MHSAA Football Week Nine

Jeffrey Cottrell

It’s the final week of the regular season! Some teams are in a very tough spot; either win tonight (or tomorrow) or pack up the equipment until August. Other teams are tuning up for a long run in the MHSAA football playoffs. With so much on the line, it’s important for teams to come out and start fast. A slip up now could start a slide that no one wants once the playoffs begin. Let’s take a look at the games for this week.

Muskegon (8-0) at Zeeland East (8-0) (Friday October 19, 7pm)

This game will determine who wins the Ottawa-Kent Conference Black Division title. Both are ranked number one (Muskegon in Division 2, Zeeland East in Division 3) in the state. The winner should also get home field advantage throughout the playoffs (at last until the semifinals, which are played at a neutral location.) Last week, the Big Reds beat up Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 45-7. Quarterback Jalen Smith completed three of his four passes for 75 yards and a score. He also ran 10 times for 123 additional yards and two touchdowns. John King chipped in seven rushes for 76 yards and a score. Sherman Hodges caught two passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and also had an interception.

The Chix of Zeeland East are having their best season since 2010. That year, they won 11 games and lost in the Division 3 Regional Final. Last week, they started slow, but gained ground quick. Finding themselves down 14-0 in the first quarter, they struck back and took a 28-20 lead at halftime. Quarterback Michael Custer completed seven of his 11 passes for 114 yards and a score. That lone touchdown reception went to Levi VanOrman from 40 yards out. Spencer Viening ran 22 times for 155 yards and five touchdowns. He wasn’t the leading rusher though. Josh Blauwkamp ran 21 times for 287 yards and two scores. This game is probably the best game in the state tonight.

Boyne City (8-0) at Grayling (8-0) (Friday October 19, 7pm)

This is another huge game. Both teams are 5-0 in conference and 8-0 overall. The winner takes home the 2012 Lake Michigan Conference football title. Boyne City starts a sophomore at quarterback. Corey Redman ran for three scores and threw for another one last week in the 44-30 win over Elk Rapids. Jamael Kelly pulled in that 63 yard touchdown reception from Redman (who finished five of 14 for 141 yards.) Redman also gained 46 on four carries. Malik Smith ran 21 times for 136 yards and two scores. Kelly finished with 71 yards on nine totes and 112 receiving yards on four catches.

Grayling put a beat down on East Jordan. They won 63-29. Quarterback Jake Swander had a monster of a game. He completed 23 of his 44 passes for 362 yards and six touchdowns (the six touchdowns tied a school record.) Ty Jensen ran seven times for 96 yards and a score while also catching four passes for 45 yards and two scores. Tyler McClanahan hauled in six passes for 125 yards and a score. Scott Parkinson grabbed eight balls for 94 yards and three touchdowns. Both teams want to win the conference. It will be up to the defenses to stop all the scoring. Grayling and Boyne City have proved that their offenses can score a bunch of points. This would be a fun game to watch!

Lake Fenton (7-1) at Montrose (7-1) (Friday October 19, 7pm)

I love it when teams are playing very important games to end the season. There is none of this “resting the starters” junk and everyone gets to watch a fantastic football game. Last week, Lake Fenton put a huge smack down on Durand and beat them 70-6. Quarterback Gage Smith completed three of his four passes for 43 yards. Nick VanDuser ran six times for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Neil Allor ran five times for 107 yards and two scores. Alex Schwartz made eight tackles, three sacks, and returned a fumble 40 yards for a score. He also rattled off a 65 yard touchdown run in the second half. It was a big game for the Blue Devils. Coach Eric Doyle told Mlive this about tonight’s game, “We have to establish a running game, throw the ball when we have the opportunity, and play a solid defense. It’s going to be a great atmosphere with us going at it. You don’t beat a team like Montrose by accident.”

The Rams of Montrose also beat down their opponent last week. They bullied past Perry 54-6. Quarterback Riley Warren completed seven of his nine passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Caleb Reinhart ran 17 times for 263 yards and two scores while also hauling in a 54 yard touchdown pass. Antonio McMillion grabbed three receptions for 34 yards and a score. Jimmie Hodge scored twice; once on a six yard run and again on a 30 yard pass reception. The winner of this game will take home the Genesee Area Conference Red Division title. The Rams won it last season while Lake Fenton hasn’t won since getting a share (with Montrose) back in 2007.

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