By Ron Rop

MUSKEGON–Nine area high school football teams appear on the first Associated Press rankings of the season.

Most coaches don’t take a whole lot of stock in the rankings, but it does give football fans something to talk about when discussing their team’s fortunes through the first three weeks of the season.

Yes, we’re already heading into the fourth week of the nine-week regular season.

The area team with the highest ranking can be found in Division 4, where the undefeated Whitehall Vikings are ranked second behind Grand Rapids South Christian. The Vikings host Montague this week.

The only other local team with a top-five ranking is the Oakridge Eagles, who check in at No. 5 in Division 5.

The Mona Shores Sailors are tied for sixth in Division 2 with Saginaw Heritage while Reeths-Puffer appears among the honorable mention teams.

In Division 3, the Muskegon Big Reds are tied for sixth with Mason.

Besides Whitehall in Division 4, Ludington Orioles are ranked seventh. The Orioles travel to Oakridge for an early-season showdown in the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division.

The Kent City Eagles are ranked 10th in Division 6, while the Montague Wildcats are honorable mention.

Also named honorable mention is the Ravenna Bulldogs in Division 7.

Friday’s games (All games begin at 7 p.m.)

Fremont at Grant 

Fruitport at Hudsonville Unity Christian 

Grand Haven at Rockford

Hart at Muskegon Heights Academy  

North Muskegon at Hesperia

Mason County Central at Holton 

White Cloud at Kent City

Ludington at Oakridge  

Montague at Whitehall 

Muskegon at Zeeland East 

Orchard View at Manistee 

Mona Shores at Wyoming

Grand Rapids Union at Reeths-Puffer 

Newaygo at Howard City Tri County

Shelby at Ravenna 

Spring Lake at Allendale

Saturday’s game

Muskegon Catholic at Fulton (IL)