By Steve Gunn
It’s still very early in the high school football season, but fans throughout the area are already buzzing about the looming O-K Black Conference showdown between Muskegon and Mona Shores on the Sailors’ home field on Oct. 13.
Both teams were expected to be very good, and both are off to 2-0 starts against quality opposition.
This week Mona Shores will host an always good Rockford squad in an LSJ Spotlight live coverage game. Muskegon will kick off its conference season by hosting Fruitport in another.
The third LSJ Spotlight game is a key West Michigan Conference matchup between Ravenna and North Muskegon, with both teams hoping to keep pace with league powers Oakridge, Montague and Whitehall.
LSJ will also have full reports from 11 other games on Friday night, as well as Muskegon Heights’ home game with Detroit Community on Saturday.
Rockford (1-1) at Mona Shores (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Mona Shores’ 2017 schedule opened with three very tough non-conference games, and so far the Sailors have been very impressive.
They beat a good Canton squad 41-23 in Week 1 at the Big House in Ann Arbor, then followed up with a huge 42-20 victory over powerful Zeeland West last weekend on the road.
Mona Shores entered the fourth quarter against Zeeland West with a one-point lead, then blew away the Dux with three late touchdowns.
The Sailors again showed off their potent and diverse offense. Quarterback Tristan Robbins threw for 137 yards and one touchdown, Damari Roberson caught three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, running back Sincere Dent rushed for 115 yards (including 72 in the fourth quarter alone), and running back D’Anthony Davis gained 67 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Mona Shores will play its first home game on Friday against a Rockford team that has qualified for the state playoffs an amazing 22 years in a row, dating back to 1995. The Rams have had so-so-success in the first two weeks of the season, beating Saline 14-0 in their opener, then falling to Lowell last week by the same score.
Rockford beat the Sailors 37-23 last year. Mona Shores won in 2015 (31-10) and lost in 2014 (10-7).
Ravenna (1-1) at North Muskegon (1-1), Friday 7 p.m.
Talk about a challenging schedule to start the season!
North Muskegon opened 2017 with a come-from-behind, overtime 28-27 victory over Hesperia in Week 1, then dove into their West Michigan Conference schedule last week with a tough 42-14 loss to defending champion Oakridge.
Chandler Edwards had the best offensive performance for the Norse against Oakridge, rushing for 92 yards.
This week North Muskegon meets up with Ravenna, before hosting Montague next week. Those will be two critical games against two very good teams, before the schedule gets a little easier for the Norse.
Ravenna opened the season with a 41-20 loss to Kent City, but bounced back last week with a 62-0 win over Hart.
Bulldogs quarterback Cam Passenier scored four touchdowns (include one defensive TD) in the victory over Hart while running back Gary Johnson found the end zone twice.
Neither team can afford to lose very much ground in the tough West Michigan Conference race. With one league loss already, another defeat would probably destroy North Muskegon’s hopes of competing for the title.
Ravenna has dominated this series since 2000, winning 14 of the last 17 matchups, including last year’s 28-20 victory. North Muskegon last beat Ravenna in 2013 by a 29-27 score.
Fruitport (1-1) at Muskegon (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
The Big Reds (2-0) demonstrated their immense potential with two big wins over quality opponents Ann
Arbor Pioneer and Stevenson (Illinois) in the first two weeks.
Quarterback La’darius Jefferson led the way in the 28-7 victory over Stevenson last Saturday by rushing for 218 yards.
Muskegon will kick off its defense of its O-K Black Conference championship against Fruitport at home on Friday night. The Big Reds dominated this game last season – Fruitport’s first in the conference – with a 63-7 victory on the Trojans’ home field.
Fruitport (1-1) got off to a rough start in Week 1 with a loss to Coopersville, then bounced back with a big 21-0 victory over Spring Lake in the Battle of the Bayou last weekend. Sophomore running back Dominic Colegrove had a breakout game by rushing for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Other Week 3 games
Fremont (0-2) at Reed City (1-1)
Grandville (1-1) at Grand Haven (0-2)
Whitehall (1-1) at Hart (0-2)
Morley-Stanwood (2-0) at Hesperia (0-2)
Kent City (2-0) at Holton (1-1)
Ludington (2-0) at Manistee (0-2)
Montague (2-0) at Mason County Central (0-2)
Orchard View (0-2) at Muskegon Catholic (1-0)
Shelby (0-2) at Oakridge (2-0)
Reeths-Puffer (2-0) at GR Union (0-2)
Spring Lake (0-2) at Sparta (2-0)
Detroit Community (1-1) at Muskegon Heights (0-2)