By Mitchell Boatman
After two weeks of exciting, mostly non-conference, high school football action, it’s time for many area teams to move on to league play.
Local Sports Journal will be on hand for full coverage of three “Spotlight Games” featuring five area teams in their conference openers.
The upstart Grand Haven Buccaneers will host Hudsonville in an O-K Red contest, Mona Shores makes the short trip over to Reeths-Puffer for an O-K Black game, and Holton and Hesperia renew their always-intense rivalry in the CSAA opener for both teams.
LSJ will also have reports on 12 other games involving area teams on localsportsjournal.com. For the first time this season, all contests are scheduled for Friday night!
Hudsonville (2-0) at Grand Haven (2-0), Friday 7 p.m.
After struggling to a 1-8 record a season ago, the Bucs are off to a surprising 2-0 start following a 27-0 win over Reeths-Puffer and a 13-10 victory against Traverse City West.
The ground game has been a major force for Grand Haven, with Connor Worthington and Owen Krizan carrying the load. Worthington has 223 yards and one touchdown through two games, while Krizan has racked up 144 yards and three scores.
Quarterback Collin Takas is 9-for-17 for 190 yards and one touchdown through two contests.
Grand Haven has also dominated in the turnover department. The Bucs have yet to cough up the ball, but have generated seven takeaways defensively.
Will McWatters leads the Grand Haven defense with 14 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
The Bucs will face a tough test against a familiar foe. Hudsonville has won six straight meetings with Grand Haven, and 10 of 13 dating back to 2005.
Hudsonville opened the season with wins over Grand Ledge and Holt by scores of 27-7 and 30-14, respectively.
The Eagles have had a very balanced attack with six players finding the end zone and three recording passing touchdowns through two games.
Mona Shores (2-0) at Reeths-Puffer (1-1), Friday 7 p.m.
The all-time rivalry record between the Sailors and Rockets could not be any closer.
In 43 meetings, each team has 21 wins, with one tie thrown in for good measure. The Sailors won last year’s game 44-6 to bring the series even, and will try to take the all-time lead Friday night.
For the second year in a row, Mona Shores is off to a 2-0 start after a pair of non-conference wins. The Sailors beat East Kentwood 48-38 at GVSU to open the year, and dominated Bay City Central 35-0 in Week 2.
Running back Sincere Dent has been on a tear, with eight touchdowns in two games. He has rushed for 315 yards through two weeks, including more than 200 yards in Week 1.
Junior quarterback Caden Broersma is off to a great start as well, completing 20 of 24 passes for 423 yards and two touchdowns in the opening weeks.
Reeths-Puffer struggled in a 27-0 loss to Grand Haven to open the season, but exploded for 55 points in a 21-point win over Orchard View in Week 2.
The offensive breakout was led by quarterback Evan Moskwa, who accounted for seven touchdowns against OV. The senior threw for 383 yards and six touchdowns and added a score with his legs as well.
Carter Fulton caught 10 passes for 253 yards and three TDs while Daven Fox had five catches, 87 yards, three receiving touchdowns and a 94-yard kick-return touchdown.
Holton (2-0) at Hesperia (0-2), Friday 7 p.m.
The Holton football team is playing like it’s 1999.
For the first time since the turn of the century, the Red Devils are 2-0, opening the year with a 26-18 win over Hart and blasting Evart 46-7 in Week 2.
Aaron Herron found success on the ground in both games. The Red Devil running back racked up 118 yards and a touchdown against Hart and totaled 206 yards and three scores against Evart.
Quarterback Drew Trygstad is off to a good start as well, with 281 passing yards and three touchdowns through two games.
Hesperia will try to derail the success of its biggest rival, and get its season back on track. The Panthers are looking for their first win of 2018 and carry a 12-game losing streak into Week 3.
Hesperia fell 41-6 at North Muskegon to begin the year and lost 42-14 last week against LeRoy Pine River.
Quarterback Logam Balkema led the offense with 63 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and added another score last week. Owen Kowalski found the end zone last week for Hesperia as well.
The Panthers and Red Devils have played 61 games all-time, with Hesperia holding a 38-23 advantage. Holton won last year’s meeting 33-23, ending Hesperia’s modest two-year win streak.
Other Week 3 Games
Fremont (0-2) at Big Rapids (1-1)
Fruitport (0-2) at Jenison (1-1)
Hart (0-2) at Whitehall (2-0)
White Cloud (0-2) at Kent City (2-0)
Manistee (2-0) at Ludington (2-0)
Mason County Central (0-2) at Montague (1-1)
Muskegon (2-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-1)
Muskegon Catholic Central (1-1) at Orchard View (0-2)
Detroit Community (2-0) at Muskegon Heights (0-2)
North Muskegon (1-1) at Ravenna (1-1)
Oakridge (2-0) at Shelby (0-2)
Sparta (2-0) at Spring Lake (2-0)