By Jim Moyes
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Local Sports Journal

Just when I was about to truly believe I have become a ‘gifted’ predictor of local high school football games, I got a real slap in the face with my mediocre record from week 4.  If I don’t show a vast improvement with this week’s picks, I can promise our readers that I am going to hop on a plane and head back to my ole stomping grounds and get this problem fixed.

l Grand Haven at East Kentwood:  The Bucs finally get a breather after their 1-3 start against four really tough opponents.  Kentwood may be great in track but Grand Haven is better in football.

w Mona Shores at Muskegon:  Sailor stadium will be absolutely rocking on Friday night like perhaps never before in their less than successful football history.  Unlike my MSU Sparties, the Sailors and Big Reds obviously have no quarterback problems.  Muskegon has traditionally had huge letdowns after a loss —- but the Big Reds will reverse that trend Friday night.  Muskegon wins in a thrilling shootout 70-69.

w Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills at Reeths Puffer:  The Rockets have some potential bumps in the road during the second half of the season, but not tonight.  I see another good old fashion grind-it-out win for RP.

l Grant at Fremont:  What a difference a year makes for the Grant Tigers, from a playoff team to winless in 2014.  Grant has played a much tougher schedule to begin the season and I see the Tigers getting victory number one against the Packers.

w Ludington at Fruitport:  The Orioles had their bubble burst by Cheboygan last week and it doesn’t look too promising as well this week for the visitors from Mason Co.  The Trojans have won 21 straight over Ludington as the streak continues.

w Spring Lake at Orchard View:  The Lakers move one step closer to a playoff berth against a Cardinal team who should not be in a good mood after suffering a 49-0 beat down last year against Spring Lake.  The Cardinals make the final score much closer, but the Lakers improve to 4-1.

w Shelby at Hart:  It has always been a mystery to me why these two teams in close proximity, as well as size in enrollment, has seen Shelby maintain a far superior overall athletic program over the last several years than their Oceana County neighbors. Shelby Coach Rodriguez will be able to rest his starters in the second half to keep his team fresh for next week’s ‘biggie’ against Oakridge.

w North Muskegon at Mason County Central: The Norse cannot have a letdown against the Spartans if they hope to make this year’s playoffs.  I’m still upset with Mason Co Central, back when they were Scottville High School, for scoring a meaningless late second half touchdown against my Norsemen back in 1942, ending NM’s still standing state record of 15 straight games holding their opponents scoreless. The Norse win this one for Moe Sikkenga, Don Bowen, Frank Sodini and the boys from ‘42’.

w Whitehall at Montague:  Seldom has there been too many blowouts in this series that has seen these two cross lake rivals play more than 100 games against each other over the years.  This game will be decided, just like many of those old time battles, in the trenches.  The bell will stay another year on the north side of White Lake in Montague.

w Ravenna at Oakridge: Many times in the recent past the winner of this game would be your WMC champ.  The Bulldogs pulled off a shocker two years ago when they upset the heavily favored Eagles — but, no shocker this season as Oakridge defeats Ravenna to set up what should be the WMC championship game next week with Shelby.

w Newaygo at Hesperia: Hesperia fans are ecstatic to see their Panthers 4-0 at this juncture of the season.  Only the most rabid of Panther fans could tell you that the first-ever loss in their school’s football history was to Newaygo on almost this same exact date in 1948, 60-0.  65 years later Newaygo again makes Hesperia fans suffer with a narrow victory.

w Holton at Central Montcalm:  A long season for the Red Devils becomes even longer after their game with Montcalm.

w Muskegon Catholic Central at Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian:  I know its early but I just don’t see any team in the way of MCC making another trip to Ford Field.  If this was a basketball game I might have second thoughts, but in football, it’s no contest.  MCC rolls!

w Hill McCoy at Muskegon Height Academy: When did football proud Montrose become Hill McCoy?  When they were called Montrose they had some great years when coached by Tony Annese.  They may have changed their name but they still play winning football.

l Howard City Tri-County at Kent City:  These are the kind of matchups that drive this ‘ole announcer nuts, as to be perfectly honest with everybody, I know nothing about these two teams.  I cannot tell a lie:  I flipped a coin and its came up heads for Howard City.

w Brethren at Baldwin: Unless Brethren can bring back the Burns’ and the Beanes’ families from their glory days from the 1950s, when (Norman-Dickson) Brethren just dominated in track, Baldwin will have little trouble with the school that is the alma mater of movie star James Earl Jones.