The eighth week of the MHSAA season is upon us. The playoff picture is clearing up, as you can see on our Playoff Central page. Conference title races are up in the air this week as well, so there is plenty to tune in and listen to on Michigan Sports Radio. A preview of the action is below:
Rockford (7-0, 4-0) at Grandville (6-1, 3-1)
The Rams have continued to keep racking up wins behind the stellar play of their defense. They have allowed just 76 points in seven games this year, including holding four opponents to seven points or fewer. This week’s opponent is a tall challenge, as the Bulldogs have scored in bunches this season. They have averaged 38.9 points per game this season, topping 47 points three times. This will be a battle of strengths in Grandville with the conference title on the line. Rockford will clinch at least a share of the conference title with a win, and Grandville can play themselves into a tie with the victory. Last year, Rockford won this battle 42-20.
East Kentwood (4-3, 2-2) at Hudsonville (5-2, 3-1)
The Falcons need to win a pair of games to clinch their spot in the MHSAA Playoffs. This week’s opponent will be the Hudsonville Eagles, who have had a very strong start to their year. Hudsonville needs just one win to qualify for the playoffs, and they still have an outside shot at the OK Red Championship. Kentwood has won the last two in this series, including a 48-3 blowout a season ago.
Northview (5-2) at Caledonia (2-5)
After back to back victories, the Wildcats are just a win away from the playoffs. They will try to qualify for consecutive playoffs for the first time ever with a victory over the Scots. Caledonia will try to play the role of spoiler, and they defeated Cedar Springs, who handily defeated Northview a few weeks ago. Northview’s offense averages 33.7 points per game and they will try to win for the second straight year against Caledonia. Last season, it was a 41-13 Wildcats victory.
Forest Hills Central (5-2, 3-1) vs Lowell (4-3, 3-1)
Both the Rangers and the Red Arrows are one game back of Cedar Springs in the OK White standings. The winner of this game will try and stay within striking distance of first place, and at the same time they will inch closer to the postseason. The Rangers are looking to get to the playoffs for the fourth straight year, which would extend their record streak. Lowell is looking to reach the playoffs after missing the postseason a year ago, snapping a 19 year streak. Last season, the Rangers beat Lowell 35-10, their second straight win in the series.
Greenville (1-6, 1-3) vs Forest Hills Northern (2-5, 1-3)
Two teams that are looking towards next season will face off on Friday night. The FHN Huskies won last week against Kenowa Hills, and their 37 points were a season high. Greenville on the other hand, has struggled the past two games, but they are just three weeks removed from a season high 33 against Ottawa Hills. These two teams have played each of the last seven years, and the Huskies have won all seven. This includes last year’s 38-12 FHN win.
Coopersville (0-7) at Fruitport (3-4)
The Broncos, who average eight points per game, are still on the hunt for their first win of 2019, with an eight game losing streak dating back to last year. The last team that they defeated was Fruitport, whom they defeated 62-50 last season. The Trojans are 3-4 this year, matching their biggest win total since 2016. Their offense has been inconsistent, as they have scored more than 40 points three times, but they have also been shut out twice. Fruitport still has an outside shot at an at-large berth if they were able to win their final two games.
West Catholic (1-6, 1-3) vs Catholic Central (6-1, 4-0)
The Cougars and the Falcons square off in one of West Michigan’s best rivalry games. Unlike the past twelve seasons, in which the two teams both reached the playoffs, these two teams enter play with vastly different seasons. Catholic Central looks to clinch a share of the OK Blue title with a victory, while West Catholic aims to play spoiler. The Cougars have won each of the past two matchups, including 24-14 a season ago.
Zeeland East (5-2, 3-1) vs Zeeland West (6-1, 3-1)
The Chix and the Dux are set to face off in a crosstown showdown Friday night. Zeeland East needs one win in their final two games to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while the Dux hope to keep winning to secure a home playoff game. Both teams enter this one just one game back of Byron Center, so the winner will stay within striking distance of a piece of the league title. In each of the past two years, these teams have met in the regular season and in the postseason. Zeeland East has won three of these four matchups, including both of last year’s games. They won 48-34 in the regular season and 42-24 in the district finals.
East Grand Rapids (5-2, 4-0) vs GR Christian (5-2, 4-0)
A share of the OK Gold title and a playoff berth are on the line on Friday night. Both the Pioneers and the Eagles enter this game with the same record, and with the same aspirations. Last season, Grand Rapids Christian was able to beat East Grand Rapids 24-21. This was the first and only loss that EGR has suffered in league play since joining the OK Gold back in 2016 (21-1 record). As a result, these two teams shared the OK Gold championship a year ago. This was the third straight title for the Pioneers.
Tri-County (3-4, 2-4) vs Central Montcalm (6-1, 5-1)
The Vikings need a victory in both of their final two games to have any chance at the postseason. Last year they qualified at 5-4, and they hope to do the same in 2019. This task starts with their Friday night game against Central Montcalm, a must win contest. The Hornets are also trying to play their best football, hoping to bounce back from a crushing defeat against Reed City. Central Montcalm is tied for first in the CSAA-Gold with Reed City, and they will aim to clinch at least a share of the title in this game. Last year, Tri-County defeated Central Montcalm 44-30.
Newaygo (4-3, 4-2) vs Reed City (5-2, 5-1)
The Lions and the Coyotes both enter this game trying to qualify for the playoffs. Reed City, who is tied with Central Montcalm for first in the CSAA-Gold, can get into the playoffs with the victory on Friday. Newaygo on the other hand needs a pair of victories to qualify, and this game against the Coyotes will be the toughest of the remaining schedule. Last year, Reed City dominated Newaygo 50-7, the fifth straight victory in the series.
Freeland (5-2, 4-2) vs Bridgeport (1-6, 1-5)
The Falcons of Freeland need just one win to qualify for the playoffs for the twelfth straight year. They will try to accomplish this against the Bearcats, who are playing their best football lately. Last week, Bridgeport scored a season high 32 points in a shutout victory against Birch Run. Since Bridgeport just joined the TVC-Central this season, these two schools have not met since 2010. In that contest, Freeland won 66-14. The Falcons have won all five previous meetings by a combined 251-26.
Saginaw Swan Valley (5-2, 5-1) vs Essexville Garber (5-2, 4-2)
The Vikings got back on the winning trail last week when they defeated Freeland. This week, they hope to lock in a playoff spot when they face Essexville Garber. The Dukes are also trying to qualify for the postseason with an equally as impressive 5-2 record. Swan Valley’s offense has scored over 38 points per game while allowing just fifteen. Their offense will be challenged by the Dukes defense who allow just sixteen points per game. The biggest question mark will be Essexville Garber’s offense, as they have averaged just over 22 points per game. The last time these two met was the 2013 MHSAA Playoffs. In that first round game, Swan Valley won 54-28.