By Jim Moyes
Local Sports Journal

Although the temperatures continue to tumble, the action on the field is heating up as our area playoff teams head into Week 2.

Except for Spring Lake losing by a gutsy two point conversion to Belding, everything else held pretty much held true to form as four of our area squads keep their hopes of advancing to Ford Field alive.

To virtually no one’s surprise Muskegon and Lowell will once again square off with the victor being odds-on favorites to make another long run. The winner of this game has gone on to play for a state title in six out of the last seven years.

Read on to see how many teams the ‘ole’ announcer likes to stay alive in the title race:

Division 2:

Muskegon at Lowell:  The Big Reds have demonstrated that they can win in Lowell by virtue of their 45-35 thrilling victory back in 2006. It was the Muskegon duo of Johnson and Leggett who led the Big Reds to victory in that epic contest.  Can this year’s T&T duo of Thrower and Thomas do the same?

I have a suspicion that the Red Arrows played their best game of the season in their early-season victory over the Big Reds. On the other hand, the Big Reds were less than at their best in that 31-20 defeat but have improved a great deal in the ensuing weeks.

Division 5:

Oakridge at Reed City:  This will only be the 3rd game on the gridiron for these two squads, meeting in 2006 and 2007, with the Eagles outscoring the Coyotes by a combined 77-6 in the two previous encounters.

A few local West Michigan Conference old-timers may recall that Reed City was actually a member of the WMC from 1956 thru 1964. Two years later, in their second year as a four-year school, the Eagles would join this elite conference.

Although Reed City has mounted an undefeated season, their playoff history pales in comparison to what Oakridge has accomplished over the years.  The Coyotes have never won two playoff games in the same season and I don’t see that changing this year as well.

Division 6:

Grandville Calvin Christian at Shelby: Shelby faces another team with very little postseason tradition.  The Squires won their first-ever playoff victory in their school’s history when they nipped Grand Rapids North Point Christian last week, making amends for an earlier setback to NP Christian from week 3.

If one is a believer in comparing scores with common opponents, then Shelby has to like its chances in this district final. The Squires were soundly defeated in their season opener to North Muskegon 39-21, while the Tigers thumped the Norse 38-14 just a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll stick with my prediction that Shelby’s toughest opponent they will meet in the playoffs on their way to Ford Field was last week’s foe Montague.

Division 8:

Fowler at Muskegon Catholic:  If Fowler thought it was tough to score on MCC last year, it should prove even twice as difficult when these same two Div. 8 district finalists meet once again.  Coach Czerwon can only hope his team is not looking ahead to the following week’s likely battle with perennial power Mendon, a team that walloped Fowler 40-0 in their season opener.

This Crusader team seemingly gets stronger each week with their GPS honed in directly to Ford Field.

Now, let’s hope these picks hold true and we can do this once again next week.