves for a deep run in the postseason. In addition to our new Playoff Central page, which analyzes the path to the playoffs for all teams in our coverage area, take a look at a brief preview of all of the games in our coverage zone this week:
Rockford (6-0, 3-0) vs Hudsonville (5-1, 3-0)
The Rams and the Eagles are set to face off in a battle that will play a major factor in determining the OK Red champion. Both teams enter with undefeated league records, and Rockford enters with an undefeated mark overall. The last two weeks for Rockford have been tough tests, as they defeated their opponents by just eight total points. On the other side of things, Hudsonville is rolling. They had their most impressive win of the season last week, knocking off Grandville 44-21. This is a battle of stout defenses and strong rushing attacks, and it should be an instant classic. Rockford has won four straight in this series, including two wins last season. They won 13-7 in Week 7, and they followed that with a 24-21 victory in the district finals.
East Kentwood (3-3) vs Holland (1-5)
The Falcons of East Kentwood are faced with a must-win contest on Friday night when they take on the Holland Dutch. A pair of losses by a combined four points have left East Kentwood with a 3-3 record on the season. With the top two teams in the OK Red still on their schedule, Kentwood needs this game to have any chance to reach the playoffs. The Dutch are also trying to snap a losing streak, as they have been defeated in four straight OK Green games. Their offense has struggled in these one-sided affairs, as they have been defeated by a total margin of 207-18. Last year, Kentwood scored in bunches as they defeated Holland 47-6.
Zeeland West (5-1, 2-1) vs Holland Christian (3-3, 2-2)
The Dux are trying to stay within striking distance of Byron Center in the OK Green title race. They will be tested on Friday night when they take on the Maroons. Holland Christian has played up and down all season, so it will be interesting to see which bunch we will see on Friday night. The Maroons are still fighting for a playoff berth, and this is the toughest hurdle in their journey. Zeeland West has won nine straight over Holland Christian, including a close 24-20 victory last year.
West Catholic (1-5, 1-2) vs Allendale (3-3, 2-1)
For the first time since 2002, West Catholic will not be playing in the postseason. In their final three games, they will look to play spoiler and keep other teams from reaching the playoffs while building momentum towards next year’s campaign. This will start against Allendale, who is looking to put together a late run and reach the playoffs. The Falcons have lost two straight games, but they will look to their offense (which averages 38.5 points per game) to carry them to victory. This series has been a shootout as of late, including last year’s 45-42 West Catholic victory.
Coopersville (0-6, 0-4) at Comstock Park (1-5, 0-3)
The two teams at the bottom of the OK Blue standings will square off on Friday night, with a chance to get their first conference win of the season. Coopersville, who is looking for their first win overall as well, has struggled to get their offense going. The Broncos average just seven points per game this year. Comstock Park has also had offensive struggles as of late, scoring zero points in the past two games. Last year, there was plentiful scoring on both sides as Comstock Park won 35-32.
East Grand Rapids (4-2, 3-0) at Middleville (3-3, 2-2)
The Pioneers are tied with GR Christian for first place in the OK Gold, as they have dominated their three league foes by a 150-55 margin. This week, they look to extend their winning streak against a Middleville team that needs this win on their playoff push. The Trojans have a tough finish to their season starting with this game against East. Last year, the Pioneers defeated Middleville 33-13, their sixth win in as many tries.
South Christian (3-3, 2-1) vs Grand Rapids Christian (4-2, 3-0)
In the OK Gold race, both South Christian and Grand Rapids Christian have a chance to earn a trophy by season’s end. This game will go a long way in determining if either of them will achieve that goal. South Christian is coming off two tough losses to strong foes, but their offense is averaging 32 points per game this season. The Eagles and their nearly 37 points per game on offense will give the fans an equally impressive unity, meaning that this game has all the makings of a shootout. Last year, South Christian won 24-10.
Jenison (2-4, 2-1) at Mona Shores (5-1, 3-0)
The Wildcats of Jenison hit the road to take on the Mona Shores Sailors on Friday night. The odds are long for Jenison to make the playoffs, as they would need to win out and get some help to garner an at-large bid. Needless to say, in order for their to be any chance, they need this game Friday. Mona Shores will be an extremely difficult task, as they have won five of six games this year. The Sailors are outscoring their opponents by an average of 24 points per game this year. Last season, Jenison gave them all they could handle in a 49-42 Mona Shores victory.
Forest Hills Northern (1-5) vs Kenowa Hills (2-4)
In a crossover battle between the OK White’s Huskies will take on the OK Black’s Knights. Forest Hills Northern has struggled on the defensive end, yielding an average of 34.3 points per game this year. On the other side, it has been very similar for Kenowa Hills as they allow 35.8 points per game. Someone’s offense will have to take advantage of the weakened defensive unit and earn the victory. Last year, FHN dominated Kenowa 49-14.
Northview (4-2, 2-2) at Greenville (1-5, 1-3)
The Wildcats of Northview are trying to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. They have played really well in their four wins, but they have struggled mightily in their two losses. With a tough final two games on their schedule, this game versus Greenville is vital to reaching the postseason. The Yellow Jackets’ offense has only mustered 12 points per game this year, while the defense has allowed 38.8 per game. The winner in this game has scored remarkable totals of points the past two seasons. In 2017, Greenville won by scoring 68 and last year Northview racked up 44 in their victory.
Tri County (2-4, 1-4) at Fremont (0-6, 0-5)
The Vikings have their backs against the wall in terms of qualifying for the postseason. They can no longer automatically qualify, but they can get an at-large bid if they get a 5-4 record, like they did in 2018. This would require them to win their final three games, starting with a road game against Fremont on Friday. The Packers’ offense has been unable to get in the end zone frequently this year, averaging 10 points per game, while allowing 41.3 per contest. Tri-County won last year’s contest 14-12, their third straight over Fremont.
Newaygo (4-2, 4-1) at Grant (4-2, 3-2)
Two teams that are vying for postseason bids will square off in Grant on Friday night, hoping to inch one step closer. The Lions are hot, winners of three straight games. In that streak, they have scored 41 points per game. Grant also enters on a winning streak, as they have won two in a row. The Tigers’ defense has played phenomenal this year, allowing just over nine points per game. Newaygo won last year’s game by a 21-7 score.
Central Montcalm (6-0, 5-0) vs Reed City (4-2, 4-1)
The Hornets are the story of the CSAA-Gold, and one of the better turnaround stories in the MHSAA. After losing thirteen straight games, they have reeled off six wins to start this season unbeaten. This week, they will take on the traditional league stronghold in Reed City. The Coyotes have won at least 11 games each of the past three years, and at least nine games in each of the past eight seasons. After a slow start, Reed City has won three in a row, averaging 46 points per game. This will be a tall task for the Central Montcalm defense that yields just sixteen points per contest. Reed City has won eight straight in this series, including an incredible 80-0 blowout a season ago.
Freeland (5-1, 4-1) at Saginaw Swan Valley (4-2, 4-1)
The Falcons and the Vikings square off in a pivotal game in the TVC-Central. Each team has been very successful in league play, though they both suffered defeats at the hands of Frankenmuth. Freeland can clinch a playoff berth if they can build off of the play of their offense, which has averaged 31 points per game the last two weeks. On the other side of things, Swan Valley will look to inch closer to the postseason with this win. Their offense has averaged 37 points per game on the entire season, a remarkable feat. Last year, Swan Valley got the best of Freeland twice. In the regular season, they won 41-3, and in the playoffs they emerged with a 55-10 victory.