With the fourth week behind us, we will now turn to a thrilling fifth week of MHSAA football. Conference title races are shaping up, and teams are readying themselves for the playoffs. Still curious about last week? Check out our Recaps, Power Poll, Standings, and Core Power Performance Players of the Week.
Now onto Week 5, where we have fantastic games LIVE this Friday night. A brief preview of these games:
Newaygo (2-2) v Chippewa Hills (0-4)
The Newaygo Lions and Chippewa Hills Warriors are both looking to get back in the win column as the fifth week of the season comes into clearer picture. Last week, Newaygo’s offense fired on all cylinders, as they scored 40 points. Their defense, however, gave up over 625 rushing yards and 70 points in a loss to Reed City. Chippewa Hills also struggled defensively, as they yielded 42 points in a loss to Fremont, giving the Packers their first win in two seasons. In last year’s meeting, Newaygo beat Chippewa Hills 28-12, their first win in six seasons.
Central Montcalm (3-1) at Grant (1-2)
After taking down Tri-County last week, Central Montcalm looks to get another conference win when they travel to Grant. The Tigers won their season-opener, but they were then forced to miss two games due to COVID issues. In their first game back last week, they lost to Big Rapids 23-14. Last fall, Central Montcalm beat Grant 26-20 in the second week of the season.
Tri-County (2-2) vs Big Rapids (2-2)
The Tri-County Vikings will look to get back on the winning track as they host the Big Rapids Cardinals. The Cardinals topped Grant last week, while Tri-County fell against Central Montcalm. The Cardinals’ offense has come alive in the past two weeks, scoring an average of 25 points per game after seven total points in the first two weeks. They will face a Vikings defense that allows eight points per game, so they will pose a tall challenge. Tri-County has lost two games by a total of eight points this year, leaving the team hungry to finish this one with a victory. Last fall, Tri-County escaped with a 24-22 victory.
Swan Valley (2-2) at Essexville Garber (3-1)
The Swan Valley Vikings will step out of TVC-Central play this week as they take on the Dukes of Essexville Garber. Swan Valley is looking to bounce back after a narrow defeat against Freeland last Friday. Essexville Garber has won three of their first four games, with their lone defeat against Frankenmuth. To compare a common opponent, Garber beat Bay City Glenn 41-0 while Swan Valley beat them 14-10. Last year, these teams met twice, and Swan Valley completed the sweep. They beat the Dukes 8-0 in the regular season and 46-28 in the playoffs.
Freeland (3-1) at Bridgeport (1-3)
With at least a share of the championship in hand in the TVC-Central, Freeland will take on a member of the TVC-East in a non-league game. The Bridgeport Bearcats come into this game at 1-3, with a forfeit victory last week. Comparing their common opponent, Bridgeport lost to Alma 35-22 while the Falcons beat Alma 14-10. Last fall, Freeland beat Bridgeport 40-18 in the conference finale for both schools.
Northview (1-3) v Forest Hills Central (3-1)
The Northview Wildcats will look to rebound from a two tough defeats against East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Christian when they host Forest Hills Central on Friday night. The Rangers are still in the league title hunt after taking down East Grand Rapids this past week. Forest Hills Central has won three of four in this series, including a 28-0 contest a year ago.
East Grand Rapids (2-2) at Grand Rapids Christian (1-3)
The Pioneers, fresh off an offensive struggle against Forest Hills Central, will look to get back in the win column as they head over to Grand Rapids Christian. The Eagles finally got in the win column last week with a narrow victory over Northview. These two have played some tremendous contests over the years, including last year’s 38-31 Eagles victory. GRC is on a two-game win streak in the series, as they were the only team in four years to beat EGR in a conference game.
South Christian (4-0) at Middleville (2-2)
The Sailors remained perfect a week ago with a statement victory over Cedar Springs. This week, they will aim to keep pace in the OK Gold race as they travel down to Middleville to take on the Trojans. Middleville enters this game on a two-game winning streak, as they have taken down Wayland and Ottawa Hills in the past two weeks. These two schools have met in every season since 2003, and last fall South Christian won 27-7.
Coopersville (1-3) at Fruitport (1-3)
The Broncos and Trojans meet on Friday night in Fruitport for a battle of 1-3 teams. Fruitport enters with two straight losses, the last 50-0 against Unity Christian, while Coopersville won their first game last Friday (21-14) against Hamilton. These two have played extremely competitive games each of the past two seasons. In 2018, Coopersville won in a shootout 62-50. Last fall, Fruitport edged out the Broncos 22-21.
West Catholic (3-1) vs Allendale (3-1)
The OK Blue’s “Battle of the Falcons” has conference title implications. Both teams remain a game back of Unity Christian, and Allendale will get a shot at Unity next week. West Catholic’s lone defeat came against Unity (39-21), while Allendale slipped up last week against Spring Lake (28-26). These two have been in the same conference since 2014, and last year Allendale won 32-20.
Jenison (3-1) vs Grand Haven (0-4)
The Jenison Wildcats, who have won their last three games, and are an overtime period away from a 4-0 start, are still alive in the OK Red title race. They will need to avoid an upset, as winless Grand Haven comes to town. The Bucs stepped out of league play last week, but their offense appears to be gaining some traction the past two weeks. Jenison’s defense will be a tall task for the Bucs, as it is the strongest unit on this team. Grand Haven will have a tall task in stopping the Wildcats’ rushing attack. These schools last met in 2011, where the Bucs won 38-14. Grand Haven has won the last six in this series.
Caledonia (1-3) at Grandville (4-0)
The Caledonia Fighting Scots have lost their last three games, and they have their most daunting foes on the other side of the gridiron this week. Grandville enters this game unbeaten, and their offense is averaging 49.9 points per game, including two 62-point outputs. Last year, Caledonia stunned Grandville and cost the Bulldogs a shot at the conference title with a 56-35 victory.
Hudsonville (3-1) at West Ottawa (0-4)
The Hudsonville Eagles will hit the road on Friday with a chance to keep within striking distance of the OK Red title. They will need to return home with a victory against a pesky West Ottawa team. The Panthers have not won a game yet in 2020, but they have played the three best teams in the conference (Grandville, Rockford and Jenison) not named Hudsonville. The Eagles’ defense may be the best in the conference, as they allow 10.3 points per game. Perhaps their most impressive feat has been slowing Grandville (who averages 58.7 PPG outside of that game) to just 21 points. Last fall, Hudsonville won handily by a score of 45-7.
East Kentwood (1-3) vs Reeths-Puffer (2-2)
In a rare non-conference game in the OK Conference, the East Kentwood Falcons will host Reeths-Puffer. Kentwood was supposed to host Rockford, while Puffer was expecting to head to Wyoming before COVID cancellations changed the script. The Falcons have had three frustrating defeats against teams with a combined record of 10-2. Reeths-Puffer’s two losses are against teams that are 7-1, while their wins are against teams that are 1-7. The last time these teams played was back in 2013, and the Rockets won that game 14-7.
Zeeland West (4-0) at Muskegon (3-1)
In what many view as the game of the week in West Michigan, Zeeland West will visit historic Hackley Stadium to take on the Big Reds. Zeeland West is averaging 57 points per game, while allowing 11.8. Muskegon on the other hand, is scoring 40.3 per game while yielding 15.5. This is going to be a true battle of strength against strength on both sides of the football. These teams have met four times, with the most recent coming back in the 2017 playoffs. In that Division 3 District Final, Muskegon won 55-20.
Livonia Franklin (2-2) at Belleville (4-0)
Last week, Livonia Franklin delivered a thrilling overtime victory at home against Livonia Stevenson. This week, they will face their toughest foe of the season in Belleville. The Tigers are unbeaten, outscoring opponents 235-26, and they are the unanimous #1 ranked team in Division 1 in the latest AP poll. With a plethora of Division 1 recruits on the field, Belleville is poised for a deep playoff run. Last season, Franklin gave Belleville a challenge, playing the Tigers to their second closest regular season game, a 39-29 contest that Belleville ultimately won.