By Ken DeLaat
Lion and Tigers and Packers (oh my!) and Vikes stay home, while Cloud, Panthers and Devils take to the road.
Chippewa Hills at Newaygo
The Lions got a taste of what a player like Gio Weeks can do to a defense but fortunately CH doesn’t have a Gio Weeks in their backfield. Their offense was smothered by the dynamic defense possessed by Oakridge while on the other side of the ball they had to contend with Eagle running back Leroy Quinn who equaled the 5 TDs posted by Weeks. CH fell behind by 21 points after one and were buried in a 49-0 avalanche by halftime, finally getting on the board in the final frame.
The Warriors have had control of this series the past four years but last season Newaygo had a good shot at beating them on the road if not for a couple of mistakes late in the game.
It was just their third game under the tutelage of Coach Scott Van Essen and it’s unlikely they will repeat those mistakes in season two.
The Lions are at home and this game is key to competing for the conference crown. If they can generate a consistent offense and wear down the CH defense this could be a step toward that goal.
Central Montcalm at Grant
The Hornets aren’t going to score a lot of points and were shut out by Morley in the opener. Their defense isn’t bad but they spend an awful lot of time on the field.
The Tigers should control this one early and need a win with a double dose of Reed City on the road and Chip Hills at home the next two weeks.
Reed City at Fremont
A heartbreak loss for the Packers who saw their winless streak reach 28.
It’s likely to be 29 after Thursday because the ‘Yotes have come out strong putting a pasting on perennial powerhouse Montague last week.
Fremont showed a lot of improvement in the loss to Evart and they should be able to snap the streak this season.
But I wouldn’t look for it to happen Thursday. Reed City has too much to let this one slip away.
Big Rapids at Tri County
Since the Vikes joined the CSAA Gold in 2014 they haven’t made a lot of noise on the football field.
Except when it comes to this game. This series has yielded some true barnburners and created a bit of a simmering rivalry between the schools.
The Cardinal win over Shephard doesn’t produce much insight. The Blue Jays had a fistful of scoring chances and the BR defense kept them out each time but much of that was due to some red zone mistakes. The Cardinal offense used some big plays and took advantage of the scoring opportunities they were given.
The Vikes lost to cross conference foe Lakeview a team that might be poised to do some damage in the Silver and ran into a familiar problem, getting the ball into the endzone.
TC will need to sustain a few drives and come away with points because the Cards are going to score.
It’s on Viking turf this year so it could be another close one.
Should be a good one to watch.
White Cloud at Manton
A lot would have to go their way for the Cloud to come away with a win on the road against the Rangers. Manton isn’t a powerhouse in the tough Highland conference but they finished strong last season and started out with a hard fought win over Johannesburg Lewiston.
The Indians have some talent on both sides of the ball but the Rangers can put up the points, and the visitors have trouble doing so.
Hesperia at Pine River
The Bucks went from the semi-finals 2 years ago to a single win last season. They bounced back with a shutout of Kalkaska and they’re playing at home always a tough venue for visitors.
The Panthers ran into a buzzsaw in their opening loss to North Muskegon but they won’t be the last team to be humbled by the Norsemen.
Hesperia is short on numbers and playing a good team on the road.. With Silver action starting next week in the form of the rivalry game with Holton this would be a big win for Coach Bolles’ squad.
It might be hard to come by though.
Holton at Evart
The last time the Red Devils won their opener most of their current players were either in kindergarten or first grade (2007). A win over Evart would be their first 2-0 beginning since 1999.
The Wildcats have a good passing game and some quick strike capabilities.
They also give up points.
It would be a tough win on the road but a 2-0 start heading into their trip up M-120 next week would suit the Devils just fine.
Kent City at Beal City
Gio Weeks will get all the yards he wants against the Aggies
Lakeview at Lake City
The Trojans are a really good team and playing at home. Lakeview will find the going pretty tough.
Morley Stanwood at Manton
The Ramblers hope for a return to the playoffs got stung by the Stags in a close opening loss.
The Mohawks pitched a shutout but are on the road. Manton will score and Morley will need to counter.