Looks like another interesting week for football as the conference begins to separate the contenders for the crown from the also rans. In the Gold Newaygo and Reed City are chasing CM and Grant is waiting in the wings for a stumble or two from the teams in front of them. While next week will feature the showcase Grant/Newaygo annual battle for bragging rights and the much awaited Coyote/Hornet clash this weeks games provide some intriguing matchups.
In the Silver Morley plays the game they filled in when the Cloud cancelled hosting the Hawks of Hamady. Hesperia’s qb status is still iffy and the Red Devils return to the field though not their own since they’re traveling to Lakeview.
Tri County (1-3, 2-3) at Newaygo (3-1, 3-2)
The last time the Vikings beat Newaygo Phil Butler was coach.
Of the Lions.
Since then Coach Butler moved on to his alma mater but his squads haven’t been able to solve the Lions since joining the CSAA 5 years ago.
The Vikes can put up the points when the offense is clicking although both teams they have beaten tend to give up a boatload this season. Oh, and they were stuffed by Grant last week but the Tigers are not exactly easy to score on.
Not every team gets better as the season progresses. Some don’t, some improve a little and some go backwards.
Much like last year, the Lions have improved markedly since game one.
Newaygo’s at home but they need to stop the Viking offense early and moreso, not look ahead at the two rivalry games ahead of them, one a time honored war between neighbors and one that’s been simmering since the Lions entered the league.
Grant (2-2, 3-2) at Fremont (0-4, 0-5)
It’s homecoming for the Packers so fans will enjoy floats and a big halftime show and a coronation and a dance…..
But it’s highly unlikely they’ll enjoy a lot of points for the home team,
The Tiger defense has some definite teeth to it. They’ve given up a single touchdown in four of their 5 games and only the undefeated and league leading Hornets got into the endzone more than once.
Cody Andree can toss the ball and will likely need to. Question is whether he will get the time to do so. Fremont continues to be plagued with yielding points early and if it happens again on Friday the Grant defense will be licking their chops.
The Tigers need to win 3 more to punch a playoff ticket.
After Friday they want it down to 2.
A whole lot would have to go the Packers way to stop it from happening.
Reed City (3-1, 3-2) at Big Rapids (1-3. 1-4)
The Coyotes are coming into their own and have put up 154 points in their three wins. They also scored a total of just 6 in their 2 losses but those were against 2 of the best defenses around and the Cards aren’t even close to either of those teams when it comes to shutting down opponents.
Big Rapids is home and it’s a rivalry game but I doubt it will make much of a difference Friday. The Yotes want to defend their title they can do it by winning out. They cannot afford to let this one slip away and they likely won’t.
Chippewa Hills (2-1, 2-3) at Central Montcalm (4-0, 5-0)
The Hornets have squeaked by the better teams on their schedule thus far and have dominated the other teams they’ve faced.
They beat the Tigers at their own game by putting out a prime defensive effort and holding them to a safety.
The following week the floodgates opened and the Coyotes hung 52 on them.
The Bees could stumble against an enigmatic CH team like this, particularly if they get too focused on that decisive road game in Reed City next week but I hope not. Any team that shakes off a 13 game losing streak by ripping off 5 straight to open the season deserves a shot at running the table.
Hesperia (1-1, 2-3) at Kent City (1-1, 3-2)
How Hesperia goes will depend on the health of their all everything guy who went down with an injury last week in a loss to previously winless Lakeview. Logan Balkema isn’t the only player on a gritty Panther squad but he is definitely the straw that stirs the drink and on a team with smaller numbers it matters. A lot.
The Eagles got it handed to them at home by Morley. The loss hurt and likely diminished any shot at a conference crown but they need the next three to have a shot at continuing their 3 year streak of playoff participation.They will be fired up to make their fans forget about last week.
Oh, and it’s homecoming.
Holton (0-2, 1-4) at Lakeview (1-2, 1-4)
The Devs have not taken the field since September 13th. With the lengthy sabbatical they have been able to get their players healthy and will be ready for the matchup with the Wildcats, but this will be a tough one.
Coach Jados still has limited numbers to work with and Lakeview has shown they’re not a pushover despite their record. The Red Devils have missed 2 games between their own forfeit and the Cloud’s last week and while the layoff helps get players healthy teams can struggle to shake the rust off and find their rhythm
Here’s hoping enough fans make the trip to cheer on the return of this gutsy group of gridders who decidedly deserve their support.
Flint Hamady (5-0) Morley Stanwood (3-0, 3-2)
The Hamady Hawks are undefeated and their 5-0 mark looks intimidating.
Except their opponents have a combined record of 3-22.
Still, the program has been a frequent participant in the postseason in recent years and have moved up a class to compete in B for the first time.
The Mohawks are a good team and one that is getting better. They look to add another Silver crown to their trophy case after this non league matchup and they also look to be the team no one wants to face in game 10.
Hard to get a read on this but being at home can’t hurt.
By Ken DeLaat, N3 Sports