By Ken DeLaat
All area teams are on the road Friday except for Hesperia who will be hosting their southern neighbors in a battle for the Golden Football, Here’s a quick look at who’s playing who and a few words about the matchups.
Newaygo at Central Montcalm
How do you bounce back from a gut wrenching loss at home that has put you in an early season 0-2 hole?
Lion fans will find out Friday night when their team travels to Stanton to face Central Montcalm.
The Hornets are not going to present the kind of challenges Newaygo has encountered these last two weeks. They won’t be seeing the passing game of the Warriors nor the running game of the Eagles but CM stayed in the game against a tough Grant team last week and they play some spirited defense so they can’t be taken lightly.
They won’t be. The Lions have the talent to make the playoffs and they have to have this one if they are to succeed in doing so.
Grant at Reed City
Both teams are 2-0 and the Coyotes have beaten a pretty good team in Montague and a team that struggles on defense in Fremont.
The Tigers have posted wins over Shelby and Central Montcalm. They knocked off Shelby by a touchdown while Reed City was pounding Montague in week one then Montague pasted the Tigers (Shelby) 67-7 last week.
They’re playing at Reed City and the Yotes have a huge and vocal following. It’s a tough place to play and Reed City is a program that has gone 63-2 inn the regular season since 2011 including a current conference streak of 25 games.
Grant will have to pull out all the stops while playing mistake free football and hope for a break or two if they want to come home 3-0.
Fremont at Big Rapids
The Packers are improving despite running into the buzzsaw that is Reed City last week. Big Rapids got beat by Tri County after opening with a win over a Shepherd team that struggles to score.
The Cardinals are playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.
The Packer offense could find its footing here and put up some points. After all, they should be game readied after spending twice the time on the field and executing 4 times the plays as their guests last week.
Courtesy of the lightning strike Coyote scoring machine.
White Cloud at Kent City
The Eagles are good. Real good. And solid. And deep.
They have a premier running attack led by a true speedster and an outstanding corps of linemen.
Beal City held them down last week before losing 13-7 and the Aggies are a strong program with a great tradition who are looking to return to the playoffs after missing them last season for just the 4th time since 1980.
That game aside White Cloud does not have the numbers, the depth or the talent they will be facing across the line. In high school sports they say anything can happen so playing the Eagles on the road with thinned ranks in an all important conference opener doesn’t mean the Cloud is not going to win.
But it will definitely be an uphill battle.
Holton at Hesperia
Big game. The 0-2 Panthers need to get it going in the other direction after struggling to get traction so far this season.
The Red Devils are riding high after going 2-0 for the first time since before their players were born.
Hesperia has played two teams that are strong playoff contenders. Holton played two teams who will likely have less success this season.
But throw all that out because this is one of those ‘season within a season’ rivalry games.
The contest is at Hesperia and the Devils hold possession of the Golden Football trophy. High on their wish list would be a trip home with the trophy and a third win.
The Panthers need this one to turn their season around.
Get their early. This one is always a good draw.
Tri County at Chippewa Hills
The Vikes and Cards put on another great show last week with TC taking the victory to begin the conference season 1-0.
To make it 2 in a row they will have to be able to stop the Warrior passing attack the key to a shifty and multifaceted offensive attack possessed by CH. The Warriors are coming off a huge high, winning with an improbable final seconds drive to answer a furious Lion comeback.
Let down? Maybe. But they’re at home playing in front of a lot more than the couple of dozen of their fans who watched the wild ending in Newaygo.
That should fire them up a bit.
The Vikings will have to play at their top level and minimize mistakes. The Warrior defense can open doors now and then but they tend to be pretty tough in the red zone. TC needs to put points on the board early.