Goorman’s Gridiron Picks: After all those ugly blowouts last Friday, this will be the week of the visitors

By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal

It’s always more fun when the Friday night football games are close and entertaining. That didn’t happen last Friday. It turned out to the week of the big, ugly blowouts.

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Where to begin? Whitehall stunned Shelby 33-0. Muskegon Catholic dismantled Muskegon Heights 70-28.

Reeths-Puffer trounced Fremont 40-3. Oakridge pounded Montague 44-0. Then there was Orchard View over Manistee (34-7), Mona Shores over Fruitport (48-7) and Ravenna over Mason County Central (41-14).

Such one-sided outcomes should have been easy to pick, right? Well, I have to admit I went a mediocre 9-4 last week, with some picks I felt good about coming back to haunt me.

My worst pick? Montague over Oakridge. We found out the Eagles aren’t the team they looked like two weeks ago against Grand Rapids West Catholic. My next to worst pick? Shelby over Whitehall.

It’s obvious now that Whitehall has some serious firepower and should be a contender in the West Michigan Conference.

This week’s schedule is kind of thin when it comes to great matchups, but there will be some interesting games that will definitely not be lopsided.

Whitehall and North Muskegon will meet in a clash of early undefeated teams in the West Michigan Conference. Spring Lake, which was upset by Holland, will begin defense of its Lakes Conference crown against a suddenly solid Orchard View squad.

In non-league action, Reeths-Puffer and Grand Haven will tangle in a battle of unbeatens. My biggest prediction is that I will do better than 9-4, even though just about all of my chosen winners will be on the road. Home field advantage is overrated, anyway. Right?

North Muskegon (2-0) at WHITEHALL (2-0)– This will be a doozy between two former West Michigan Conference also-rans that are suddenly flashing a lot of offensive firepower. The Norse have two great running backs. But Whitehall can hurt teams with four or five talented skill position players, on the ground or through the air. Whitehall by a nose.

REETHS-PUFFER (2-0) at Grand Haven (2-0) – The Bucs have strung together two nice wins and are definitely better than last year. But they are no match for the Rockets, even if star back Dereko Riley is still injured. Have you seen his substitute? Jordan Cooley rushed for 196 yards against Fremont last week. Reeths-Puffer wins with big plays.

ORCHARD VIEW (2-0) at Spring Lake (1-1) – Maybe the toughest call of the week. Spring Lake is loaded with talent, and coming off an upset loss to Holland will be eager to get back on the winning track. But Orchard View is playing with a great deal of confidence and passion. Call this the upset of the week – Orchard View 28, Spring Lake 24.

MONA SHORES (2-0) at Rockford (2-0) – The Rams are undefeated and have outscored their opponents 60-38. This will be THE test for the Sailors. Slowing down the high-powered Sailors is going to be a challenge for the Rams who haven’t had real challenged this season. The Sailors will rise up to the challenge.

MUSKEGON (2-0) at Grandville (2-0) – Same story as above. The Bulldogs are off to a nice start, but the Big Reds proved they could play sloppy ball (some fumble problems last Friday) and still beat a good team like Grand Rapids Christian. The Reds roll on.

FREMONT (1-1) at Fruitport (0-2) – The host Trojans are in a bit of a funk after a tough loss to Grand Haven and a thumping courtesy of Mona Shores. Fremont will be eager to put its Reeths-Puffer debacle behind it. Something tells me Fruitport starts 0-3, but will pick up some wins later in the season.

Ludington (1-1) at MUSKEGON CATHOLIC (2-0) – The Crusaders kick off their Lakes Conference era with a fairly easy win. Ludington showed spunk by coming from 19 points behind to beat Hesperia last week, but Hesperia is no MCC.

OAKRIDGE (1-1) at Hart (1-1) – The Pirates are improved this year, but not enough to beat an Oakridge team that has rediscovered its confidence. The talented but young Eagles will take another step toward maturity.

Montague (0-2) at RAVENNA (2-0) – Ravenna Coach David Smith said his Bulldogs beat Mason County Central last week while playing below their capabilities. We can only assume they will play better this week. That’s bad news for the struggling Wildcats.

SHELBY at Mason County Central – The Tigers had trouble holding on to the ball at Whitehall last week, and are shockingly winless after two games. Something tells me that Shelby, with the big boys on the line, will have a great week of practice and finally collect that first W.

HOLTON (1-1) at Lakeview (1-1) – I challenged the Red Devils to show me they could turn talent into victory last week, and they did just that at Eau Claire. I won’t challenge them again. This will be a good game – Lakeview put 45 points up on Houghton Lake in the opener – but I think Holton will grab a second win.

Kent City (0-2) at HESPERIA (0-2) – The Panthers were good enough to build a big lead over Ludington, before they blew it. I think Hesperia will keep getting better as the players grow more accustomed to new Coach Aaron Sims.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS (0-2) at Brethren (1-1) – Lost in the ugly score at Muskegon Catholic was the fact that Heights never quit and had some big plays of its own. The Tigers will win sooner or later, and I say sooner.

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