Last fall, the OK Blue was one of the area’s best conferences. This year, the league will be strong once again with a handful of playoff contenders.



2021 Season: 4-5

Last Conference Championship: 2016 OK Blue

Last Playoff Victory: 2016

Non-Conference Schedule: Greenville, at Hopkins

The 2021 campaign started out tremendously for Allendale. The Falcons put together two strong defensive showings in victories over Greenville and Hopkins to start 2-0. Back-to-back contests against West Catholic and Unity Christian evened their record with two humbling defeats. A 2-3 finish left the Falcons out of the playoffs, but they were extremely close. Had either the one-point loss to Hamilton or eight-point defeat to Fruitport fallen their way, Allendale was going to make the postseason.

In trying to make that extra step, Allendale has brought in new leadership. Darren Geraghty has been hired as the new head coach, who takes over from Ben Burk the longtime leader of the Falcons. Geraghty was previous a head coach at Grant from 2016-20, posting a 27-20 record with three trips to the postseason. There will be many new faces at skill positions, as Geraghty will have to replace integral parts of the Falcons’ offensive system, such as star tailback Cole DiPiazza. Having Aaron Holstege up front will be a great cornerstone.



2021 Season: 6-4 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2004 OK Blue

Last Playoff Victory: 2020

Non-Conference Schedule: at Big Rapids, at Sparta

Last fall, the Broncos were one of the area’s biggest surprises. Many viewed Coopersville as an afterthought in the OK Blue heading into the year. Five weeks later, they were undefeated and facing West Catholic. Two narrow defeats to those Falcons and Spring Lake started a 1-4 finish for the Broncos. Despite that, they qualified for the playoffs and posted the first winning season since 2017.

This year, Coopersville will look to build off of their 2021 success with bigger 2022 aspirations. The lethal passing duo of quarterback Colton Bosch and receiver Ryan Serba is back for the Broncos. Last year, the pair linked up for 5 of Bosch’s 13 touchdown passes. Joining them in the offensive mix is Dylan Merlo, the talented senior who accounted for 17 total touchdowns last fall. With this trio offensively to headline a class of excellent seniors, Coopersville is poised to make some noise this fall.



2021 Season: 4-6 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2012 Lakes 8

Last Playoff Victory: 2006

Non-Conference Schedule: at Kenowa Hills, at Grand Rapids Christian

The Trojans got off to a slow start last fall, with a 1-4 opening act due to a brutal starting slate. Showing resiliency, Fruitport did not fold. They rattled off three straight wins to pull their record to even. Even despite a Week 9 loss to Unity Christian, the Trojans qualified for the Division 4 playoffs. In their opener against Cadillac, Fruitport pushed the reigning State Finalists to the brink, falling 42-35.

With their strong finish last fall, the momentum will carry over into the 2022 campaign. Though All-State quarterback Gavin Reames has departed, new signal-caller Collin Jolman will begin his reign with a stocked cupboard. Cody Nash (11 touchdowns) and Paschal Jolman (9 touchdowns) highlight a strong offensive set. Brock Dornbos, Kaiden Bell and Payton Flores will highlight a defensive unit that look more formidable than last fall. The OK Blue is improved this fall, and Fruitport is one of the many reasons why.



2021 Season: 3-6

Last Conference Championship: 2009 OK Green

Last Playoff Victory: 2020

Non-Conference Schedule: at Otisville LakeVille, Benzie Central

The 2021 season for Hamilton was challenging. After two non-league wins to start the season unblemished, the Hawkeyes saw five straight playoff teams on their schedule. Five double-digit losses later, Hamilton pulled off a stunning victory over Allendale, keeping the Falcons out of the playoffs for the Hawkeyes’ third and final win of the 2021 campaign.

Quentin Sorens and Spencer VandenBrink have graduated, leaving roles to be filled offensively. These changes will allow a player like Ben Boehm to step up and grow into a bigger role. Last fall, Boehm rushed for three touchdowns, third highest on the team. Brant Goodpaster will also seek an expanded role after his two-touchdown season in 2021. With non-league contests against teams that were a combined 3-15 last fall, Hamilton may have time to let their players grow into these new roles. But by the time OK Blue play begins, the Hawks will need to soar.


Holland Christian

2021 Season: 2-7

Last Conference Championship: 2012 OK Green

Last Playoff Victory: 2018

Non-Conference Schedule: at Holland, Wayland

The Maroons started off the year with an offensive explosion, dropping 59 points on crosstown rival Holland. That unfortunately was not a sign of things to come, as the Maroons would score 106 points over their final eight contests. Aside from their 7-3 loss to Coopersville, Holland Christian suffered six additional defeats by an average of 34 points.

To add insult to injury, the Maroons lost their quarterback Reeves Taylor to a cross-state transfer. Sorting out the quarterback position will be vital to the success of this team, and Eli Boyce will be in that competition. Lucas Conklin will return with his team-high five rushing touchdowns. Regardless of the record on the field, Holland Christian fans, students and players will get the opportunity to play at a renovated and expanded football stadium in their home opener against Wayland.


Spring Lake

2021 Season: 6-4 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2013 Lakes 8

Last Playoff Victory: 2020

Non-Conference Schedule: Montague, at Zeeland East

Spring Lake has earned four straight trips to the MHSAA playoffs, but they have yet to move past the pre-district round (in 2020, they won the “Pre-Pre-District” in the expanded playoffs). Last fall, they were doubled up by Grand Rapids Christian.

As the Lakers hope to continue their playoff streak, but capture the school’s first District Championship since their 2000 State Runner-Up season, they have employed a new head coach. Cody Mallory, who built Cadillac into a state contender including a trip to the 2020 Division 4 State Championship game, will try and take his experience and lead the Lakers to the promised land. While that won’t happen over night, Mallory can take important steps in developing the winning reputation at Spring Lake in 2022. Just two starters return offensively for Spring Lake, and a quarterback battle will take place during fall camp. While that position sorts itself out, returning strongholds such as Alex Lee, Carter Ball, Derrick Paggeot, Gerrit Lyyski and Jack Duggins will keep the Lakers afloat. They will need to be “anchors aweigh” as they begin 2022 with a pair of difficult non-league bouts.


Unity Christian

2021 Season: 13-1 (lost in State Championship)

Last Conference Championship: 2021 OK Blue

Last Playoff Victory: 2021

Non-Conference Schedule: Whitehall, at St Joseph

The 2021 Unity Christian season was nearly a storybook. They raced through the season, dominating each team in their path. Grand Rapids Christian (twice). West Catholic. Cadillac. Edwardsburg. The elite of West Michigan could not slow down the ‘Saders. At Ford Field, Unity Christian set the new MHSAA single-season scoring record in the second quarter. They led 45-17 with 23 minutes to go in the game. It appeared to be the culmination of perhaps the state’s best team of all time. Instead, Unity Christian fell in one of the best State Championship games of all time, a 55-52 defeat.

20 starters are gone at Unity Christian from last year’s squad. Still, Coach Craig Tibbe’s Saders will surely factor into the OK Blue title race and the statewide playoff picture. The program at Unity Christian continues to churn out high-level talent each season, and it should be expected that will continue again this fall. Guys such as Carter Bylsma, Dylan DeHoop, Gavin VanKoevering, Mitch Tibbe, Nolan Vis, and Noland Schuitema may see larger roles offensively as the pieces come together in the Unity machine.


West Catholic

2021 Season: 9-2 (lost in District Finals)

Last Conference Championship: 2016 OK Blue

Last Playoff Victory: 2021

Non-Conference Schedule: Edwardsburg, at Ferndale

Last fall, West Catholic was one of the best teams in West Michigan. During the regular season, they were nearly untouchable. They survived a scare from Coopersville, and lost to Unity Christian, but otherwise did not play a game in single digits. As the playoff draw was announced, and their first-round matchups were won, a highly anticipated battle arose. West Catholic and Catholic Central met in the second round in a classic City League showdown. Unfortunately for West, GRCC had charted their course for a third straight State Championship, leaving the Falcons in the dust.

New faces and returning stars have fans excited and optimistic on Grand Rapids’ Northwest side. All-state tailback and Air Force commit Tim Kloska is back to champion the Falcons’ rushing attack this season. Last year, Kloska rushed for an astonishing 2,267 yards and 29 touchdowns. Caleb Clinger and Joe Debski also return with experience at receiver and defensive back. Carson Beekman, one of the area’s strongest and most reliable kickers will anchor the special teams unit. These returning seniors will get to fight for a new head coach, Landon Grove. Grove comes over after one year at Gibraltar Carlson, where he led the Marauders to a Downriver League title and a 9-2 campaign. A former Ferris State football player, Grove brings a new energy and intensity. This blend has Falcons fans believing in a return to the top of the conference this fall.




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