Tigers face down Oakridge Friday; Eagles 'Yotes, and Hawks continue play
By Ken DeLaat
Grant at Oakridge
The last 2 victories for Grant were retribution wins. First they took out Ravenna in the final game of the regular season settling a score from the previous season finale when the Bulldogs sent the Tigers into tournament play with a loss that hurt their seeding.The win got them into the tournament where they were able to avenge a homecoming loss to their northern neighbors in last weeks game.
Now here come the Eagles. The team that squeezed the Tiger offense and jumped on opportunities given them to blast Grant from the playoffs last season.
But that was last season.
The Eagles have lost twice. Once to Whitehall. The Vikings fielded a strong team that got bounced from the playoffs by the surging Black Knights of Belding. The other came against Montague.
And if you haven’t been beaten by Montague, you haven’t played them yet. They are a team that began the season playing really good football and have elevated their game since.
And it’s not just a team the Tigers will be facing it’s a program. The Eagles have flown the state title banner 3 times, been to the playoffs 13 years in a row and missed the postseason just once since 1995.
That is indeed a Program.
Grant will have it’s hands full but so should the Eagles.
The Tiger team I saw play last Friday night came out ready to do business. They were focused, played with a high level of confidence and minimized the mistakes that might have cost them earlier in the season. The offense tossed out a number of differing looks and the intensity of their defense remained high from kickoff to the final gun.
They will need all of that and perhaps more Friday night.
This team has already written their legacy by moving the Orange and Black into their first District Final.
And now they want more.
A District title and a ride to the Regionals would be nice.
And with it would come that revenge trifecta.
Kent City at Montague
These two undefeated teams roll into the District final after facing each other in the pre districts last year. The Eagles triumphed in a thrilling 21-20 gridiron classic and the sequel looks to be an intriguing matchup.
The Wildcats play a much tougher schedule.They faced 5 playoff teams during the season while Kent City faced two, a Mohawk team they have beaten soundly twice and Lakeview. The Wildcats managed 23 points in that game the most against KC this season.
Montague shut out those same Wildcats last week 47-0. They have dominated every game but one, their rivalry match with Whitehall. And that includes a 34-10 drubbing of Muskegon Catholic Central the team looking to extend their streak as D8 State Champions to 5 seasons in a row.
On the road, mind you.
Those 10 points the Crusaders posted were the only points scored on the ‘Cats since September 22nd.
Last year the Eagles posted their first winning record since 2001.Then this year they ran through their regular season undefeated for the first time ever. They’re a confident team with ample offensive weaponry facing a shutdown defense with a steamrolling offense.
And they’re playing in Montague.
Kent City needs to be at the top of their game. They’re a good team, a very good team.
Friday they face a team that many liken the ‘08,’09 teams that brought home state titles.
Except with more defense.
Cedar Springs at DeWitt
The Red Hawks pulled off a big win over highly regarded East Grand Rapids who came in undefeated and poised for a lengthy playoff run.
DeWitt, like East, is one of those programs. They’ve missed the playoffs just one time this century and lost a single game this season, the opener to GR Christian by 8 points.
The same Eagle team who nipped the Hawks by 4.
Cedar Springs has 3 losses on their resume but each of those teams are still playing.
Clare at Reed City
The Coyotes will be facing their toughest opponent since the opener when Montague blew by them. The Pioneers also ran the table after getting thumped by perennial powerhouse Ithaca.
Both teams can score. Both play rugged defense.
Reed City is a tough place to play but Clare travels well.