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Pigskin Pick’Em Week 9

Tribune Staff • Oct 19, 2017 at 12:00 PM

It was another tough week for the Grand Haven football team in Week 8, as they traveled to Hudsonville. The Buccaneers fell behind 14-0 early in the first quarter, before showing some strength on defense in the second quarter to hold the halftime score at 17-3. The Buccaneers added a touchdown in the third quarter, but the Eagles erupted to take a 43-10 lead at the end of the third quarter, before adding another score in the fourth quarter for a 50-10 win.

Spring Lake’s season of peaks and valleys continued last Friday with a 56-27 loss at Allendale. The Lakers fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter, before the offense found some life to draw within a 35-13 at halftime. The Falcons would go on to outscore the Lakers 21-14 in the second half, but not before junior quarterback Caleb Montgomery had a highlight-worthy performance. Montgomery finished with nearly 400 yards of total offense with 170 yards rushing and three touchdowns, as well as 200 passing and one touchdown.

Fruitport battled through tough conditions Friday night against Reeths-Puffer, falling to the Rockets, 21-7. The Trojans trailed 15-0 at halftime, but battled back in the third quarter to draw within one possession when quarterback Jakob Carlisle scored from 17 yards out.The Trojans would have a chance late in the game to drive 90 yards for a game-tying drive, but the Rockets defense jumped in front off a pass and returned the ball 15 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

Muskegon Catholic Central had another easy win last week with a 49-9 blowout of Hesperia. The Crusaders jumped out to a 28-0 first quarter lead and a 42-3 halftime advantage, before easing up in the second half. Cam Martinez finished with two touchdowns passing, along with a punt return for a score, while Carson St. Amour added 106 yards rushing and one score and Tommy Watts added 48 yards and one touchdown on just three carries.

Grand Haven @ Grand Rapids Union

Buccaneers’ Record: 0-8 (0-6 O-K Red) Last Week: Lost to Hudsonville, 50-10

Red Hawks’ Record: 0-8 (0-6 O-K Black) Last Week: Lost to Kenowa Hills, 58-0

Last Meeting: Grand Haven defeated Grand Rapids Union, 57-0, on Oct.21, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Houseman Field

Scouting the Red Hawks

The Grand Rapids Union program has struggled mightily since their last winning season in 2002. The Red Hawks have gone a combined 13-120 since that time, including five winless seasons. It appears the program is headed toward another winless season in 2017, as the squad has been outscored 30-442.

Other than a 62-18 loss to Sparta, the Union offense has been dormant, save a few 6-point outings against Fruitport (46-6) and Jenison (51-6).

Junior wideout Kevin Dotson (5’11, 165 pounds) is the team’s top playmaker on offense. The shifty athlete continually makes defenders miss in open space and the Red Hawks will try and get the ball in his hands as much as possible in hopes of breaking a big play.

Senior running back Da’Tyn Lee (5’9, 175 pounds) is the team’s top rushing option, while junior quarterback Yoni Calderon-Tejeda Jr. (5’6, 150 pounds) is a quick and nimble athlete out of the backfield. Sophomore guard Cody Garrison (5’11, 235 pounds) is a key returner on the offensive line for the Red Hawks, after seeing action last season as a freshman.

On defense, junior Dawan Brown (5’10, 228 pounds) is a hard-hitting middle linebacker, while Dotson doubles as the team’s most active athlete from his outside linebacker position. Junior cornerback Raphael Austin and Lee are the team’s top defenders in the secondary.

Key to the Game

Offensive Production. In a matchup like this, it will be important that Grand Haven finishes drives with touchdowns and take a commanding lead early. Against inferior opponents, the longer you allow them to stick around, the more confidence they’ll get. The Buccaneers’ offense needs to flex its muscle, get the running game going and leave no doubt in the outcome by halftime.

Predictions

Josh: “After slugging through the O-K Red Conference, Grand Haven should enjoy a big advantage on both sides of the ball against Grand Rapids Union. I expect the run game to find some life, the defense to play an inspired game, and the Buccaneers to end their 2017 season with a win.” Grand Haven 56, Grand Rapids Union 0

Duncan: “The Bucs have one last chance to get a win in Coach Joe Nelson’s first year at the helm. Luckily, it is a pretty good chance this week. Grand Rapids Union has scored just 30 points this season and has been shutout three straight games coming into this week.” Grand Haven 46, Union 0

Spring Lake vs. Comstock Park

Lakers’ Record: 0-8 (0-5 O-K Blue) Last Week: Lost to Allendale, 56-27

Panthers’ Record: 5-3 (3-2 O-K Blue) Last Week: Defeated Sparta, 35-16

Last Meeting: Spring Lake defeated Comstock Park, 33-28, on Oct. 21, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Grabinski Field

Scouting the Panthers

Comstock Park has enjoyed a revival season after finishing just 2-7 in 2016, but hasn’t been able to rise to the level of the top of the O-K Blue Conference.

The Panthers got off to a hot start in 2017, ripping off four straight wins. They opened the season with offensive firepower in a 30-point victory over Northview (51-21). They then beat Wyoming (36-14) and Coopersville (42-27) before Allendale gave them their first close win of the season (49-40).

A rough patch of title contenders derailed Comstock Park, much like the rest of the O-K Blue. A thrilling three-point loss to Hudsonville Unity Christian (32-35) kicked off a three-game losing streak as they fell to West Catholic (20-48) and Catholic Central (50-57). The close game with the Cougars must have bolstered the Panther’s confidence, as they righted the ship with a win over Sparta last week (35-16).

Junior Chase Brown (5’11’’, 185) will lead the Comstock Park offense from the quarterback position, while star running back Jojo Whitley (5’10’’, 180) will take primary responsibilities from the backfield.

Along the offensive line, senior guard Aaron Place (6’2’’, 195) and senior tackle Nathan Hughes (6’2’’, 220) will look to open up holes for Whitley.

On defense, a strong corps of linebackers will look to cause Caleb Montgomery problems led by senior Brett Taylor (5’10’’, 210) and junior Roshawn Williams (6’0’’, 185).

Key to the game

Fast Start. Spring Lake fell behind 28-0 to Allendale last week early. The did eventually get their offense firing better than it had all season and traded touchdowns with the Falcons the rest of the way. Their best chance to hang in this game is to find that rhythm early.

Predictions

Josh: “Comstock Park will be fighting for their playoff lives Friday, and will be fired up to take care of the winless Lakers. Spring Lake did find some answers on offense last week against Allendale, but might have raised just as many questions about the defense. The Panthers just have too much firepower for the Lakers, and will pull away in the second half.” Comstock Park 42, Spring Lake 16

Duncan: “The Lakers take on an O-K Blue Conference rival in their final game of the season, looking to avoid the program’s first winless season since 1991. Unfortunately, it looks like history will be made on Senior Night at Grabinski Field. Spring Lake saw some offensive development last week, with a little luck, they could keep it close.” Comstock Park 35, Spring Lake 27

Fruitport vs. Mona Shores

Trojans’ Record: 2-6 (1-4 O-K Black) Last Week: Lost to Reeths-Puffer, 21-7

Sailors’ Record: 7-1 (4-1 O-K Black) Last Week: Lost to Muskegon, 35-24

Last Meeting: Mona Shores defeated Fruitport, 41-14, on Oct. 21, 2016

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Doc Pierce Field

Scouting the Sailors

Mona Shores is rolling this season after just missing the playoffs in 2016 with a 5-4 record. The Sailors have just one loss in 2017 so far and will be eager to avenge it against the Trojans.

The loss to Muskegon last week (24-35) ended a seven-game winning streak dating back to a Week 1 victory over Canton (41-23). Zeeland West then gave the Sailors one of their closest games of the season (42-20). Week 3 saw a marquee win over Rockford (30-24) that kicked off a dominating mid-season push for Mona Shores. They downed Reeths-Puffer (44-6), Jenison (42-7), Kenowa Hills (48-6) and Union (65-0), before meeting rival Muskegon last week for an unexpected thriller.

The loss will be heavy in the mind of quarterback Tristan Robbins (5’11’’, 175) as he directs the sailor offense. He will be aided in the backfield by split back Ke’Sean Sandifer (5’6’’, 151) and running back DeAnthony Davis (5’10’’, 175).

With Damari Roberson sidelined for the season, lead receiving duties have fallen to Keyshawn Summerville (6,0’’, 165), and James Gilbert (6’3’’, 165), who has been more than up to the job.

On the line, senior tackle Keontaw Watson (6’4’’, 266) and center Chuckie Anthony (6’1’’, 295) will make things tough for the Trojans in the trenches.

Highly-touted middle linebacker Jacob Wahlberg (6’4’’, 215) will anchor a tremendous defensive presence for Mona Shores, while safety Austin Flowers will patrol the secondary.

Key to the game

Rushing Yards. Last week against Reeths-Puffer, Fruitport’s Parker Tawney was able to pound between the tackles, while quarterback Jakob Carlisle ran the edges, opening up passing opportunities in key situations.

Predictions

Josh: “It doesn’t get any easier for the Trojans this week. After facing Zeeland East, Jenison and Reeths-Puffer, the Trojans now host a 7-1 Mona Shores squad that almost beat the Muskegon Big Reds last week. The Sailors should win this one comfortably.” Mona Shores 48, Fruitport 14

Duncan: “Of all the local teams, the Trojans have the toughest final game, taking on Mona Shores at home to finish the season. The Sailors have had two games decided by less than 20 points, an 11-point loss to Muskegon last week and a 6-point win over Rockford.” Mona Shores 42, Fruitport 7

Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Montague

Crusaders’ Record: 7-0 (4-0 Lakes Eight) Last Week: Defeated Hesperia, 49-9

Wildcats’ Record: 8-0 (7-0 West Mich. Conf.) Last Week: Defeated Ravenna, 55-0

Last Meeting: This will be the first meeting between the two programs

Time: Friday, 7 p.m. Location: Kehren Stadium

Scouting the Wildcats

Montague has been one of the most dominant teams in West Michigan this season, outscoring their opponents, 437-65. After beating Reed City (48-14) in their season opener, the Wildcats rambled through the next few contests over Shelby (76-0), Mason County Central (65-0) and North Muskegon (48-7).

In Week 5, Montague was pushed by Whitehall in a 46-44 shootout. Since then, the Wildcat defense has not allowed a single point to the opposing team. Montague closed out the regular season with wins over Hart (59-0), Oakridge (40-0) and Ravenna (55-0) to set up this battle of the undefeateds.

The No.-3 ranked Wildcats are fueled by the play of junior running back Bryce Stark (5’10, 175 pounds) who has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns on just 100 carries. When Stark isn’t knifing through defenses, junior quarterback Sebastian Archer is a throwing the ball over them, tossing the ball around for almost 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a passer and nearly 500 yards and 12 touchdowns as a rusher.

Junior wideout Kenyan Johnson is the team’s top receiving threat, with almost 600 yards and seven touchdowns on 30 receptions, while senior Jake Jancek (5’11, 175 pounds) is a big-play threat in his own right, catching 23 passes for 430 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Junior tackle Luke Marsh (6’4, 250 pounds) and senior Joe Rupert anchor the offensive line for the Wildcats, and also double as starters on the defensive front, as well. Senior middle linebacker Sam Shugars leads the Wildcats in tackles this season, and will be difficult to block in the run game, while sophomore Johnny Monette will be a key player to watch in the defensive secondary.

Key to the Game

Turnovers. In a game so tightly contested with two evenly-matched teams, it may come down to who makes more mistakes. Both teams have dominant defenses and playmakers on offense that break any play for a touchdown. If one team loses a fumble late or throws an ill-advised interception, that could be all she wrote.

Predictions

Josh: “Other than the first half of their season opener against Frankfort, the Crusaders haven’t been tested at all this season. Montague got pushed by Whitehall, but has shutout everyone since. A well-rested Crusaders team will need to adjust to playing in a tight game for four quarters, but I’ll stick with the playmaking ability of Cam Martinez to help the Golden Domers eek out a home win.” MCC 32, Montague 27

Duncan: “In a highly anticipated first-ever meeting, the Wildcats and Crusaders will get a true test to tune them up for their respective deep playoff runs. Montague gave up 44 points in their two-point win over Whitehall, and just three touchdowns otherwise this season. MCC might actually need to keep their first-string defense in for four quarters to get this win.” Montague 46, MCC 45

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