By Mitchell Boatman
The second week of the 2018 football season is almost here, meaning another two days of exciting action are right ahead of us.
The LSJ is highlighting three “Spotlight Games” area fans won’t want to miss, if possible.
The Muskegon Big Reds welcome fellow state powerhouse Detroit King, Muskegon Catholic Central hosts Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, and North Muskegon visits Oakridge in a classic West Michigan Conference battle.
Detroit King at Muskegon, Friday, 7 p.m.
Two state powers collide at Hackley Stadium, as the Big Reds (1-0) face the Crusaders (1-0) in another early season test. The teams have met four times, all Muskegon victories, with the last coming in 2009.
The Crusaders won back-to-back state titles in 2015 and 2016 before falling to Warren De La Salle in last year’s state semifinals.
Muskegon opened the season last week with an impressive win over De La Salle.
King opened its season with a 52-38 win over East St. Louis – the winningest program in Illinois history.
The Crusaders are making a habit of knocking off legendary programs. They beat Indiana’s winningest football program last season, and now have their sights set on the Big Reds, Michigan’s all-time winningest team.
Friday’s big game will be highlighted by two standout quarterbacks. Muskegon’s Cameron Martinez dazzled in his Hackley Stadium debut last week with 290 rushing yards and five scores.
For Detroit King, Central Michigan University commit Dequan Finn is a major playmaker. He ran for 283 yards, passed for 156 and totaled six touchdowns last week.
With both teams featuring high powered attacks, this one might come down to who has the ball last.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Muskegon Catholic Central, Friday, 7 p.m.
It just so happens that Martinez, the Big Red quarterback mentioned above, transferred away from Muskegon Catholic last year, and some people thought MCC might not be as good this year without him.
But the Crusaders (1-0) answered their doubters – including several of us here at LSJ – with a 35-7 season-opening victory at Algonac.
MCC fired on all cylinders in the win, succeeding on the run, through the air and defensively. The Crusaders ran for 164 yards, threw for 150 and allowed just 241 in the win over the Muskrats.
Dane Rutz had 113 total yards, Carson St. Armour ran for 57 yards and two scores and Max Price threw for 150 yards and a touchdown.
This will be the first ever meeting between MCC and Notre Dame Prep (1-0). The Crusaders may have an edge because they played last week, while Notre Dame Prep won by forfeit in Week 1.
The Fighting Irish finished last season 8-3 with a loss in the district round of the MHSAA playoffs.
North Muskegon at Oakridge, Thursday, 7 p.m.
The Norse and the Eagles will get the always-competitive West Michigan Conference schedule rolling with an early showdown.
The local rivalry has been a bit one-sided of late, as Oakridge has won 13 consecutive meetings, including two last season (once in the playoffs).
North Muskegon last beat the Eagles in the 2006 state playoffs, but might have the firepower to end the streak this year.
The Norse showed off their big play ability last week against Hesperia in a 41-6 season-opening win. Chandler Edwards ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns – on just four carries.
Edwards, McKenzie and Jesse Cooke are all weapons for quarterback Mack Young, who threw for 100 yards on six completions in Week 1.
But Oakridge has plenty of talent of its own. The Eagles opened their quest for a 14th consecutive playoff appearance by dominating Chippewa Hills 55-8 in Week 1.
Leroy Quinn led the attack with 212 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Koleman Wall threw for three scores, including two to Jackson Fri.
Other Week 2 games
Reed City at Fremont
Spring Lake at Fruitport
Traverse City West at Grand Haven
Ravenna at Hart
Hesperia at LeRoy Pine River
Holton at Evart
Ludington at Vermontville Maple Valley
Mason County Central at Whitehall
Bay City Central at Mona Shores
Shelby at Montague
Muskegon Heights vs Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (at Hope College)
Reeths-Puffer at Orchard View
Kent City at Beal City