By Jim Moyes
Local Sports Journal
How I wish I were back in the Port City this week to see who wins the big game Friday night at Mona Shores. There appears to be a number of area teams that are playoff bound this year, creating some interesting district clashes in a couple of weeks.
Other games of more than passing interest would include Fruitport taking on a vastly underrated Crusader team. Will Muskegon avenge their startling upset at season’s end a year ago to Zeeland East? And finally, does North Muskegon have enough firepower to deprive Shelby of their first outright WMC title in 36 years?
w Grand Haven at Rockford: Just when you think the schedule can’t get any tougher for the Bucs — it does. Rockford’s only blemish on the season came at Muskegon when the Rams inexplicably laid an egg. The Buc’s woes continue.
l Reeths-Puffer at Mona Shores: All of those who thought these squads, who during recent times have been tabbed as perennial doormats, would be 6-1 at this date in the season please raise your hand. It will be the Sailors passing attack against the Rockets running game in a contest nearly impossible to predict a winner. These two locals may meet again in the playoffs. The home field advantage gives a very slight edge to the Sailors.
w Zeeland East at Muskegon: No way does East want to see another Muskegon team after dropping their last two games to Reeths Puffer and Mona Shores. Toss in Muskegon’s incentive to avenge last year’s upset loss to East, as well a chance to play for a conference championship next week, tilts the field in Muskegon’s favor.
l Fremont at Ludington: Unless the Packers can bring back a youthful Carl DeKuiper, my all-time favorite Packer athlete from the late 1950s, Ludington should have enough firepower to just nip Fremont in a game that I rate as a toss-up.
w Muskegon Catholic at Fruitport: The Trojans, with their new ‘chuck & duck offense’ a phrase coined by legendary Crusader assistant Mike Ribecky, have averaged nearly 50 points per game over their last four contests. Meanwhile, the normally conservative Crusader offense is averaging nearly 60 points over this same span. The winner is playoff bound and I like the Crusaders in what should be a dandy of a game.
w Grant at Orchard View: I must confess I have no idea who has the incentive to win this game. The Cardinal’s only victory was against Tri-County, a team that won their first game since 2010 last week against Grant. Using my Moyes logic, the Cardinals win. Right?
w Howard City Tri County at Spring Lake: I can’t wait for next week’s battle between Shelby, who has clinched at least a share of the West Michigan Conference title, and the Lakers, who first must take care of business and dispose of the ‘hot’ Vikings, coming off their first win after 25 straight defeats.
w Hart at Montague: Montague rolls into the playoffs for the 13th straight year against the winless Pirates. The Cats are playing their best ball of the season and Coach Collins will take it easy on a Pirate coaching staff that is headed by former Montague star Steve Hlady.
w Mason Co. Central at Oakridge: Oakridge will become big Norseman fans this week in their faint hopes of garnering a share of the WMC title with Shelby. The Eagles will do their share and roll over the Spartans.
w North Muskegon at Shelby: My unabashed bias sure showed last week when I picked my alma mater to defeat the Cats. I won’t make that same mistake this week as Shelby holds off the young Norse team to win their first outright WMC title since 1977.
w Ravenna at Whitehall: These are two teams are headed in opposite directions. Although the Bulldogs have lost their last three games to very tough opponents, Whitehall seems to be grasping for air this year. The Bulldogs win and give this young team some momentum to carry over into next season.
w Remus Chippewa Hills at Hesperia: After a nice start to the season, the Panthers are sputtering and need to win their final two games to qualify for the playoffs. I think Remus wins and Hesperia can begin wrestling practice early.
l Morley Stanwood at Holton: The Red Devils are giving up an average of about 42 points a game. That won’t do against Morley.
w Big Rapids at Newaygo: The Lions use Big Rapids as a tune up for the upcoming playoffs. Newaygo is headed for an 8-1 season.
w Muskegon Heights Academy at Melvindale Academy for Business and Technology: If this were a basketball game there would be a lot more interest. I picked the Tigers to pull off the upset last week against Manistee. No upset here as Melvindale wins.
w Kent City at Godwin: I can remember when they first built Godwin’s spacious 3,000-seat gymnasium back in 1960. Kent City has a nice gym too, but Godwin’s is bigger. Does this make any sense for why I am picking Godwin to win?
w Traverse City Christian at Baldwin: I pick this final game as the easiest pick of the lot. Anybody that loses by 83 points to Blanchard Montabella and gives up 70 points to Brethren, a team Baldwin trashed by five touchdowns, has about as much chance of winning this game as Cumberland Gap had against Georgia Tech. (222-0)