Photo Credit: Lou Murray

The OK Silver has the opportunity to be the most competitive league in the area this fall. An argument could be made for nearly every team in this league to compete for a top spot in this league.


Belding Black Knights

2021 Season: 5-5 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2020 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2020

Non-Conference Schedule: at Ionia, Lakewood, Cadillac

The Black Knights got back into the postseason last fall, their fifth trip in the past six years. Belding got paired up with eventual State Champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the first round, leading to a quick exit.

Last fall, Belding suffered three losses by eight points or fewer. The OK Silver title race quickly faded as they lost those contests, but the Black Knights were closer than their record would indicate. This fall, the Black Knights return key starters, including Anthony Szubinski, Bryce Flynn, Jack Ward, and Koden McNeil. Their experience is vital for Belding in their chase for another trip to the playoffs and ultimately a league title.


Calvin Christian Squires

2021 Season: 1-8

Last Conference Championship: 2013 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2013

Non-Conference Schedule: at St Louis, Muskegon Heights, Parkway Christian

The Squires got back on the football field last year after a 2020 absence. After suffering two losses to start their year, they snapped a 10-game skid in a win over Parkway Christian. That was the highlight of the year, as they suffered six blowout losses to finish at 1-8.

Calvin Christian went through two coaching changes this offseason, and they will begin the 2022 campaign with alum Steve VanDam. In his first year at his alma mater, he will benefit from having Paul Bouma IV back at quarterback. Last fall, Bouma accounted for 18 touchdowns. Jake Newenhouse and James Daniels will be featured skill players for Calvin Christian. This team continues to improve, and they look to surpass the one-win mark for the first time since 2016.


Comstock Park Panthers

2021 Season: 9-1 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2021 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2017

Non-Conference Schedule: Grant, Holland, at Newaygo

Last fall, the Panthers exploded onto the scene. They surprised many in the area as they rolled through the regular season unbeaten after a 1-6 year in 2020. In their first round playoff game, they faced West Catholic, a matchup that was an unfair reward for their regular season. The Panthers’ offense, that entered the playoffs averaging 50 points per game, was shutout in the opening round.

Coach Doug Samuels’ crew will have multiple key players to replace this fall to keep the success rolling in 2022. Drew Sikkema is one of the key returners for Comstock Park, as he will contribute at running back and linebacker. Easton Hood, who stepped into a big role last fall, is back as a running back and defensive back. Up front, Aiden Cnossen and Gabe Vasquez return as anchors with experience. These pieces are cornerstones that the Panthers will hope to use to put together a third straight trip to the playoffs while defending their OK Silver crown.


Godwin Heights Wolverines

2021 Season: 5-3

Last Conference Championship: 1989 OK Blue

Last Playoff Victory: N/A

Non-Conference Schedule: at Muskegon Heights, at Shepherd, Open Date Week 2

In 2021, the Wolverines knocked on the door of the postseason. Without an opponent in Week 5 though, Godwin Heights was unable to qualify for the postseason on points. So, despite their first winning season since 2018, their season ended in Week 9.

To add chaos to this year’s story, the Wolverines made a coaching change just days before the season begins. Brandon Kimble, the former head coach and current athletic director, will take over the reins for the 2022 campaign. He will look to David Gill Jr, Jamarion Collins, Noah Drake, Rashaad Dorsey, and Tre’vonte Buckley to lead this crew. With all of the changes, some may rule Godwin Heights out of the OK Silver race, but there is enough talent here to make some noise.


Hopkins Vikings

2021 Season: 5-5 (Lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2020 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2019

Non-Conference Schedule: at Wayland, Allendale, Kingsford

The Vikings started last fall with two defeats. They then turned the corner in OK Silver play, winning five of their final seven games to qualify for the playoffs. In the first round, against state ranked Portland, their season came to a close.

Hopkins returns some key pieces this fall. Miles Gibson has taken the reins full-time at quarterback, after limited action last fall. He will be protected by four-year starter Tristen Perry. When Gibson looks to his teammates to make plays, he has Jayden Prather and Zander Hitzler back in the backfield. The Vikings look to continue their playoff string, and to get back atop the OK Silver. This core will certainly put them in a strong position to make both of those goals a reality.


Kelloggsville Rockets

2021 Season: 2-7

Last Conference Championship: 2017 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2017

Non-Conference Schedule: Owosso, Ionia, at Sturgis

The Rockets make some impressive strides in 2021. Their two victories were double the total in 2019 and 2020. They also scored more points than any of the last three years. Unfortunately, their defense yielded some large totals (48.6 PPG), and they lost seven contests.

Kelloggsville will have offensive fireworks dialed up again this fall, starting with gunslinging quarterback Zach Zerfas. Last fall, Zerfas threw for 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns, scoring nearly 200 points in the process. The Rockets get back Camron Townsend (10 touchdowns) and Brendan Tuinstra (7 touchdowns and nearly 1000 yards of total offense). Townsend also made his mark on defense (three scores) and special teams (one kick return score). He, along with DeMarreon Rodriguez and Will Howard, will look to revamp the defense. With their explosive offense, they need to just improve their scoring defense to make some noise this fall. Regardless, they will be a tough battle for all teams in the OK Silver, as they will have to keep pace with the Rockets.


Sparta Spartans

2021 Season: 7-3 (lost in playoff opener)

Last Conference Championship: 2020 OK Silver

Last Playoff Victory: 2019

Non-Conference Schedule: at Oakridge, Coopersville, Otsego

Last fall, the Spartans nearly went undefeated. Two single-digit losses in the opening three weeks kept Sparta from finishing unbeaten. Instead, they qualified for the playoffs at 7-2. In the opening round, they lost to Whitehall, ending their season in the first round for the second straight year.

Coach Mark Chapman will look to get Sparta back to the postseason for the fourth straight year. The Spartans are also hoping to get over the hump and capture the OK Silver crown. Leading the pursuit will be Nic Gordon, who quarterbacked the Spartans last fall. Henry Whitmore, Jamari Everett, and Trevor Wilcox will be key skill players for this crew. Garrin Teunissen and Noe Jaimes will anchor the front line this fall. Sparta has an opportunity to take a leap this fall. The success of these veterans will signal whether they take it.




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