By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal

Is your favorite high school football team languishing with only two or three wins heading into Friday’s games?

Does that tempt you to perhaps stay home this week and avoid the miserable weather that’s forecasted?JG gridiron picks logo

Don’t do it, because you could miss some of the best football of the year.

Desperation often creates positive results, and any number of area high school teams are in danger of missing their chance for six wins and a postseason playoff berth.

Those teams include Fruitport (2-3), Spring Lake (3-2), Grand Haven (3-2), Reeths-Puffer (2-3), Mason County Central (2-3), Holton (2-3), Shelby (2-3), Muskegon Heights (2-3) and North Muskegon (3-2).

The two-win teams must win Friday – and their last three games – to reach six wins. For some that road will be particularly difficult. A good example is Reeths-Puffer, which would also have to beat Muskegon and Mona Shores in coming weeks.

But stranger things have happened.

You can believe the coaches of all these teams have been telling their players all week that it’s do-or-die on Friday night. As Fruitport Coach Greg Vargas told Local Sports Journal, “Every week (from this point on) is a playoff week.”

That’s why I’m picking Fruitport to beat 4-1 Orchard View. That’s why I believe Grand Haven will find a way to down Hudsonville. That’s why I think Mason County Central will exit Montague with a win, despite the Wildcats’ strong desire to notch their first victory.

These teams are fighting to keep their dreams alive, and pity the opponents that get in their way.

Meanwhile, pity the fools who say I can’t pick football winners. Last week’s 12-1 mark demonstrates the fact that my crystal ball is polished and clear, and you can take my predictions to the bank.

Well, most of them, anyway. Reeths-Puffer spoiled my otherwise perfect week by dropping a wild game to Zeeland East. The Rockets have burned me three weeks in a row, but I doubt they will let me down Friday against woeful Grand Rapids Union.

Right, Rockets?

In any case, there is bound to be some tough and determined football played at stadiums throughout the area Friday, because nobody wants to be left out of the playoff dance.

So get out the rain gear, put on an extra layer of clothes, and enjoy the action!

FRUITPORT (2-3) at Orchard View (4-1) – Orchard View has had a great turnaround season, but Fruitport has won four straight in this series, and blew out O-V last year. Plus the Trojans are playing for survival, because another loss could very well kill their playoff hopes. I say it will be a great game, but Fruitport wins by a nose.

North Muskegon at RAVENNA (4-1) – The host Bulldogs had their winning streak ruined by their archrivals from Oakridge last week, and they’re going to be in a foul mood. North Muskegon is a good football team, but you know what they say about messing with angry Dogs.

MUSKEGON (5-0) at Kenowa Hills (2-3) – The Knights looked respectable in a loss to Mona Shores last week. They might put up a bit of a fight against the Big Reds, too, but the result will be the same.

Hudsonville (3-2) at GRAND HAVEN (3-2) – The Bucs took it on the chin from powerful Lowell last week. Now they’re playing a team of mortals and will regain their winning ways.

MONA SHORES (4-1) at Zeeland East (1-4) – The potent Mona Shores offense sputtered in the second half of an uninspiring win against Kenowa Hills last week. I’ll bet the players paid the price with an extra hard week of practice. That should result in a lot of points for the Sailors and another loss for the Chix.

REETHS-PUFFER (2-3) at Grand Rapids Union (0-5) – Union is exactly what the Rockets need to break a frustrating three-game losing streak.

MUSKEGON CATHOLIC (5-0) at Fremont (1-4) – The Crusaders have been plowing over every Lakes 8 opponent they face, and that includes the better teams like Spring Lake and Fruitport. Fremont is not one of the better teams. Ouch.

Morley-Stanwood (2-3) at HOLTON (2-3) – The Red Devils remain in the hunt for a CSAA small division title, and they won’t let that slip away tonight against the Mohawks.

Ludington (1-4) at SPRING LAKE (3-2) – The Lakers are focused on getting the three wins they need to validate their playoff ticket, and the Orioles are no threat to stop them.

MASON COUNTY CENTRAL (2-3) at Montague (0-5) – There’s no doubt Montague is going to get a win one of these weeks, but the Spartans played North Muskegon down to the wire last Friday, and may be a bit much for the Wildcats this year. But I won’t be stunned – and will gladly admit I was wrong – if Coach Collins’ crew finally puts it all together.

OAKRIDGE (4-1) at Shelby (2-3) – Shelby is improving after a horrible start, and this one could be better than people expect. But Oakridge beat a very strong Ravenna team with relative ease last week, so the Eagles won’t be derailed by the Tigers.

Hart (1-4) at WHITEHALL (5-0) – The amazing Vikings will keep rolling toward their league showdown with Oakridge.

HESPERIA (0-5) at White Cloud (1-4) – The Lions are upset about being winless, and really unhappy about losing to neighboring Holton last week. These two teams will exit the field with identical records.

Bay City John Glenn (3-2) at Muskegon Heights (2-3) – The Tigers are starting to find their legs and get some wins. That trend will continue in only their second home game of the season.