By Mitchell Boatman
The West Michigan Conference has always been one of the more competitive football conferences in the Muskegon area. This year has been no different and the conference title comes down to one game: Montague at Oakridge.
The Wildcats and Eagles both enter at 5-0 in conference play and the winner clinches at least a tie a top the conference standings. This key WMC showdown highlights the Local Sports Journal “Spotlight Games” for Week 7.
Other key games in the area include Reeths-Puffer at Fruitport in an O-K Black rivalry and Holton at Kent City with the CSAA Silver crown on the line.
LSJ will have full coverage of these games, along with reports on 12 other area games Friday night at localsportsjournal.com.
Montague (5-1) at Oakridge (6-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Montague and Oakridge have been two of the most successful programs in the Greater Muskegon area in recent years. The Wildcats have been to the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 seasons, while the Eagles have made 22 appearances in 23 years.
It’s only fitting that the WMC title comes down to these two powerhouses. With both teams at 5-0 and just one game remaining after this week, the winner of Friday’s game clinches at least a tie in the conference.
Montague finishes the conference season with Ravenna (3-3), while Oakridge will wrap up with Hart (2-4).
The Eagles and Wildcats are no strangers on the football field. They’ve played every season since Oakridge’s first football campaign and once in the postseason. The Eagles lead the all-time series 34-20, although Montague dominated last year’s game 40-0.
Oakridge will look to avenge that blowout loss by returning the favor. The Eagles haven’t been challenged on the scoreboard this year, dominating opponents 338-67. Their closest game was a 61-27 win over North Muskegon in Week 2.
The offense is lead by running back Leroy Quinn, who has rushed for 1,119 yards and 19 touchdowns already this season. Koleman Wall has thrown for 516 yards and 10 scores as well.
The stingy defense has been led by Blake Masterman’s 40 tackles and Brandon Wilde, who has 38 stops and six sacks.
Since an opening week loss to Reed City, Montague has been untouchable. The Wildcats have averaged 58 points in five wins and only allowed 5.6 points per contest in that time.
Bryce Stark leads the Wildcat offense with 542 rushing yards and 12 scores. Drew Collins has thrown for 719 yards and eight touchdowns, most of that to Kenyan Johnston, who has 413 yards and five scores.
Brennan Schwarz leads the defense with 46 tackles, while Nick Steever leads with five sacks.
Reeths-Puffer (3-3) at Fruitport (1-5), Friday 7 p.m.
The Rockets and Trojans have played each other more times than they’ve played any other opponents. This will be the 52nd meeting all-time in the rivalry, which dates back to 1964.
Fruitport has won five of the last seven meetings, but Reeths-Puffer came out on top 21-7 last season. The records might make people think the game will be lopsided, but records never seem to matter in this matchup, as neither team has won by more than 21 points since 2002.
Reeths-Puffer has won two straight and need to win out to reach six wins and an automatic playoff berth.
The Rockets score nearly 40 points per game and are led by big-armed quarterback Evan Mowska. The senior has thrown for 1,299 yards and 17 touchdowns through six games to lead R-P.
Carter Fulton is the top receiver with 683 yards and ten scores, while slot receiver Daven Fox has 376 receiving yards, 278 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Fruitport comes in off a painful 38-36 loss to Kenowa Hills. The Trojans led at the half, but couldn’t finish the deal.
Jakob Carlisle led Fruitport with three passing touchdowns, two of which went to Crue Cooper. Cole Hoffman, Ethan Flores and Jerod Avery each scored for the Trojans as well.
Fruitport will look to build on the positives from last week’s game and play spoiler against their biggest rivals on Friday night.
Holton (5-1) at Kent City (6-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Kent City has won at least a share of the CSAA Silver title each of the last two years. The Eagles have a least a share of the title wrapped up this year, and can lock up an undefeated conference slate against Holton on Friday.
The Red Devils are looking to draw even with the Eagles and grab a share of the conference title for the first time since joining the CSAA Silver Division in 2014.
Holton has won back-to-back games after suffering its lone loss in Week 4 against Morley-Stanwood. The Red Devils have scored 199 points, their highest since 2015 – and there’s still three games left.
Aaron Herron leads the offense with 899 yards and 12 touchdown, while Derek Pouch has 415 yards and four scores. Drew Trygstad has thrown for 470 yards and five scores.
Kent City’s offense revolves around Gio Weeks. The standout running back has 1,001 yards and 17 scores this season. He’s carried the ball just 81 times, averaging out to 12.4 yards per carry.
The Eagles have won 19-straight regular season games and 21 of their last 23 including the playoffs.
Other Week 7 games
Fremont (1-5) at Howard City Tri-County (2-4)
Grand Haven (2-4) at Caledonia (1-5)
Hart (2-4) at North Muskegon (3-3)
Hesperia (1-5) at Morley-Stanwood (4-2)
Ludington (4-2) at Wyoming Lee (1-5)
Ravenna (3-3) at Mason County Central (0-6)
Mona Shores (6-0) at Jenison (4-2)
Muskegon (6-0) at GR Union (0-6)
Muskegon Catholic Central (3-3) at Manistee (6-0)
Muskegon Heights (0-6) at Orchard View (1-5)
Shelby (0-6) at Whitehall (4-2)
Spring Lake (5-1) at GR Catholic Central (5-1)