By Jason Goorman
Only a missed field goal in the closing seconds kept the contest from going to overtime.
That means the Sailors will probably clinch the O-K Black Conference title this Friday while Muskegon will settle for second.
And of course both teams will be in the playoffs, where they will each have brand new life.
Last year we were fortunate to have Mona Shores in Division 2 in the playoffs and Muskegon fall to Division 3, based on school enrollment and various other factors.
That turned out to be a lot of fun, with both teams making it all the way to the state finals at Ford Field.
But now we’re hearing through various sources that Muskegon could be back in Division 2, which means the Big Reds and Sailors would be in the same four-team district and could play each other in the first or second round.
On the one hand, it would surely be an incredible rematch. But on the other, one of our best teams would experience an early exit from the playoffs.
Oh well. There’s no point in chewing our nails about it. We won’t know anything for sure until Sunday night’s Michigan High School Athletic Association playoff selection show at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Detroit.
Local Sports Journal will be watching the pairings closely and will publish a story on Sunday night, following the telecast.
In the meantime there are still some interesting issues to be settled on the field in Week 9.
Two West Michigan Conference teams are battling down to the wire to get into the playoffs.
Whitehall, a playoff team last year, probably needs a win over Grant on Friday to sneak into the postseason again.
Mason County Central can gain a playoff spot with a victory over Ludington in a neighborhood rivalry.
If they both get in, they will join Mona Shores, Muskegon, Muskegon Catholic, Montague, Oakridge and Hesperia in the postseason.
Mona Shores will be playing for the first perfect 9-0 regular season in school history on Friday at Kenowa Hills. Hesperia will be playing for its first 9-0 season since 1986, at home against North Muskegon.
So let’s get through Week 9, then let the playoffs begin!
MONA SHORES (8-0) at GR Kenowa Hills (4-4) – The Sailors won’t have to worry about the Big Reds again for at least a few weeks. On Friday they clinch the O-K Black trophy and their first perfect season.
MUSKEGON (6-2) at GR Union (1-7) – The Big Reds fell three points short in their comeback try against Mona Shores. Who do you suppose is going to take the brunt of their frustration?
Holland West Ottawa (2-6) at GRAND HAVEN (2-6) – A tough year in Grand Haven ends on a winning note.
Reeths-Puffer (3-5) at ZEELAND EAST (5-3) – I hope a tough year at Reeths-Puffer ends on a winning note, but the way things have been going, I just can’t bring myself to predict it.
MONTAGUE (8-0) at Fremont (0-8) – Nothing against Fremont, which is having a tough year, but this will be a good chance for the Wildcats to get their reserves some valuable game experience before the playoffs.
DEWITT (7-1) at Fruitport (4-4) – I went with the Trojans last week against St. John’s and they just didn’t have enough gas in the tank. I hear DeWitt is really, really good.
SPRING LAKE (2-6) at Shelby (0-8) – These are two proud programs going through a rough stretch. It’s hard to imagine Shelby going winless, but I’m thinking that’s going to happen.
OAKRIDGE (6-2) at Orchard View (3-5) – The Eagles lost their league title to Montague last weekend in a thriller. They have no intention of going into the playoffs with three losses.
Ravenna (3-5) at MUSKEGON CATHOLIC (5-2) – The Crusaders will be eager to right the ship after a tough loss to Country Day, while the Bulldogs have been in a tailspin. The defending state champs get back on the winning track.
North Muskegon (3-5) at HESPERIA (8-0) – This is a way better matchup than the records indicate. The Norse have five losses, but play some great teams in the West Michigan Conference. I’ll take the Panthers in a close one, but I’ll bet this game will prove to be well worth the price of a ticket.
HOLTON (3-5) at Wyoming Lee (0-8) – The Red Devils will leave their diehard fans with a smile until next year.
WHITEHALL (5-3) at Grant (3-5) – Whitehall is too good to miss the playoffs. Grant will not be a spoiler.
MASON COUNTY CENTRAL (5-3) at Ludington (3-5) – Ludington can score, but the Spartans have picked up the playoff scent and will win the Battle of Mason County with relative ease.
Muskegon Heights (2-5) at MELVINDALE AB&T (5-3) – Muskegon Heights has had an unusually challenging season, and if there were any justice in the world the Tigers would close with a victory. But with five wins, this group from Melvindale will be playing for their playoff lives. That won’t work in the Tigers’ favor.