By Ken DeLaat
Last week all the local teams were on the road save Hesperia who hosted their down-the-road rivals from Holton. This week they’re all at home except for the Panthers who travel east a bit to face the Cloud. There are some tough matchups this week and a couple that might help sort out who the frontrunners are in the Gold and Silver.
So get to a game. These student athletes put it all out there on the field and deserve a little support from their home towns.
Big Rapids at Newaygo
A most intriguing game with two teams that are looking to climb into the conference conversation. Each offense put 60+ points on the board last week as the Cards ran rampant over the Packers last week after a loss to the Vikings and the Lions took out the frustration felt from the debacle against Chip Hills on the Hornets.
The winner will keep title hopes alive and if Newaygo falls short the road to any playoff possibility gets significantly rougher. The Lion defense needs to show up and show up big. The offense should be able to find their way into the endzone though not without a battle.
Chippewa Hills at Grant
Are the Vikings that good or did the Warriors simply lay an egg at home last week? Their meet-up with Newaygo did not reveal much of a running game and the air attack while effective had more to do with a secondary seemingly caught off guard that night.TC slammed the door on both in their victory last week.
Grant had it handed to them against the ‘Yotes who feast on opportunities and were given far too many last week,.
Who regroups here? The Tigers play well at home and who knows which Warrior team will show up? Take away a last second miracle win in Newaygo and they are 0-3.
If Grant can grab an early lead and keep CH playing catch-up they should be able to force a few mistakes. The Warriors can do some damage by floating a few of those big gain passes so shutting them down early will be important.
The Tigers don’t possess the depth of last years team and they have never beaten the Warriors in 8 tries. Here’s hoping that doesn’t become 9.
Central Montcalm at Fremont
Two teams searching for a win.
In 4 years of high school Fremont seniors have yet to experience their team posting a varsity victory and fans are hungry for a win.
The Bees have only one ‘W’in the last 10 games and it was courtesy of the Packers.
While CM has been able to stay in games (at least prior to last week’s shellacking by the Lions) Fremont has dug themselves early holes with an inability to contain the offense (and special teams) from the other side.
Fremont has the tools and talent to score points but the offense is going to need the defense to give them a little breathing room to be effective against the Hornets.
This might be the best opportunity for the hosts to break the streak but if the visitors score a couple of early TD’s it could be another long night in Packerville.
Reed City at Tri County
Are the Vikings for real? They haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and after a one win season TC wasn’t expected to make a lot of noise in the Gold but, sheesh, they took out a good Cardinal team and a puzzling Warrior team in successive weeks after dropping the opener to Lakeview and the Wildcats nearly clipped the Mohawks of Morley last week.
This week though they face a Coyote team that has thus far had their way on the field outscoring the opposition by over 100 points after three games.
The Vikes are at home which will help some but they will likely need to play error free, opportunistic football through four quarters if they are to sit atop the Gold standing alone after Friday.
Morley Stanwood at Holton
When Holton won last week it was the first time since 1999 the team has begun the season 3-0. That year they actually peeled off 6 wins in a row, the 6th being against the Mohawks and propelling the Devils to the conference (WWAC Central) crown and a playoff berth.
The last time they beat MS the Holton seniors were in middle school.
Ok , so much for history.
This year the Mohawks are relying heavily on a rugged defense that has held opponents in check while their offense has scored enough to win 2 of 3.
I like the Red Devils chances here. They have some playmakers and are ready exorcise a few old demons, break the losing streak to the ‘Hawks and nudge themselves closer to punching a playoff ticket for the first time in over a decade.
Hesperia at White Cloud
Something’s gotta give here. Both teams are looking to get off the schneid and grab that elusive first win. Neither teams are rife with numbers and we’re entering the mid season when another injury or two could take a major toll on teams that are thin to begin with.
The game is in the Cloud which will help the Indians but they have only scored 16 points in 3 games. The Panthers have put up just 26 in their trio of matchups but the defense of the Cloud is not the caliber of the Hesperia ‘D’. This one will likely be decided by who can finish with the least turnovers something that has plagued both squads.
Other CSAA games
Kent City at Lakeview
Lakeview is 1-2 but those losses were against a powerhouse Lake City squad and a 2 point loss to Morley on the road. They also have a win against what has been proven to be a very good Tri County team.
But they’re playing Kent City a really really good team and a lot would have to go their way at home to have a shot at breaking the Eagles 16 game regular season winning streak.
That last loss in September of 2016?