The 2021 season is already one-third of the way over. We enter the final game of the first half of the season this week, with a playoff push on the horizon. A quick preview of LIVE Michigan Sports Radio broadcasts this week:
ROCKFORD (3-0) V GRANDVILLE (1-2)
The Rams have been impressive in their first three games this fall. They have outscored opponents 127-36, allowing 30 of those points in the first week against Sterling Heights Stevenson. This week, they will face the Grandville Bulldogs in an OK Red battle. Grandville is 1-2, though they lost to two strong clubs in Glenbard West (IL) and Caledonia. Rockford defeated Grandville twice last year, including a 34-28 triple overtime game in the district finals.
JENISON (1-2) V HUDSONVILLE (1-2)
The Wildcats and Eagles both enter their rivalry match-up with 1-2 records. Jenison lost a tough game last week to Grand Haven, when their tying two-point try was stalled. Hudsonville shook off early losses to Saline and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s when they beat West Ottawa 42-17 last Friday. This is the 27th all-time meeting between the neighboring schools, and the Wildcats hold a 16-10 series edge. Last year, Hudsonville had to forfeit due to COVID, but the Eagles won 28-16 in 2019.
WEST CATHOLIC (3-0) V HAMILTON (2-1)
The Falcons, behind the stellar rushing attack of Tim Kloska, are 3-0 for the first time since their 2014 State Championship season. They will look to move to 4-0 in an OK Blue battle against Hamilton. The Hawkeyes had a tough 65-7 loss to Unity Christian last Friday, but they defeated Wayland and Benzie Central in the two weeks prior. Last fall, West Catholic won 35-7 in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
COOPERSVILLE (3-0) V HOLLAND CHRISTIAN (1-2)
The Broncos are 3-0 for the first time since 2003, as they’ve outscored opponents 113-52. Last week, they escaped Fruitport, capturing a 29-22 victory. This week, they look to move to 4-0 as they face the Maroons. After their 59-6 win over Holland in the opening game, Holland Christian suffered defeats against Forest Hills Eastern and Spring Lake. Coopersville secured a 30-7 win over Holland Christian last fall, their first in three tries.
UNITY CHRISTIAN (3-0) V ALLENDALE (2-1)
The ‘Saders are on a roll early this year, winning their first three contests all by at least 37 points. They have outscored Sparta, Grand Rapids Christian and Hamilton by a total tally of 173-36. They will now face their rival Allendale in an OK Blue match-up. The Falcons suffered their first defeat last week, falling 51-14 against West Catholic. These two schools have played since 2004, the second year Unity Christian played football. Unity Christian has won seven straight, including 42-6 in 2020, to capture an 11-6 series advantage.
NORTHVIEW (2-1) V FOREST HILLS NORTHERN (1-2)
Last week, Northview suffered their first loss of the season. After defeating Wyoming and Northview, they lost to Forest Hills Central 45-0. This week, they will take on another Forest Hills school, as they face the Northern Huskies. FHN also defeated Wyoming, but they have lost two straight since, as they were unable to beat Jenison and Lowell. In 2020, FHN cruised to a 42-14 victory in the regular season finale, snapping a two-year Northview win streak in the series. It also broke a deadlock, giving the Huskies a 9-8 series lead.
BYRON CENTER (3-0) V EAST GRAND RAPIDS (1-2)
The Bulldogs faced another off week due to COVID forfeits by their opponent, but they hit the road to take on Elkhart. Byron Center came back across state lines with a double-overtime victory against a school with an enrollment of 3,538. This week, they will start OK White play with a game against East Grand Rapids, who enters with a 1-2 record. The Pioneers were stunned last week in a defeat against Grand Rapids Christian. In last year’s regular season finale, EGR stopped Byron Center’s bid for a perfect regular season with a 12-8 victory, moving their all-time record against the Bulldogs to 4-0.
GRAND RAPIDS CATHOLIC CENTRAL (3-0) V SOUTH CHRISTIAN (2-1)
The South Christian Sailors returned to the win column last week, bringing home a 35-14 victory against Middleville. This week, they have a tall task against one of the state’s best teams in Grand Rapids Catholic Central. The Cougars got seven first-half touchdowns from Joey Silveri as they raced to a 63-0 victory over Forest Hills Eastern. GRCC holds a 140-35 edge over their opponents this year. Last fall, South Christian gave the Cougars their biggest scare, though the Cougars won the game and the OK Gold championship, 28-27.
TRI-COUNTY (2-1) V GRANT (1-2)
The Vikings suffered their first defeat last week, falling by a touchdown against Reed City. This week, they will try to bounce back against the Grant Tigers. Grant earned a forfeit win last Friday, but the Tigers struggled in their eight quarters on the gridiron. In two early season defeats against Comstock Park and Reed City, they were outscored 83-8. These teams met twice in 2020. In the regular season, Grant escaped with a 7-6 win. In the playoff opener, the #8 seed Vikings upset the #1 Tigers 40-21.
NEWAYGO (0-3) V FREMONT (0-3)
The Lions and Packers enter Friday night’s contest in search of their first wins of 2021. Newaygo has been in their first three ballgames, falling to Kent City, Central Montcalm and Big Rapids, who currently are 7-2 combined. Fremont also lost to Central Montcalm and Big Rapids, by slightly larger margins, and they also fell to Ludington. In the 2020 opener, Newaygo won 42-14 against the Packers. That marked the fifth straight season in which Newaygo beat Fremont.
CENTRAL MONTCALM (3-0) V BIG RAPIDS (2-1)
The Hornets are 3-0 for the second time in three seasons. They will look to move to 4-0 in a CSAA-Gold showdown with Big Rapids. The Cardinals, 2-1 for the first time since 2018, are looking like an improved team early this fall. Central Montcalm squeaked out a 12-7 win in last year’s season opener, their second straight win over the Cardinals.
ESSEXVILLE GARBER (3-0) V FREELAND (3-0)
The Freeland Falcons have been on fire this year, outscoring opponents 124-27 on their way to an unbeaten start. In two TVC games, they have won by an average of 43.5 points. This week, their competition steepens as they face Essexville Garber. Led by Michigan State commit Alex VanSumeren, the Dukes’ defense has yielded just 22 points in three games. Freeland has won all four all-time meetings, including each of the past two seasons. In the 2021 district finals, Freeland scored a 35-14 victory.
SWAN VALLEY (0-3) V BRIDGEPORT (0-3)
The Vikings are off to a tough start, losing their first three games. The competition has been tough however, as they have faced Cedar Springs, Frankenmuth and Essexville Garber, who are a combined 8-1 thus far. This week, Swan Valley will face a Bridgeport club that is also 0-3. The Bearcats offense has mustered just 8 points per game this fall, as they have lost six straight and nine of the last ten, with only a forfeit win snapping that streak. In 2019, Swan Valley cruised to a 49-12 victory over Bridgeport.