**ARTICLE BY HUDSON HARKNESS**
Newaygo @ Morley-Stanwood
Newaygo travels to Morley-Stanwood as both teams look to get their offenses rolling and pick up their first wins of the season.
Newaygo has not had many things to celebrate this season, as they are being outscored 57-0 on the season, and are having a hard time getting the ball out of the backfield. This is a week that has the potential for the Lions to get their first points of the season. With the Mohawk defense also struggling this season, this is a great opportunity for Grant Harkness to get the ball to his playmakers out wide in Remy Wells and Josiah Long. The Lion offense line has to step up to give Newaygo a chance, Harkness has been sacked for a total of 105 yards in 2 games.
Morley-Stanwood must have better play from their offense line too. Opposing teams this season against the Mohawks have been able to get to the backfield quick and often. The Mohawks are getting outscored on the season 72-7. Morley-Stanwood can come into this week with the opportunity to pick their first win up, considering the fact that the Lions have not been able to move the ball this season.
If the Mohawks defense can create pressure for the Lions, it could be a long game for Newaygo. If the Lions are able to get the ball out of Harkness’ hand quick to the receivers, Newaygo could be off to the races.
Reed City @ Chippewa Hills
Reed City is looking to get back in the win column after their loss last week, as they hit the road to face off against Chippewa Hills.
Reed City lost to Tri-County for the first time since 2003 this past Friday, in a shootout that could potentially decide the conference championship by season’s end. This week, the Coyotes face off against rival Chippewa Hills. The Coyotes high-powered offense will be facing off against a Warrior defense that has struggled this season, and with little depth they could be in for a long night with the power run mentality of Reed City. The Coyotes’ defense will be facing an offense that looked improved in week two but still has some question marks.
The Warriors look to pick up their first win of the season. Chippewa Hills looked improved in their week two loss to Grant, but they still couldn’t pull the win out. Chippewa Hills defense did not look great in week one, giving up 62 points, but they came back in week two giving up 30 and only losing by 10. However, the Warriors face a different beast in Reed City, This is a Wing-T offense that few teams in the area have been able to stop, and it will be a hard task for the young Warriors team.
With Reed City coming off a loss, they should come out hungrier and want to win this rivalry game to get them back on track. The Warriors have an opportunity to play spoiler as no one is expecting this game to be close.
Central Montcalm @ Big Rapids
Central Montcalm is on the road for the third consecutive week, as this time they travel north to face off against Big Rapids.
The Hornets had a heartbreaker last week, when they fell to Kent City, 28-27. This week, Central Montcalm faces off against a solid Big Rapids team that can air the ball out or keep it on the ground. The Hornet defense this week must be disciplined in their assignments, and if they aren’t, watch for Strickler or Vennix to make huge plays. Isaac Johnson will have a big role on the offensive side. Watch for Johnson to pick up on his carries and make the most of them for the Hornets.
Big Rapids’ offense found their rhythm last week against Newaygo, in the 37-0 win. The Cardinals led by Wil Strickler is the all-around playmaker and you can expect more of that this week. Strickler will have more of a challenge this week due to the simple fact that the Central Montcalm defense is more experienced than Newaygo’s. The Cardinals have been penalized for 144 yards this season, if they want to beat the Hornets, they are going to have to limit the flags.
If Central Montcalm wants to get the road win, they are going to have to slow the Cardinal offense and stay discipline to their defensive assignments. Big Rapids is going to have a strong offense, they must limit the flags. This is set up to be a good matchup in the Gold and could end in a one possession game.
Tri-County @ Grant
The Battle for the Sledgehammer is back, as Grant tries to take the sledgehammer back from Tri-County.
Tri-County is coming off an important win against Reed City, its first since 2003. The Viking offense in that game a week ago executed about as flawless as it could have, they were able to hit all their playmakers, whether that was in the air or handing the ball off. The Vikings must stay focus and not be satisfied with beating Reed City, they have to come out and still play hard, if they are not able to Grant will smack them in the face and put them on upset alert.
Grant picked up their first win in the Jason Hill era last week with a 10-point victory over Chippewa Hills. This week the Tigers are looking to take back the sledgehammer from Tri-County. If Grant wants to upset the Vikings this week, they must stop the TC run game. Last week against Reed City, Trent Behrenwald and Stuart Gould had a track meet breaking long runs for score. If Grant somehow finds a way to slow down this run offense, they will put themselves in a good position at the end of the game.
Tri-County controls their own-destiny to win the Gold, after taking down Reed City, however they can not take any game off. This game feels like a trap game, a big rivalry game on the road after taking down the reigning champs. Look for Grant to come out with a lot of energy and hopefully upset the Vikings.
Hesperia @ White Cloud
White Cloud will host their former CSAA Silver rival in their week three matchup against Hesperia.
Hesperia is coming into this matchup with a 1-1 record. Both games that the Panthers have played have been one score games. In week one against Manton, the Panthers lost 37-34, and in week two against St. Louis they won 18-12. Last season, this matchup was also a one score game with White Cloud winning 30-27. On the defensive side of the ball, Hesperia must contain Jace Silverthorn, this season Silverthorn has been the leading rusher for the Indians and has accounted for the majority of scoring.
White Cloud is looking to get back in the win column after falling to Hart last Thursday, 38-19. The White Cloud offense has been led by Silverthorn in the first two weeks, reaching the six total TD mark. Expect for Coach Gorman and his staff to ride the work horse this week. On the defensive side of the ball it has been Alex Cruzan and Lloyd Sebright-Johnson, these two have been two of the leading tackles for the Indians.
This is a game that could go anyway. Both teams sitting at 1-1 and it being a renewed rivalry, there is a lot of questions. Is Hesperia’s experience in close games going to help them late in the game or is White Cloud’s offense too powerful for the Panthers to stop? Only time will tell.
Watervliet @ Kent City
Watervliet takes the two-hour trip north to play Kent City in this week three matchup between first time opponents.
Watervliet comes into the game with a 1-1 record and just loss big to Dowagiac, 64-12. The Panthers also have a big win against Brandywine, 35-0.
Kent City is coming off a tight win to Central Montcalm, 28-27. The Eagles spread the love in the win over Central Montcalm, with four different Eagles reaching the endzone. Kent City’s run game is one that is difficult to stop, they will right it down the gut of the defense and as the game goes on their 3-yard gains turn into 13-yards and then 20-yards. It is a grueling offense to play against and could create problems for the Panthers.
With Watervliet taking a long bus ride they could come out slow and if the Eagles are able to score early it could create a long night and bus ride home for the Panthers.
Allen Park Cabrini @ Lakeview
Lakeview will host Allen Park Cabrini as the Monarchs take the 3-hour bus trip to the northwest.
Cabrini is 1-1 on the season being outscored 80-56. The Monarchs are coming off a tough loss to Parkway Christian where they loss 42-12. Cabrini is able to put up points as in week one they took down ATA 42-38.
Lakeview comes into this non-conference matchup with a 0-2 record and are looking to pick up their first win. Who better to get this win against then a team that has a long bus ride and is coming off a tough loss? The Wildcats still have struggled with keeping the ball in their possession and are stilling losing the turnover battle. If Lakeview can keep the ball in their hands, then there is a shot, they get win number one.
This game has a lot of questions, can Lakeview keep control of the ball? Can Cabrini shake off a long bus ride and not start slow? Those are a few things to watch during this matchup.
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