By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
What an interesting first week it was in area high school football.
Hart, which hadn’t won a game in memory, came out of nowhere and thrashed an unsuspecting Manistee Catholic. Orchard View, which has struggled for several years, pulled out a win in the final seconds against traditional power Montague.
And then we had two state semifinalists from last season – Shelby and Oakridge – open with disappointing losses. There’s no shame in losing to Grand Rapids West Catholic (Oakridge was the victim), but I would never have guessed a Shelby loss to Grant.
Meanwhile, Muskegon and Mona Shores impressed everyone with very nice wins against state powers Detroit Catholic and Saline, respectively.
It just goes to show you that a lot of teams could beat a lot of teams on any given night this season, which will make watching fun but picking the winners perilous.
HART (1-0) AT NORTH MUSKEGON (1-0) – Both teams were impressive in Week 1, with North Muskegon’s running tandem of Vernonell Smith and Logan Waller making life difficult for Holton. Young Brady Tate had a huge rushing game for Hart, which beat up on Manistee Catholic. We’re happy for the Pirates, who were winless last year, but the edge goes to the Norse.
GR CHRISTIAN (1-0) AT MUSKEGON (1-0) – Any doubts about the Big Reds being elite once again were erased in Friday’s impressive win over Detroit Catholic, an outcome which got a big headline in the Detroit Free Press. Muskegon improves to 2-0.
REETHS-PUFFER (1-0) AT FREMONT (1-0) – The Rockets’ young skill players looked very good last week, and receiver/cornerback DeAndre Oakes-Owens looks like he’s headed for a terrific season. But Fremont is an up-and-coming program, and the Packers have a swagger about them that makes you think upset. Puffer gets the W, but it could be interesting.
FRUITPORT (0-1) AT MONA SHORES (1-0) – Fruitport coach Greg Vargas is right – the best way to neutralize Mona Shores’ explosive offense is to keep Jackson, Moffett and company off the field. The Trojans will try to grind out the yards and control the time of possession, but in the end the Sailors will prevail.
MONTAGUE (0-1)AT OAKRIDGE (0-1) – Most years this would be the game of the week, between two traditional West Michigan Conference powers. But both teams started with losses last week and have a lot of work to do. Montague showed a bit more offensive flair last week, so I’ll take the Cats in a close one.
SHELBY (0-1) AT WHITEHALL (1-0) – Last year this one was an easy call. But it’s not so simple this season. West Michigan Conference champion Shelby was upset by Grant last week, while Whitehall, a one-win team in 2013, showed a lot of firepower in a whipping of Kelloggsville. This could be a good game, but Shelby will come out on top.
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS (0-1) AT MUSKEGON CATHOLIC (1-0) – The Crusaders did our state proud by going down to Columbus last weekend and beating one of the better small school teams in Ohio. MCC’s only problem could be relaxing a bit and looking past the speedy Tigers. But I don’t think coach Steve Czerwon will let that happen.
GRAND HAVEN (1-0) AT EAST LANSING (0-1) – The Bucs played tough and gutted out a late victory over a good Fruitport team last weekend, so I figure they will do the same in their second straight road game. Besides, there are no good football teams in East Lansing, are there?
RAVENNA (1-0) AT MASON COUNTY CENTRAL (0-1) – I knew the Bulldogs were going to be good, and they gave us a hint of just how good by putting up 62 points on Kent City, a team they lost to last year. Mason County Central is the next victim.
ORCHARD VIEW (1-0) AT MANISTEE (1-0) – There were hugs and tears in Cardinal land last week, after the home team beat Montague and put behind the memory of two ugly seasons. Orchard View gets win number 2.
SPRING LAKE (1-0) AT HOLLAND (0-1) – The Dutch actually looked decent at times against Reeths-Puffer last week, but they will be no match for Spring Lake in this Ottawa County neighborhood rivalry.
LUDINGTON (0-1) AT HESPERIA (0-1) – Hesperia lost to Newaygo 35-0 last week. Ludington lost to Manistee 29-7. Who wins this one? I’ll take the bigger school, just because it’s bigger.
HOLTON (0-1)AT EAU CLAIRE (1-0) – The host Beavers put up 48 points on Wyoming Lee last weekend, while Holton struggled at North Muskegon. The Red Devils have some weapons, but they will have to prove they can make talent equal victory.