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Pigskin Pick'Em: Week 8

Josh VanDyke • Oct 12, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Despite possessing the ball for more than 10 minutes in the opening quarter against East Kentwood last week, the Grand Haven offense wasn’t able to score any points. The Falcons countered with a few quick scoring drives to render the Buccaneers’ ball-control offense fruitless.

After trailing the Falcons 30-0 at halftime, Grand Haven did answer with a touchdown drive of their own, but it was too little, too late, as East Kentwood rolled to a 43-7 win.

Spring Lake opened their Homecoming game against Holland Christian with a few fireworks. The Lakers turned an early Maroons’ turnover into seven points in the opening minutes of the game. It was all Holland Christian after that, however, as the Maroons and Mother Nature rained on the Homecoming festivities for a 43-16 road win.

Fruitport struggled to maintain drives against Jenison last week, while the Wildcats went on methodical drives each quarter to take a 7-0 lead after the first quarter and a 14-0 lead at halftime. The Trojans were still in the game, but the Wildcats defense held them at bay. Jenison would score twice in the third quarter to extend their lead to 28-0. The four-touchdown lead felt like an eight-touchdown lead with the way the Wildcats played defense, and the end result was a shutout loss for the Trojans.

Muskegon Catholic Central jumped out to a fast start against Manistee, scoring twice in the first four minutes of the game, and then put it on cruise control the rest of the way. The Crusaders used a few big plays in the second quarter from quarterback Cam Martinez to build a 42-0 halftime lead and held steady the rest of the way for a 42-6 win.

Grand Haven @ Hudsonville

Buccaneers’ Record: 0-7 (0-5 O-K Red) Last Week: Lost to East Kentwood, 43-7

Eagles’ Record: 3-4 (1-3 O-K Red) Last Week: Defeated Caledonia, 17-10

Last Meeting: Hudsonville defeated Grand Haven, 34-7, on Oct. 14, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Hudsonville High School

SCOUTING THE EAGLES

After an 8-2 season in 2016, the Eagles were poised to be player in a the O-K Red Conference title race, but injuries at the quarterback position have buoyed those expectations.

As the Eagles’ injuries mounted, so did the losses. Hudsonville lost to Grand Ledge (41-14) to start the season, but bounced back with a 7-3 win over Holt. In their O-K Red Conference opener, the Eagles held tough with East Kentwood, dropping a 24-17 contest.

Hudsonville then fell to Grandville (19-7) and West Ottawa (20-7), before reeling off two straight wins over Grand Rapids Northview (27-14) and Caledonia (17-10).

Starting senior quarterback Jack Beltz separated his shoulder early on in the season, while backup Drew Martinie suffered a high-ankle sprain. The third quarterback on the depth chart, Jake Hoekstra, is also a key defensive performer for the Eagles, and he was also injured in the second game of the season.

The Eagles have turned to senior running back Sam Baine (6’0, 210 pounds) to play the quarterback position, and he has managed to give the Eagles a consistent rushing attack from the position.

The team has a strong presence along the offensive line with senior tackle Seth Hoonhorst (6’2, 280 pounds), senior guard Trevor Kunnen (6’0, 240 pounds), senior tackle Case Nyhuis (6’3, 270 pounds) and senior tight end Hunter Stearns (6’3, 210 pounds)

Blaine will also share rushing duties with Mike Ouding (5’11, 205 pounds) and Austin Anes, while Spencer Cable (6’1, 175 pounds), Blake Keller and Ian Smith are all capable playmakers in the passing game at wide receiver.

The Eagles have been stingy defensively this season, only allowing 18 average points per game to opposing offenses.

Hoonhorst and Kunnen are run stuffing defensive tackles, with Baine, Ouding, and Stearns are pass-rushing threats at defensive end. Hoekstra and Anes are among the leaders at linebacker, while juniors Jordan Wenzel and Ty Keppel lead the defensive secondary.

KEY TO THE GAME

Time of Possession. The Buccaneers won the time of possession battle against East Kenwood last week, but also allowed a bevy of big plays for the Falcons. If the Buccaneers are going to beat a stingy Hudsonville team, they will need long drives that end in points.

PREDICTIONS:

Josh: “The Eagles don’t have the firepower on offense to blow by the Buccaneers, but they do have a defense that will make it extremely difficult for Grand Haven to put points on the board. I think the Eagles take an early lead and play keep away from the Bucs in the second half. Hudsonville 27, Grand Haven 6

Duncan: “The Eagles have shown they can play with the best, and the worst so far this season, defeating Caledonia 17-10, while holding East Kentwood to a seven-point victory. That says to me they lay to the level of their opponent, which will serve the Bucs well in preventing a blowout. Hudsonville 21, Grand Haven 7

SPRING LAKE @ ALLENDALE

Lakers’ Record: 0-7 (0-4 O-K Blue) Last Week: Lost to Holland Christian, 43-16

Falcons’ Record: 1-6 (0-3 O-K Blue) Last Week: Lost to Coopersville, 28-24

Last Meeting: Allendale defeated Spring Lake, 37-27, on Oct. 14, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Allendale High School

SCOUTING THE FALCONS

Allendale has run into tough times since graduating a talented group of seniors in 2016 that went 8-3 and earned a share of the O-K Blue Conference with Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Grand Rapids West Catholic.

The Falcons dropped a tough opener to Hudsonville Unity Christian (52-44), and bounced back with a 42-0 rout of Grandville Calvin Christian in Week 21.

Since then, Allendale has gone on a 5-game slid, dropping contests to Grand Rapids Catholic Central (56-18), Comstock Park (49-40), Sparta (34-31), Grand Rapids South Christian (37-12) and Coopersville (28-24).

The Falcons are led on offense by some key returning standouts along the offensive line with seniors Adam Ginn (6’2, 287 pounds), Jared Koekkoek (5’10, 225 pounds), Nate Roehr (6’4, 201 pounds), and Jack Snyder (6’2, 240 pounds), along with juniors Logan Miller (6’5, 285 pounds) and Abe Rzycki (6’2, 260 pounds).

Senior quarterback Tanner Morren (6’1, 177 pounds) is a dual-threat athlete with a strong arm and also doubles as the team’s starting safety. Tommy McCullough brings size and speed to the wideout position, while Owen Burk is a playmaker out of the backfield from his running back position.

KEY TO THE GAME

Turnovers. The Lakers have continued to lose the turnover battle against opponents and that has led to lopsided numbers on the scoreboard. The Falcons have had their own share of struggles this season, so it will be important that the Lakers don’t give Allendale any positive momentum at home with turnovers and penalties.

PREDICTIONS

Josh: “Allendale’s season has mirrored Spring Lake’s in many regards. Both teams have struggled to close out games and have lost some winnable contests along the way. I think Allendale’s offensive and defensive lines will eventually wear down the undersized Lakers and help the Falcons pull away in the second half. Allendale 40, Spring Lake 14

Duncan: “The Falcons will be looking halt a five-game losing streak against the Lakers in their second-to-last game of the season. Allendale has kept it close with all but one O-K Blue opponent so far, losing 56-18 to Catholic Central. Spring Lake has not played any close O-K Blue games and couldn’t muster a point against the Cougars. Allendale 35, Spring Lake 7

FRUITPORT @ REETHS-PUFFER

Trojans’ Record: 2-5 (1-3 O-K Black) Last Week: Lost to Jenison, 28-0

Rockets’ Record: 4-3 (1-3 O-K Black) Last Week: Defeated Middleville, 20-15

Last Meeting: Fruitport defeated Reeths-Puffer, 21-6, on Oct. 14, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Reeths-Puffer High School

SCOUTING THE ROCKETS

After starting off the season 3-0 with wins over Grand Haven (28-10), Orchard View (49-21) and Grand Rapids Union (55-0), Reeths-Puffer has lost three of their last four games with losses to Mona Shores (44-6), Muskegon (61-0) and Jension (20-10) before defeating Middleville (20-15) last week.

An experienced offensive line leads the Rockets’ offense with Carter Johnson (6’0, 275 pounds), Gino Romanelli (5’11, 200 pounds), Daniel Rose (5’8, 240 pounds), Logan Santose (6’4, 275 pounds), Jakob Slater (6’1, 205 pounds) and Christian Slusser (6’0, 209 pounds).

Sophomore quarterback Evan Moskwa (6’1, 175 pounds) has developed into a dual-threat playmaker at the position already and could cause problems for the Trojans. Senior Nick Dailey and junior Blake Farwig are the team’s leaders in the run game, while senior Cole Aerts (5’9, 160 pounds) is the top receiving threat out of the slot and junior Carter Fulton and sophomore Gary Humphrey are also playmakers on the outside at wide receiver.

On defense, Kovalcik and Romanelli lead the linebacking unit for the Rockets, while Johnson, Santose, Slater and Slusser work into the playing rotation along the defensive line. Aerts is a lock-down cornerback in the secondary, while Dailey mans the deep middle from his safety position.

KEY TO THE GAME

Rushing Yards. The Trojans will need to establish the ground game in order to knock off the Rockets again this year. With a size advantage in the trenches, it may come down to the legs of quarterback Jakob Carlisle and some outside zone runs for Blade Williams to get the Fruitport offense going. Whichever team is able to run the ball more effectively will win this game.

PREDICTIONS

Josh: “Fruitport ruined Reeths-Puffer’s playoff chances last season and I doubt the Rockets have forgotten that. With two games left on their schedule, Reeths-Puffer needs to win both in order to have a chance to play in Week 10. I don’t see the Rockets losing a rivalry game at home with so much on the line. Reeths-Puffer 35, Fruitport 16

Duncan: “The Trojans are coming off a 28-0 loss to Jenison, the Rockets fell to the Wildcats 20-10 just one week before. Fruitport ended Reeths-Puffers playoff hopes last year with an upset victory; I expect some extra motivation stemming from that for the Rockets. Reeths-Puffer 20, Fruitport 14

MUSKEGON CATHOLIC CENTRAL @ HESPERIA

Crusaders’ Record: 6-0 (4-0 Lakes Eight) Last Week: Defeated Manistee, 42-6

Panthers’ Record: 0-7 (0-5 CSAA Silver) Last Week: Lost to Kent City, 54-19

Last Meeting: MCC defeated Hesperia, 48-7, on Oct. 14, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Hesperia High School

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS

Hesperia has had a tough go of things in 2017, losing each of their games by an average score of 34-17.

The Panthers replaced their usual Wing-T look with a spread attack on offense this season. The team has relied heavily on the passing attack of junior quarterback Jake Klemundt and the running ability of seniors Kanin Witte and Gerrit Yates when the Panthers do run the ball. The receiving core includes Scott Peters, senior Zach Young and sophomores Logan Balkema and Caden Robbins.

The Panthers also possess a solid offensive line led by Kevin Schooley, Triston Rubin and 350-pound tackle Tanner Grell.

The defense has been a work in progress for the Panthers, with a lot of different players playing multiple positions from week to week. Yates has switched from linebacker to defensive end and Witte from safety to linebacker to get both closer to the line of scrimmage. Schooley and Rubin will be the only ones to go both ways up front and Balkema at linebacker and Klemundt at corner will also be players to watch.

KEY TO THE GAME

Big Plays. Muskegon Catholic Central has broken off big plays on offense, defense and special teams in recent weeks to win turn games into running-clock situations by halftime. If the Panthers don’t limit the big plays by the Crusaders, this one won’t be close either.

PREDICTIONS

Josh: “There’s not much to say about this one. Muskegon Catholic Central has been able to put it on cruise control lately and glide through the regular season. I don’t see anything from Hesperia that will slow down the Crusaders in this matchup. The Crusaders might even rest some starters to get ready for a non-conference clash with Montague next week. Muskegon Catholic Central 48, Hesperia 14

Duncan: “Hesperia enters their matchup with MCC on a seven-game losing streak and have been outscored 122-240 over that time. The Crusaders haven’t lost a game since Oct. 16, 2015 and have outscored their opponents, 258-39 so far this season. I expect status quo to hold. Muskegon Catholic Central 48, Hesperia 0

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