By Ron Rop

It’s been said many times that teams show their most improvement between the first and second game of the season.

Game 1 is a chance for coaches to see how much of their preseason preparations sunk in with their players.

Game 2 is coming up on Thursday after a short week. Coaches will see if their teams can continue the positives from Week 1 and also see what negatives have been addressed.

This week features another interesting slate of games. Due to Labor Day coming up on Monday, area teams will be taking the field on Thursday with the exception of the Muskegon Big Reds, who travel Friday to the Detroit area to take on Warren De La Salle.

Marquee games this week include one in particular from the expanded and realigned West Michigan Conference. Montague, a narrow winner of Spring Lake in Week 1, will travel to Ravenna to take on the Bulldogs, which dropped a heart-breaking one-point loss to Beal City. Montague is one of three defending league champions from a year ago and now competes in the Lakes Division. Ravenna plays in the Rivers Division of the WM Conference.

Mona Shores travels to Rockford to take on state power Rockford.

Rockford is the defending league champions in the OK Red and finished 11-1. Mona Shores is coming off an impressive 48-20 victory over Manitowoc (Wisc.) in its first home game on its new turf field.

Several other games of local interest that should provide plenty of excitement include Fruitport at Grand Rapids Christian and Oakridge at Muskegon Catholic.

On Friday, the Big Reds, whose defense came alive in the second half of last week’s game against East Kentwood now has the task of taking on the Division 2 state champions from 2021, Warren De La Salle, which finished 13-0 last season.

All games begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Thursday’s Games

Chippewa Hills at Grant  

Beaverton at Fremont

Fruitport at Grand Rapids Christian

Traverse City West at Grand Haven

Hart at White Cloud 

St. Louis at Hesperia 

Perry at Holton

Central Montcalm at Kent City

Ludington at Shelby 

Manistee at Mason County Central 

Montague at Ravenna

Muskegon Heights Academy at Grandville Calvin Christian

North Muskegon at Orchard View

Mona Shores at Rockford

Reeths-Puffer at St. Johns

Big Rapids at Newaygo

Oakridge at Muskegon Catholic Central

Spring Lake at Zeeland East

Whitehall at Hastings

Friday’s Game

Muskegon at Warren De La Salle, 7:30 p.m.