By Ken DeLaat
Friday is the midway mark of the regular season and the games on tap should give a glimpse at which teams might be heading for a tenth game.
Fremont (0-3, 0-4) at Newaygo (2-1, 2-2)
The Packers have been vulnerable to early scoring giving up chunks of points before getting on track and the Lions have the kind of buzz in their backfield to make it happen again Friday night.
Fremont might be a different team if they didn’t dig quite so big a hole right away, generally on big plays from scrimmage. The past 3 games they’ve watched teams put up 91 points by intermission while scoring just 14. They don’t have an offense designed for coming back from that far behind and in reality unless you have an accurate gunslinger under center and a couple of receiving corps members with sticky hands and acrobatic moves, few teams do.
Newaygo is at home and this is one of those rivalries that runs pretty deep. It’s not Newaygo/Grant, mind you. Few in the region come close to that one, but it can get pretty heated whether it’s football, softball, basketball or even tiddlywinks if they each had a tiddlywink team.
And they’re playing in Lion country.
Grant (1-2, 2-2) at Tri County (1-2, 2-2)
The Viking defense held down Lakeview in their opener but so has everyone else. TC rose to the occasion to contain a high octane Cardinal offense but then got pounded by RC and CH yielding 42 and 50 points.
The Tigers are not likely to score like the Coyotes and Warriors. They lit up the scoreboard with 37 in the opener against Shelby, a team who in the three games since have yielded 196 points
That's 65 points per game.
Grant’s offense is better than what they showed last week when the only points on the scoreboard came from the defense. If The Tigers hit on some early big plays like Keelean finding an open Ostyn for a chunk of yardage,it could be a long night for the Vikes.
Then, of course there’s the Tiger D. The Grant defense has been stalwart and showed some serious mettle when they shut down Reed City.
But the Vikings know how to score and they won’t be afraid to go right at Grant.
Both need the win to help with playoff hopes.
Chip Hills (2-1, 2-2) at Reed City (2-1, 2-2)
The Coyotes have literally owned the Warriors this decade with 10 wins in a row and whether one of the regular season blowouts or the heartbreaking last minute losses in the postseason Chippewa Hills has been unable to solve Reed City.
But it’s a new year CH has a new coach and this Warrior team is looking to not only end the streak but also stay in the race for the conference crown and inch a bit closer to the coveted playoff berth.
The ‘Yotes have other ideas. They’ve lost a pair of games and don’t possess the firepower of recent years but this team took apart a pretty good Tri County team last week and are not willing to yield the crown yet.
Reed City is always a tough trip for visitors. The Canis latrans the school unleashes every season seem to guard their home turf with tenacity year after year and there is a strong fan base who usually turn out in droves.
Could be a dogfight.
Big Rapids (1-2, 1-3) at Central Montcalm (3-0, 4-0)
The Cards are going to put up points so the Hornets will have to put up more. CM seems to be able to rise to the occasion with some tight wins in their first three before cruising to their 4th over the Pack. Might be a bit of track meet here and that could go either way but they’re playing at Stanton and there is some serious spirit surging through the CM area. Formula for win number 5? Stop Maurice Camphor. The Hornets know this and they have a lot of talent on defense.
If the Bees win again they are definitely the rabbit in the Gold and would be one win from their first playoff spot since 2014. The Cards win and there will be a logjam atop the conference with 6 teams within a game of each other.
Likely to be a fun one to watch.
Hesperia (1-0, 2-2) at Lakeview (0-2, 0-4)
The Panthers put up the points last time out and have had two weeks of rest with WC off the schedule. They face a Wildcat team that doesn’t score much and gives up points at a rate that reminds one of the current Miami Dolphins.
Coach Bolles has players who can get it into the endzone and barring mistakes they should be able to do this more than once or twice on the road Friday night.
Holton (0-2, 1-4) Over WC-forfeit
Morley Stanwood (2-0, 2-2) at Kent City (1-0, 3-1)
Kent City has played two tough games. They beat a good Newaygo team and got stifled by a good Orchard View team. The ‘Hawks two losses came against teams who are thus far, undefeated, including CM’s Hornets and perennial powerhouse Hopkins.
They both beat Lakeview but the Eagles cruised and the Mohawks held off a determined Wildcat team to escape with the win
A leg up on the Silver chase and a win closer to extended play for the winner. A rougher road for the loser.
The Eagles are at home. Definite edge.