The Michigan Sports Radio team has you covered with plenty of exciting previews of this week’s action. All of the games below will be a part of our recap coverage on Friday night, when we have over 40 area game summaries. Many will also be live on our network.
The following four games are amongst the best in the state. Seven of these teams are unbeaten, and there are legitimate State Championship contenders in each of these matchups. All four matchups are LIVE on MSR on Friday.
Rockford vs East Kentwood: The Rams are looking for a 4-peat in the OK Red. They are undefeated through four weeks, and will face another tall test in the upstart Falcons of East Kentwood. Coach Tony Kimbrough’s crew is firing on all cylinders, led by stellar offensive weapon Stellan Bowman. For a complete preview of this game, check out Randy Gregory’s full preview on our site.
Caledonia vs Grandville: Another epic battle takes place in the OK Red on Friday night. Two undefeated heavyweights battle at Grandville for an inside track in the OK Red race. Though they both have to face East Kentwood and Rockford in the coming weeks, this is a huge game in the league title picture. Caledonia’s 1-2 punch of Mason McKenzie and Brock Townsend will go head-to-head with Tyson Mann and Jayden ‘Tank’ Terry. These electric offenses will provide for a highlight-reel affair on Friday.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central vs Forest Hills Eastern: The Cougars will take their 41-game win streak into battle on Friday night to face off with the Hawks. FHE is 4-0 for the first time since 2015, when they made a surprising run to the Semifinals. This series has been extremely one-sided as of late, with GRCC winning 10 of 11 all-time matchups. The lone Hawks win came in 2010. GRCC has appeared more vulnerable this season, but with 41 straight victories, it’s hard to even imagine a mental picture of them losing. Bryson Kuzdzal and company will need a huge game for the Hawks to score an upset.
Freeland vs Frankenmuth (Preview by Josh Longstreth): The Freeland Falcons have known success for quite some time now. It is a program that has earned a playoff berth every year since 2007, and even that year, they went 5-4. Every season, the Falcons are expected to be one of the top teams in the TVC Central. This year has been no different. They are outscoring their opponents 153-27 through four games. Three out of those four teams finished .500 or better in 2021. That has been no difference to the Falcons against the solid competition. They have a new quarterback at the helm who continues to grow with each game. The running game is loaded with Ty Fournier, Evan Vasicek and Nick Harrington leading the way. Daniel Duley is a weapon at the tight end spot. And their defense, well, it has been hard to get anything done against if you’re the opposing offense. The defense has had offenses behind the line of scrimmage all year long. Freeland sits at 4-0 overall, and 3-0 in conference play while sitting at #4 in the Division 4 rankings. They’ll have a chance to catapult even higher after this Friday.
The Eagles of Frankenmuth know what it’s like to sit atop the TVC Central as well. The Eagles have made the playoffs in each year since 2011. They’ve had deep playoff runs. It’s a program that has opposing teams worried on a weekly basis. This year, they might be even scarier. Frankenmuth is averaging 42 points per game while limiting opponents to just 7.5 per game. Two of those teams made the playoffs last year. Another is one of the most improved teams in the TVC in the Birch Run Panthers. They too, have been faced with teams that can beat them on any given night. But instead, they have used dominant performances against each of them. They are led by quarterback Aidan Hoard who has not turned the ball over once this season. Sam Bargar leads the way on the ground with 91.3 yards per game, and 5 touchdowns. Ryan Tutt, Colin Main, and Drew Titsworth have given opposing offenses fits racking up 3 sacks apiece on the year. Main is also one of their leading tacklers. Dalton DeBeau leads that category by averaging 6.3 tackles per game. They are deep and talented. Sitting at 4-0 overall, and 3-0 in conference play, Frankenmuth has put their name near the top yet again in the Division 5 rankings.
This one is all everyone expected with these two teams. Fans will need to have their popcorn ready as this one should be one of the best games in the state all year. They’ll have a chance to see the show when Freeland welcomes in the Frankenmuth Eagles on Friday night with a start time of 7:00.
Other Games LIVE on MSR this Week
Hudsonville v West Ottawa: The Eagles, along with Cedar Springs, have to make a strong claim for the best 0-4 team in the State of Michigan. Thanks to their gauntlet start to the season, they find their backs against the wall in Week 5. West Ottawa, who enters this contest 2-2, also sees this game as a great opportunity. Each team has playoff aspirations, especially with the new system in place. A win in this game will be absolutely vital. Trey Carr and Eli Vanderveen have been a solid passing duo for Hudsonville, but the signal-caller may need to play his best game yet. Cole Tulgestke also has a chance to shine on his home turf and carry the host Panthers one step closer to the postseason.
Coopersville vs Fruitport (Preview by Lien Veldboom):
The Coopersville Broncos will travel to Fruitport to face the Trojans who sit at 1-1. The Broncos won their previous game against the Hamilton Hawkeyes, 28-14. They looked to be struggling, until the second half rolled around, and they scored 21 unanswered points. The Trojans lost last Friday in a very high-scoring game to Unity Christian. Fruitport will look to bounce back and gain another W this coming Friday. Coopersville will rely on the trio of Colton Bosch, Dylan Merlo and Nash Merkins to spark their offense, while Fruitport features Collin and Paschal Jolman.
Allendale vs Grand Rapids West Catholic (Preview by Lien Veldboom):
This Friday night there will be a “Battle of the Falcons”, as the Allendale Falcons will travel to the West Catholic Falcons in Grand Rapids. Allendale will be faced with a difficult task that many teams have struggled with this season, they must slow down Tim Kloska. He already has 11 rushing touchdowns entering week 5. West Catholic is sitting atop of the OK blue with the only undefeated record of 4-0.
Central Montcalm vs Reed City (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
Central Montcalm will host Reed City in week five as the Hornets try to get a rebound win.
Since Reed City’s loss to Tri-County in week two, the Coyotes have been more focused. In the Coyotes’ week four win against Big Rapids, their offense came out charged scoring the first 44 points of the game. Their defense also stepped up big against a Cardinal offense that is electric. This week, Reed City will have to come in with the same fiery offense and not take the week off because they are playing a bottom team in the CSAA Gold.
The Hornets need to make some changes on both sides of the ball, following a big loss to Chippewa Hills. Central Montcalm spotted Chippewa Hills 38 points in week four. This week giving Reed City just 14 points could turn into a long night for the Hornets. However, if Central Montcalm is able to hang around to the end, they could sting late and pull off an upset.
Central Montcalm must come out and play with some fire in their system is they want to pull off an upset on Reed City. The Coyotes have to clean up the play they had in the 4th quarter against Big Rapids, but if they play just as they did in the first three quarters this game could get out of hand quick.
Grant vs Newaygo (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
The Battle of M37 is back in action for the 73rd time, as Grant travels to take on Newaygo in a battle of 1-3 teams.
Grant is coming off two big losses to their other rivals, Tri-County and Fremont. The Tigers offense in the past two weeks has not been as smooth as it was in their week two win over Chippewa Hills. Their opponents’ defense has been able to penetrate the backfield, and they haven’t been able to move the ball down the field. This week, Grant has the opportunity to change that. Newaygo has had some trouble on their defense line, so this could provide the chance for the Tigers to run at 3-4 yards a play and control the time of possession.
The Lions have had trouble running the ball all season, but in their week four loss to Tri-County there was a glimpse of hope. Newaygo was able to get the ball out on quick passes to their receivers and then power it in the endzone when they got inside the ten. Their defense still has questions, as their defensive backs are leading the team in tackles. The Lions front five need to step up and slow the run down. This week they can do that, as Grant hasn’t been to move the ball this season. This can could show an improving Lions team.
The Battle of M37 is setting up to be a thriller. Although, both teams have struggled thus far, this rivalry brings out the best in both teams. You can expect this game to be an offensive shoot out and potentially come down to the last drive of the game.
Tri-County vs Morley-Stanwood (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
Morley-Stanwood looks to get their first win of the season, but it comes against top-dog in the Gold, Tri-County.
The Mohawks have had a disappointing season thus far, starting 0-4 and not scoring more than eight points in any game. Last week, Morley-Stanwood fell to Lakeview, 21-8. Coming into the season, the Mohawks felt like they could compete for the Silver title, having an offense line they have trust in. That offense line hasn’t lived up to expectations, as they have been getting beat every week, not giving time for their plays to develop. This week it won’t be any easier, with a Vikings defense that likes to bring the pressure. This will be a real test of how this team can handle adversity.
Tri-County has looked the team many expected all season, getting a big win against Reed City, taking down rivals Grant and Newaygo, in three consecutive weeks. The offense has been able to run the ball down the throat of everyone and their defense has made it difficult for any play to develop. This week, Tri-County has to continue the pressure and get into the backfield, especially against a struggling offensive line. The Viking offense must stick to what they know best, running the ball!
This game seems like it should be a sure-fire win for Tri-County, but will Morley-Stanwood come out and give the Vikings their best, as teams have all season. It is hard to see an upset in this game, but it could very well happen.
The Best of the Rest on the West (Side)
Muskegon v Zeeland West (Preview by Michael Markoch):
The Big Reds are rolling. Since losing their first game in week two, Muskegon has ripped off back-to-back wins over Reeths-Puffer and Zeeland East. Quarterback M’Khi Guy threw three touchdowns last week against the Chix and will look to keep building momentum as conference play ramps up.
On the other side, the Zeeland West Dux have been an absolute juggernaut for teams so far this season, defeating teams by an average of over 43 points per contest during their 4-0 start. Parker Holman has been having a season to remember so far for the Dux, and although the Dux picked apart the Holland Dutch last week, that game honestly won’t show much about how high this Zeeland West team. The Big Reds present an opportunity to bring out the measuring sticks and see just how high these Dux can fly this season. This will be a colossal showdown in the OK Green conference that may have huge repercussions down the road when it comes to the conference title.
Mona Shores v Union (Preview by Michael Markoch):
We’ve seen how the Union Red Hawks have played this season when they were able to fly under the radar. Now it’s time to see how they respond to adversity and defeat. The Red Hawks lost in overtime last week, 35-29, up in Muskegon against Reeths-Puffer. In what was an entertaining game throughout, it ended in controversy, and that left Union with a bitter taste in its mouth.
The Red Hawks are still led by Tommy Stevens at quarterback, and Stevens may be putting his name in consideration to be the best quarterback in the OK Green. The senior tallied four more touchdowns against the Rockets last week and was a driving force. Elijah Taylor rushed for over 100 yards on the ground once again, and he is starting to find his footing as the season progresses. In these next couple of weeks and potentially beyond, the Red Hawks are going to need those two to continue their high-level play.
The conference gauntlet continues for Union this week as it takes on the Sailors of Mona Shores. Mona Shores is another team that suffered a brutal defeat in week two to Rockford, but they have since recovered in dominant fashion. But for the Sailors, it’s still hard to know exactly what they are as they’ve only played the clearly rebuilding programs in the conference to this point in Holland and Wyoming. After this week’s game, the Sailors still must play Zeeland West, a much-improved Reeths-Puffer team and their rivals in Muskegon.
Reeths Puffer v Wyoming (Preview by Michael Markoch):
After a few consecutive disappointing seasons for Reeths-Puffer, the Rockets could be building something special. New head coach Cody Kater has breathed new life into the Rockets’ program, and after last week’s upset victory over Union, the Rockets find themselves at 3-1 with a chance at a playoff berth.
The running attack has been phenomenal through four weeks for Reeths-Puffer. Whether it’s quarterback Brody Ross or running back Brody Johnson, the Rockets have been able to get it done on the ground. And when it’s needed, Ross has done well in the passing game as well, hooking up multiple times with Tayte Vanderleest this season, including for the game-winner in overtime last week. Against a much-improved Union defense, the Rockets had five total touchdowns and scored the most points for any opponent against the Red Hawks this season.
The Rockets will bring their surprising record on the road this week to take on the Wyoming Wolves. The Wolves have had their share of struggles this season, especially on the offensive end, as they are 0-4. However, Wyoming does have some pieces on offense that can score at any time like receiver Avion Joye and running back Nasir Purnell. If the Rockets can limit the big plays and continue to do what’s helped them so far this season, they should have a great opportunity to maintain the momentum here in week five.
Hamilton vs Hudsonville Unity Christian (Preview by Lien Veldboom):
The Hawkeyes will square off against the Crusaders of Unity Christian in their latest OK Blue contest. Hamilton looked to have a more promising season than the 2021 season during non-conference play, but now sit 0-2 within the conference. Unity Christian had the opposite problem where they were 0-2 in non-conference play, but have now got the chains moving and are 2-0 in the OK Blue. Unity Christian will look to continue the momentum this Friday night at home. Unity Christian has won the last twelve matchups decided on the field, not counting the 2020 COVID playoff forfeit.
Holland Christian vs Spring Lake (Preview by Lien Veldboom):
The Maroons of Holland Christian will host the Lakers of Spring Lake for their homecoming game. Holland Christian will look to rebound after West Catholic handed them a tough 28-14 defeat in the opening game of their newly renovated stadium. They have had some ups and downs this season entering 2-2. The Lakers are currently 0-2 in the OK Blue and sit at the bottom of the standings along with the Hamilton Hawkeyes. Spring Lake’s defense has struggled as of late, allowing 94 points in their last two games.
Big Rapids v Chippewa Hills (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
Chippewa Hills hits the road to Big Rapids, following their first win of the season. The Warriors picked up their first win of the season last Friday against Central Montcalm. Chippewa Hills offense was explosive from the beginning, scoring 38 unanswered points to start the game. Their defense stepped up big against a Hornet team that has some play makers on their offense. The Warriors will have their hands full this week when playing against a Cardinals offense that could have a big play at any moment. If Gage Saathoff can command the Chippewa Hills offense like he did against Central Montcalm, there is a good shot the Warriors make it two in a row.
Big Rapids had a tough going against Reed City in week four. Their offense wasn’t able to get started until the 4th quarter, when they scored 24. The Cardinals did spot 44 points to the Coyotes. If the Cardinals want to get an important conference win, they must have their offense start the way they ended the Reed City game. Their defense must step up big, we saw how explosive Chippewa Hills can be on the offensive side, Big Rapids has to gameplan to slow the Warriors down.
This game could be a lot closer than some may think. Chippewa Hills is looking to make it two in a row for the first time since 2019. Big Rapids has to pick their offense up where they ended in the 4th quarter of the Reed City game, if they want to compete will a Warriors team filled with confidence.
Lakeview vs Kent City (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
Lakeview looks to pull off an upset when they host Kent City for an important CSAA Silver matchup.
Kent City is coming off a huge win against conference rival, White Cloud. The Eagles were near perfect on all phases of the ball. On offense they were able to move the ball at will. On defense, Kent City slowed down the White Cloud offense led by Jace Silverthorn. Right now, the Eagles look like they have the Silver in the bag, but this week could provide an upset. Kent City has to come prepared, and they must force Lakeview out of their comfort zone. If Kent City gets an early lead, it will force the Wildcats to try and air it out, and this season when they have tried to force pass game, the Wildcats have turned the ball over.
The Wildcats have won two in a row for the first time since 2019. In the past two games, Lakeview has minimalized the little mistakes, like penalties and turnovers. This has been a focus for the squad all season and it is finally starting to come around after a tough first two games. The Wildcats must win the turnover battle and limit the penalties again. This matchup is tough for Lakeview because Kent City has a powerful running game. If Lakeview can find a way to penetrate the Eagle offense line, they could pull off the upset.
At the moment, these are two of the top teams in the Silver, so this game could provide a look at who is going to win the division. This has been Kent City’s conference in recent memory, and it looks like it will continue to be unless Lakeview is able to play flawless football on Friday.
White Cloud vs Holton (Preview by Hudson Harkness):
White Cloud will travel to Holton to try and get a bounce back win, following a big loss to Kent City.
The Indians had a tough game last Friday, against Kent City, losing 67-26. Jace Silverthorn did his usually thing against the Eagles, gathering 213 total yards and two touchdowns. The White Cloud defense was no match for the strong run game that Kent City has. The Indians are going to have to adjust for their run defense if they not only want to win this week but continue to win as the season goes on. Their offense this week will have to stick their gameplan, get the ball to Silverthorn and let Mason Ruether air it out.
This season, Holton has been outscored 212-14. Their defense and offense have not looked great. However, this week could be a different story; the Red Devils are former conference rivals with the Indians and have not lost to White Cloud in over 15 years. This seems like the game that could get Holton back on the right track and pick up their first win of the season.
White Cloud could end the losing streak to Holton this week with their electric offense. They must forget their performance from last week and move on. Holton is desperate for a win. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try pull a few tricks out of their sleeve to keep the streak alive. This is set up to potentially be a closer game than expected.
Josh’s Saginaw Area Spotlight
St Louis v Saginaw Nouvel Catholic (Preview by Josh Longstreth):
The St. Louis Sharks have fallen upon hard times the past couple weeks. After coming up just on the short end the first two weeks of the season, the Sharks knew they would have tough battles on their hands in Michigan Lutheran Seminary and the Ithaca Yellowjackets, both of which are ranked in their respective Divisions in the state-wide rankings. Things will not get any easier this week for the Sharks as they take on another powerful conference foe, but the young Sharks know they can grab one. It’s a team that has been in many of their games this year. They’ll look to see if they can finish this one out and be on the other side this coming Friday night.
The Nouvel Catholic Central Panthers bounced back in a big way last week after their first loss on the season in week 3 against Ithaca. The Panthers had their throughout much of the game en route to a 55-0 win over Valley Lutheran. Nouvel now sits at 3-1 overall on the year and 1-1 in the TVC West II. They’ll look to keep things rolling and grab their fourth win of the season this week. They’ll try not to slip up and instead avenge a loss against a team that took one from them last year. They know they’ll have a fight on their hands against an opponent who is hungry for their first win of the year.
Gladwin vs Sanford Meridian (Preview by Josh Longstreth):
The Gladwin Flying G’s came into the 2022 season with high hopes for the year. After the programs best year since 2013 last fall, it left them wanting even more. That has shown throughout their first four games of this year. Gladwin comes in sporting a 4-0 overall record, and they sit at 3-0 in conference play. To say they have dominated would be putting mildly. Gladwin is outscoring their opponents 210-0 on the year. No, that is not a typo, the Flying G’s have just been that good. They have come into 2022 with their head down and high goals on their mind. Gladwin now sits at #4 in the Division 5 state rankings.
On the side sits the Sanford Meridian Mustangs. Another team that had high hopes in returning to the playoffs in 2022. After a tough first loss to Bullock Creek in the opening week, the Mustangs have rattled off three wins in a row. It’s a team that continues to improve on a weekly basis. During the last two weeks, the Mustangs have outscored their two opponents 87-14. Those coming against two tough teams in Oscoda and Harrison. They’ll have a chance at grabbing their biggest win of the year this week.
Clare vs Harrison (Preview by Josh Longstreth):
It has been a bit of a whirlwind season for the Clare Pioneers. The Pioneers came into 2022 with a lot of new changes. They fell in the first week to the Freeland Falcons, before gaining some momentum by dominating the next two weeks despite injuries. They fell again last week to a very solid Gladwin team. They are now faced with trying to regain that momentum. It’s a program that knows how to battle adversity, as they have shown many times before. An extremely well coached team, they’ll look to bounce back this coming Friday.
On the other side is the Harrison Hornets who are also one of the more well-led teams in the conference. A team that has made the playoffs three years in a row, the Hornets have been faced with some adversity themselves in 2022. The Hornets opened up the season with a bang against St. Charles before falling ill to dominant Gladwin. They would pick themselves back up with a big win against Pinconning before taking it on the chin a bit last week against Meridian. Now the question is whether they can rally again. They will have a chance to get a monumental season win in the JPC this week. Clare has had the Hornets number in this series, Harrison has not beaten the Pioneers since 2015.
Croswell-Lexington v Yale (Preview by Josh Longstreth):
The Cros-Lex Pioneers were faced with a different task last week. The Pioneers wouldn’t actually play in a game, instead receiving a forfeit win over Algonac with the latter not having a football season this year. Whether a bye week is good for a team that was absolutely rolling is good, will only be revealed by time itself. The Pioneers come into this week at now 4-0 and now 2-0 in the BWAC. They out cored the likes of Swan Valley, Richmond, and Armada 131-26. All three of those teams were playoff teams last year. The Pioneers are led by a new quarterback this year, who has not skipped a beat. Gavin Espinoza, who moved over to quarterback this year from wide receiver, has passed for 464 yards through the air, while adding 8 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions. Oh, and he adds another 65 yards per game on the ground, and has another 3 touchdowns. He has been dynamic to say the least. He is helped by running back Gabriel Groppi. Groppi is averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground to go with 6 touchdowns through three games. The two lead an offense that has been an explosive nightmare for opposing defenses this year. Don’t forget about the defense, though. The Pioneers defense has playmakers all over it. Benito Mendoza has accounted for 3 sacks on the year. The defense can turn you over as well. The Pioneers have forced opposing offenses into 10 turnovers on the year. The state of Michigan is starting to take notice of the Pioneers as well. Cros-Lex has moved all the way up to the #3 spot in the Division 4 rankings. We’ll see if the bye week has any effect on the Pioneers.
The Yale Bulldogs stand in the way this week. Coming off a big defeat over Richmond, Yale hopes to catch the Pioneers sleeping after the bye week. They will hope to see if they can turn the tide in this “Helmet Trophy” series. The Bulldogs have not beaten Cros-Lex since 2016. The 2-2 Bulldogs will have upset on their mind this week in what could be a monumental season win. Can the Bulldogs slow down the explosive offense of the Pioneers will be the biggest question heading into this one.