OK Conference Predictions: Week 5
It’s certainly hard to believe, but we’re at the midway point of the high school football regular season. Each game from here on out has heightened tension due to conference races and playoff point implications. Below are my picks for this week’s best games across the OK Conference.
My picks last week: 5-1. Overall: 13-3
Grand Haven (3-1) @ Caledonia (4-0)
Mason McKenzie and the red hot Fighting Scots host upstart Grand Haven in a game with OK Red title implications on the line. Coming off a winless season in 2020, not many believed that Grand Haven would have a logistic shot at reaching the Division 1 playoffs this season. That all will change if the Bucs can shock the region and give Caledonia its first loss of the season. However, the culture shift Derrick Pennington has brought in is very real and Caledonia looks like a real contender in the Red and a favorite to make a deep run in the Division 2 playoffs.
Prediction: Caledonia 38, Grand Haven 14
Mona Shores (3-1) @ Zeeland East (3-1)
Mona Shores will look to complete the Zeeland sweep as they travel down US-31 to face a Zeeland East team that is coming off a nail-biting win over Reeths-Puffer. The Sailors have used a litany of weapons out of the backfield this season to power an offense that has put up 44.5 points per game. Zeeland East’s defense, led by All-State linebacker and Western Michigan commit Tag Bonnema will need to limit Mona Shores’ big plays if they hope to pull off the upset. I like Mona Shores to charge on with a monster matchup with Muskegon looming in a couple of weeks.
Prediction: Mona Shores 49, Zeeland East 21
Byron Center (4-0) @ Northview (3-1)
With multiple COVID cancellations, and having to travel across the Indiana border to find a game, it has been all but easy for Byron Center this season. Through it all, the Bulldogs are 4-0 for the third consecutive season and have aspirations of claiming another OK White title. Northview checks in at 3-1 following their dramatic win over rival Forest Hills Northern and an impressive showing from standout wideout Jalen Charity. The Wildcat's offense will need to stay hot if they want to give Byron Center its first loss of the season.
Byron Center 35, Northview 14
Forest Hills Eastern (2-2) @ Cedar Springs (3-1)
Cedar Springs hosts Forest Hills Eastern in a key OK Gold contest as the Red Hawks will try to keep pace with undefeated Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the league title race. Red Hawk’s running back Antwaun Nicholls has been a workhorse this season and will look to have another big day against a Forest Hills Eastern team that has struggled against some of the better programs on its schedule so far this season. Forest Hills Eastern’s All-Stater Caden VandenBerge has been outstanding this season and will need a huge effort from his teammates to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Cedar Springs 40, Forest Hills Eastern 14
Coopersville (4-0) @ Allendale (2-2)
Did anyone have the OK Blue being the toughest conference from top to bottom this year? A month in and Spring Lake, West Catholic, Unity Christian, and Coopersville are all sitting at 4-0. It also just so happens that the bottom four of the conference is scheduled to play the top four of the conference, meaning that we could have four teams sitting at 5-0 at this time next week. I have a hard time seeing that happen and will take Allendale’s Cole DiPiazza leading the Falcons with a huge game on the ground and upsetting the Broncos in the process.
Prediction: Allendale 20, Coopersville 14
Belding (4-0) @ Sparta (2-2)
Sparta was off last week due to Muskegon Orchard View canceling its season, meaning the Spartans have had a long two weeks to seethe over a 34-27 loss to rival Comstock Park. It also isn’t cannot be lost on the Spartans that Belding enters this game a perfect 4-0 and hopes to keep pace with the Panthers who sit atop the Silver. I think Sparta gets back on track behind all-conference back Dylan Turoski and pulls off the upset.
Prediction: Sparta 28, Belding 24