By Ken DeLaat
Newaygo at Grant
Lots of talk about this one and for good reason.
Not only is it one of the hottest and longest standing rivalries around but there’s a playoff spot to be had by emerging as the winner.
To say nothing about a year’s worth of bragging rights.
The teams seem pretty evenly matched in many facets including coaching. These are two leaders who possess the ability to deliver their message to their respective teams and it has shown on the field of play.
Both teams have developed some formidable line play, both teams have punishing running backs and a qb that can throw or run and both teams have the same blemishes on their record Reed City and Chip Hills.
High school games can be decidedly unpredictable and with a lopsided number of turnovers and mistakes a game that should be close becomes a blowout.
But these teams rarely make many mistakes and if they do it’s seldom seen twice.
Our article early in the week gave some backdrop to the game and under any circumstances this is a really huge point on the schedule. So think about the player or fan going home knowing your team has just vanquished the school’s biggest rival and the good feeling that comes with a win
And to top it off?
You’re going to the playoffs man.
You made it to the dance.
Tri County at Fremont
In 2004 the Vikings took down the Pack twice when both played in the WWAC the second time in the pre district. The next 9 years including 8 when they were both members of the Lakes 8 Fremont came out on top,
Last year the Packer inaugural season in the CSAA Gold they faced the Vikings after a two year break and TC snapped the streak with a convincing 29-0 win that also halted their 4 game skid.
Fremont needs a win. They are now 25 games into a streak and the last time they even had a good chance of winning was the opener of the ‘15 season, the first of those 25 losses in a row.
When TC gets a chance to run their offense as they would like they can perform well, but, like Fremont, they have often found themselves in an early hole facing an uphill climb which reduces your offensive options quicky.
The Pack can also do a bit of scoring and neither team has what one might call a shutdown defense. The Vikes have yielded nearly 40 points a game and Packer opponents have scored 7 or more touchdowns a game except for their opener when Evart was held to 5.
It could be a track meet with the winner getting off the schneid and posting a 1 on the left column of the standings.It might the best shot at a win with for both schools since McBain will be bringing their playoff bound team to Fremont next week while TC will have the unenviable task of facing the undefeated and highly talented Eagles of Kent City.
White Cloud at Three Oaks River Valley
The Mustangs broke a 28 game losing streak earlier this year.and have not won more than 2 games a year since 2002 when their current players were toddlers or infants.
The Indians will be traveling a long way south for this game and we hope it will be a happy bus ride home.
The only common opponent?
Wyoming Lee. The Rebels defeated the Cloud 48-0 earlier this year and also shut down the ‘Stangs 55-0
Muskegon Catholic at Hesperia.
The Panthers have lost 8 games this season. The Crusaders have lost 8 regular season games since 2011 and have won 4 of their 7 state championships the past four years.
Last season MCC beat a playoff bound Panther team 48-7 to continue their undefeated season.
This year they face a Hesperia team without a win.
Hesperia is playing at home but their best shot at avoiding a winless season might be on the road next week when they face a Shelby team that has thus far also remained winless.
Morley Stanwood at Beal City.
The Mohawks are already in the postseason which is a good thing because their next two opponents look to be pretty tough matchups. The Aggies have not missed the playoffs in this century and will need to win out to make it 18 years in a row.
By the time the season ends the boys from Morley Stanwood will have played 3 teams from the Highland Conference. They posted an earlier win against Pine River (0-7) and now finish off the year with matchups against BC (4-3) and Lake City (7-0).
These last two might make the Mohawks happy to be residing in the CSAA Silver.
Holton at Evart
The Red Devils have won every other game this season and lost last week. Of course that means absolutely nothing but they are on the road against a team that has beaten three teams with a combine 2-19 record..
But then Holton’s victories came against schools with a combined 3-18 mark.
Central Montcalm at Reed City
Not an even matchup. The Hornets will find the going tough on offense and they don’t possess the kind of defense to rein in the Coyotes.
Big Rapids at Chippewa Hills
The Cardinals can score and will put up some points against the Warriors, but Chip Hills is a pretty good team with a potent offense. The Warriors need this one to make it into the playoff picture and they’re playing at home a tough venue for visiting squads.
Lakeview at Ludington
The Wildcats still have a playoff shot if they defeat the Orioles on the road and Central Montcalm at home. If they succeed there will be a trio of Silver teams playing on after the regular season. The Orioles have lost every conference game and won every non-conference tilt.
This one is non-conference.
Kent City at Maple Valley
The Eagles will be looking to stay undefeated while the Lions need a win to get into the dance.Tigers One Win Away With Two To PlayBy Christi Evans
Photos By Chris Lesley
Grant edged one game closer to a 2nd consecutive playoff berth with an impressive 55-18 win over Fremont on Friday putting a bit of a damper on the Packer Homecoming.
It was a total team effort as Offense, Defense, and Special Teams all got in on the scoring action for the visiting Tigers and the defense came up with some big stops and key interceptions that led to Grant touchdowns.
Senior RB Jared Evans was experiencing left quad tightness following his first carry during the Tigers’ opening drive and left the game after securing a first down. Grant continued to drive the ball downfield with a combination of passes and runs, and Quarterback Trent Throop completed the drive with a quick run-in for the Tigers’ first score of the night. It would not be their last.
The Packers’ opening drive came to an abrupt halt when Grant’s Josh Wright intercepted a Fremont pass for a Pick 6. With just under 2 minutes left in the first quarter, Throop called his own number and ran the ball in from 11 yards out for his second touchdown. At the end of the first, Grant was leading Fremont, 21-0.
Throop started the second quarter in the same way he had the first, with a running touchdown, his third of the night. Fremont took the ensuing kick and put together a strong offensive drive, culminating in a long pass reception from Caleb Koomen to Riley Krim for the score. The 2-point conversion failed.
The Tigers quickly answered back as freshman Bret Long returned the Packers kick 60+ yards for another Tiger score. The Grant defense continued to give the Packers fits as on the next Fremont possession, a pass was again picked off by a Grant defender, this time Jagarr Jenerou, who returned the ball into Packer territory. This set up the next Tiger touchdown, a 43-yard run by Jared Evans, who had returned to the game. With just a minute left in the half, Jenerou recorded his second interception of the night, and was tackled at the Grant 20 yard line. With the Tigers back in control, Throop handed the ball to Evans, who took it 79 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The Tigers went into the locker room at the half with a comfortable lead, 49-6 over their hosts.
Packer Parker Dalson began the second half scoring when he took the Tiger kickoff 80 yards for the second Fremont TD of the night. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the remainder of the third quarter was a defensive battle with neither team scoring.
Neither team was done yet, though. Early in the fourth quarter, Zack Powell took a handoff from Throop and ran the ball in from 14 yards out, to cap the Tigers’ scoring. The PAT was Naffziger’s only miss on the night.
Fremont quickly answered back on their next possession with a 53 yard touchdown run by Adrian Zerlaut but the Tiger defense held firm and for the third time, denied the 2-point conversion. The score was now Grant 55, Fremont 18 and for the remainder of the game the two teams traded the ball back and forth as the clock ran down to a Tiger victory and the presentation of the new traveling trophy for the annual Grant vs. Fremont game, a metal water bucket, to Grant Head Coach Darren Geraghty.
The Tigers combined for 380 total yards of offense, 50 in the air and the rest on the ground. Jared Evans had a big night, accounting for 210 of the team’s 330 rushing yards, on limited carries due to a quad strain. Kicker Tyler Naffziger was near perfect, connecting on 7 of 8 point after attempts.
Fremont’s Koomen passed for 105 yards with Krim accounting for 70 of those yards and a quintet of Packers combined to rush for 124 yards led by the 53 put up by Zerlaut on his lone carry.
Fremont will finish the conference season with Tri-County Friday, as both teams look to pick up that elusive first win.
Grant will host rival Newaygo in the classic Battle of M-37.
The winner will take home the coveted “M-37 Battle” Plaque which is currently in Grant’s possession, a third place finish in the CSAA Gold Conference, and their sixth win to gain an automatic entry into the postseason.
And it’s Grant’s Homecoming.
Football Roundup Week 7
Newaygo 38 Tri County 0
The Lions defense pitched their second shutout of the season and sent their Homecoming crowd home happy with a dominating performance over the Vikings (0-6, 0-7).Newaygo (4-2, 5-2) has now peeled off 4 straight wins and can punch their postseason ticket with a win Friday in Grant.
Morley Stanwood 47 White Cloud 0
The Mohawks (6-1, 4-1) bounced back from their drubbing by Kent City to clinch a tournament spot with a shutout win over visiting White Cloud.
Kent City 54 Hesperia 19
Neither team had their streak broken Friday as the Eagles (5-0, 7-0) remained undefeated in capturing the Silver crown while the Panthers (0-5, 0-7) fell short of notching their first ‘W’ of the season.
Lakeview 42 Holton 21
The Wildcats(3-2, 4-3) doubled up the Red Devils (2-3,3-4) to secure a third place finish in the Silver. The win keeps the Lakeviews hopes for a playoff bid alive as they finish the season with Ludington (2-5) and Central Montcalm (2-5).
Reed City 48 Big Rapids 14
The Coyotes (6-0, 6-1) clinched a tie for top spot in the Gold with a solid win over the Cardinals
Chippewa Hills 35 Central Montcalm 6
The Warriors (5-1, 5-2 moved a step closer to a playoff berth with a convincing win over the Hornets (2-4, 2-5)