SPRING LAKE AT COOPERSVILLE
Lakers’ 2012 Record: 5-4 (4-2 Lakes Eight)
Broncos’ 2012 Record: 4-4 (4-2 O-K Blue)
Last Meeting: Coopersville defeated Spring Lake, 14-12, on Aug. 24, 2012
Game Time: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Location: Coopersville High School
Notes: The Lakers saw their four-year streak of reaching the state playoffs come to an end last fall, when they lost a heartbreaker to Shelby, 14-8, on the final week of the regular season. Spring Lake returns plenty of firepower from last year’s squad, including senior Charlie Warber, who looks to be a star on both sides of the ball. A pair of sophomores who saw significant playing time last year — Mark Williamson and Jakob Frederick — look to make even more of an impact as juniors.
Quoting Coach Rabideau : “It’s been a nice, long preseason. I think the kids are really bonding well together, the chemistry is there. There are what I believe are some obtainable team goals and season goals. It’s nice to get through the preseason and long practices, and get into game-week preparation. I think overall we’re certainly where we need to be. We (also) certainly understand that there’s always going to be work that needs to be done, but I feel pretty confident that we got everything that we’re going to need to play against a good Coopersville squad. … They’re under a new coaching staff. He’s (new coach Jared Hudson) changing the offense around, changing the defense around. He’s got a big project going on, there’s a lot on his plate to be able to do all that in one season. But usually when there’s a new coach, and there’s new passion and energy like that, you have to be prepared for almost anything. For last year to be able to compare to this year, I think it’s apples and oranges. With this new coach and new program, we’ve got our work cut out for us. … They’ve got some pretty skilled athletes, and I can understand why he wants to throw the ball. I’m certain that he feels confident he’s going to be able to get the ball in the air, and I’m sure that he’s feeling confident that he’s got the kids that will be able to go up and grab that ball. … Our skilled kids (are strong too). A lot of them are in their second year (on varsity), there’s a lot of senior leadership. I truly believe that one of our strongest assets is going to be our defensive secondary. And complimenting that is going to be our pass rush with our linebackers, and some of our defensive front.
FRUITPORT AT REETHS-PUFFER
Trojans’ 2012 Record: 8-2 (6-0 Lakes Eight)
Rockets’ 2012 Record: 3-6 (2-3 O-K Black)
Last Meeting: Fruitport defeated Reeths-Puffer, 21-20, on Aug. 24, 2012
Game Time: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Location: Reeths-Puffer High School
Notes: This game marks the start of the second season for Trojans’ coach Greg Vargas. He led the Trojans to eight consecutive wins to start the 2012 season, but that campaign ended in disappointment as the Trojans lost their final regular season game against DeWitt, then were steamrolled by Grand Rapids Christian, 45-6, in the opening round of the Division 3 state playoffs. … Fruitport has several key players to replace, including its quarterback, top receiver and top rusher from last year, but lineman Chris Hendricks should help make the Trojans tough up front, and Luc Kostamo has looked solid in taking over the quarterback spot. … Fruitport has made the playoffs each of the last three years, losing in the opening round each year.
Quoting Coach Vargas: It’s a long-standing matchup, there’s a long, long history and tradition in the Fruitport and Reeths-Puffer matchup. That always carries its’ own weight into the game. I say that in one breath, (but) this will be the last year that we’ll play them for a little while. Next year we picked up Grand Haven in game 1. There’s kind of a lot on the line, what you’re leaving them with, that experience with one another. … Reeths-Puffer has a lot of pride in their community. … I think coach (Kyle) Jewett has done a great job of working on revitalizing the Reeths-Puffer brand, the Reeths-Puffer name. …. They have some really nice skill guys, but I think that we have some nice skill guys. One of their strengths is getting off the ball, on both sides of the ball, the offensive and defensive line. There again, I think that we (too) have some pretty strong offensive and defensive linemen. I really think it’s going to mirror some of these long-standing matchups that we’ve had in the past, and be kind of a knock-down, drag-out fight. Whoever doesn’t turn the ball over, and whoever is left standing is the winner.