Lions visit Vikingland, Pack travels to Grant, Devils look for #5, Cloud and Panthers host Mohawks and Eagles
By Ken DeLaat
Newaygo at Tri County
The Vikings are having a good season. Their quarterback Nick Braunschneider knows how to move the ball, they are opportunistic when defending the pass and can hold their own against the run.
But they need to play mistake free as possible to succeed and last week those mistakes came in the form of unnecessary penalties and resulted in The Vikes losing a game they had ample opportunities to win.
The Lions Have their eye on the prize with three straight wins after the bizarre loss to Chip Hills. They need three more in the final four so this one and next week’s homecoming against their rivals from the south are vital because should they win both they will still need one of the final two. One is state ranked and undefeated Reed City on the road and the finale has the Lions welcoming in Muskegon Catholic Central. The Crusaders are having a rough time with their brutal schedule and have dropped three games but this is a program whose post season record is 12-3.
In the State Championship Finals, that is.
Fremont at Grant
The Packer defense is trying out there, give them that, but they are consistently losing the battles in the trenches and a good offense can find many ways to exploit that advantage. Special teams play has also been an issue this season.
Grant doesn’t have the firepower offense of Newaygo or Reed City but they’re grinders and they can come up with big plays when needed. A victory gives them 4 going into the rivalry game next week and it would likely take a significant Packer defensive revival to prevent them from getting it.
Kent City at Hesperia
The only team to post more than one touchdown on the Eagle defense was Newaygo in the opener.
The Panthers have had trouble scoring in games when they aren’t playing teams named White Cloud.
Kent City also has a quick strike offense featuring a ground attack that wears down opposing defenses.
There are two very winnable games left on the Panther schedule.
This isn’t one of them.
Lakeview at Holton
The Red Devils enter the toughest part of their schedule needing a pair of wins to nab that elusive playoff invitation. After Lakeview they face conference leader Kent City, a 4-1 Pine River team and the rejuvenated Tri County Vikings.
The Wildcats have 3 losses and those came against teams with a combined 13-2 record. Under coach Sean Rinehart the team has made the playoffs 4 of the past 5 seasons and to get there again they need to win out.
Holton is at home which will help but they will likely have their hands full with a determined and senior laden Lakeview squad. Should be a pretty good matchup.
Morley Stanwood at White Cloud
The Mohawks defense yielded just 34 points in their first four games before being riddled by Kent City for 42 last week.They should have little trouble getting back on track against a mistake prone Indian offense.
The Cloud defense gives up an average of almost 50 points a game.
Tough year for White Cloud but give the team credit. They play hard all four quarters and have stayed positive during season that has had little success in the standings.
Big Rapids at Reed City
The Cardinals have three wins against teams with a combined overall record of 1-14.
Reed City is really really good and a win assures them of their 9th straight playoff season.
Big Rapids has not beaten their northern neighbors since 2009 the last time the ‘Yotes sat home during post season.
There is too much talent on the Coyote side and not enough weapons in the BR arsenal to foresee a different outcome than a RC win.
Still, strange things can happen during rivalry games
Central Montcalm at Chippewa Hills
The Warriors despite 2 wins have been outscored by 92 points this season and have not won at home.
The Bees have trouble stopping people and have yet to post a win.
Resistible force meets movable object, maybe?