By Mitchell Boatman
The week featured several area powerhouses flexing their muscles with big wins, including Muskegon, Montague and Mona Shores. A few programs that have struggled in recent years also started out on the right foot, with Fruitport, Hart and Muskegon Heights claiming victories.
And don’t forget the weather. Mother Nature came out victorious in several Thursday openers, delaying most games – and postponing several until Friday – with heavy lightning storms.
If Week 1 was any indication, we’re in for a heck of a prep football season. It all continues this Friday night, when LocalSportsJournal.com will be on hand for three area matchups: Fruitport at Spring Lake, Grand Rapids South Christian at Reeths-Puffer and Ravenna at North Muskegon.
These three games, along with a state title game rematch between Muskegon and Detroit King in the Motor City, are this week’s LSJ Spotlight Games.
Keep an eye out for full reports on these games and all others in the Muskegon area on Friday night at LocalSportsJournal.com.
Fruitport at Spring Lake, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Trojans and Lakers square off in their annual neighborhood brawl, aka the Battle of the Bayou, on Friday night.
These two programs have long been rivals, due to their close proximity, and the fact that they have been members of the same conference three different times – in the old Seaway Conference, the WWAC West and most recently the Lakes 8.
They might not be conference opponents any more, but the rivalry has remained intact, with 2019 being the 20th consecutive season of the matchup. Dating back to 1962, Fruitport leads the series 30-21.
The Trojans come into Week 2 having already matched their win total from 2018. Fruitport battled for a 40-33 win over Forest Hills Eastern last week to start the year strong. Ethan Flores starred for the Trojans, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 125 yards. Quarterback Tyler Zimmerman tossed for 93 yards and a pair of TDs, both to Flores.
Spring Lake comes off an opening-week loss to Orchard View, 22-17. The Lakers got out to an early 3-0 lead, but trailed 16-3 at the half and struggled to move the ball most of the game.
Zach Keyser and Zach Mitchell both saw time at quarterback for the Lakers, and each led a touchdown drive. Keyser started and totaled 65 rushing yards and a touchdown. Mitchell orchestrated a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, rushed for 108 yards and passed for one score.
GR South Christian at Reeths-Puffer, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Rockets were surprisingly held off the scoreboard by Grand Haven for the second straight year in the season opener, losing 24-0 last week.
Despite the outcome, R-P has some promising performances against Grand Haven. Quarterback Evan Mowska threw for 173 yards and Daven Fox hauled in four catches for 73 yards.
That could be a good sign for the Rockets. Mowska and company put up big numbers after last year’s opening-game shutout loss, scoring at least 28 points in each of the next seven games.
The Rockets will look to rebound against first-time opponent Grand Rapids South Christian. The Sailors come in 1-0 after a 35-0 shutout of Greenville. Reeths-Puffer topped Greenville 52-16 last season.
With games against conference and state powers Muskegon and Mona Shores still on the schedule, every game is vital to the Rockets’ playoff hopes.
Ravenna at North Muskegon, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs and Norseman kick off West Michigan Conference play on Friday, and it should be a good one.
Both teams feature powerful offenses that could make it a long night for stat-keepers and scoreboard operators. Last year’s game was a 53-26 win for Ravenna. Dating back to 1950, North Muskegon holds a slight 29-27 edge in the series.
The Norse come in fresh off a 56-12 victory over Hesperia. Seven different players scored touchdowns for North Muskegon, including two punt return touchdowns. Stephan Smith ran for 93 yards and a score. John Hayhurst threw for 60 yards and a touchdown, and ran in a score as well. Collin Schotts rushed for 56 yards and scored twice, including once on a punt return.
The Norse averaged 11 yards per play in the win.
Ravenna comes in at 0-1 following a tough Week 1 loss to Hopkins, 22-20. The Bulldogs answered back after each Hopkins score, but a two-point attempt that would have tied the game at 22 was unsuccessful with 6:27 to play in the third quarter. Neither team scored the remainder of the game.
Quarterback Connor Kilbourne was 16-for-24 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Both TD tosses went to receiver Josh Cox, who had seven grabs for 141 yards. Dominic Mobrito led the defense with 10 tackles.
Ravenna has won four of the last five meetings with North Muskegon.
Muskegon at Detroit King, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Big Reds and Crusaders played two thrilling games last season, and fans will be in for another treat this year.
Muskegon topped King in Week 2 last year after a late defensive stop in an instant classic at Hackley Stadium.
King got revenge when it mattered most, however, defeating Muskegon 41-25 at Ford Field in the Division 3 state championship game.
The Big Reds enter Friday’s rematch having already throttled one defending state champ. Muskegon thumped Warren De La Salle – the reigning Division 2 winner – 41-7 at Wayne State University last week. Ohio State commit Cameron Martinez led the charge, rushing for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for 57 yards on 6-for-11 passing.
King comes in at 0-1 following a 22-20 loss to Detroit Catholic Central. Muskegon leads the all-time series 5-1.
OTHER AREA GAMES
Fremont at Reed City
Grand Haven and Traverse City West
Hesperia at Ludington
Whitehall at Hart
Carson City Crystal at Holton
Orchard View at Kent City
Montague at Mason County Central
Mona Shores at Bay City Central
Muskegon Catholic Central at Pontiac Norte Dame Prep
Breckenridge at Muskegon Heights
Shelby at Oakridge