Top 10 games: West meets West in a West Michigan showdown of champions
Grand Rapids – Friday’s game between Grand Rapids West Catholic and Zeeland West will feature something old, something new, something never seen and everything green.
Many headlines will label this game as a tussle between two defending state champions, and it is. West Catholic won the Division 5 title last season, as it did the previous two seasons, and West won the Division 4 title as it did in 2011 (West won the Division 3 title in 2013).
But there are a number of underlying themes as well.
This is the first time these programs from the Ottawa-Kent Conference will have played. West competes in the Green Division, West Catholic the Blue. Both teams are 2-0, their dominant color is green and both feature the run game.
West is coached by one of the state’s best, John Shillito. He started his head coaching career at Comstock Park in 1982. He took two programs (Muskegon Orchard View, East Kentwood) to a state final before he guided West to its three titles. Should West defeat West Catholic Shillito would pass Rick Bye of Sterling Heights Stevenson on the state’s all-time list for coaching victories. Bye and Shillito are currently tied for 15th with 268 victories.
On the other sideline is Joe Hyland. Hyland was hired in May. He replaced Dan Rohn who resigned after nine highly successful seasons at West Catholic. Pick: West by 2.
All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless noted.
Dearborn Fordson (2-0) at Belleville (1-1): Despite the lack of preseason hype, Fordson has emerged as the team to beat in the Western Wayne Athletic Conference. Mistakes cost Belleville last week as the Tigers fell to Dearborn, 20-0. Pick: Fordson by 5.
Grosse Ile (2-0) at New Boston Huron (2-0): If Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central doesn’t win the Huron League look for the winner of this game to take the title. Grosse Ile’s offense has been on the money so far. Pick: Grosse Ile by 6.
Hudsonville (2-0) at East Kentwood (2-0): The O-K Red Division is loaded once again and these two teams are expected to be in the hunt all the way until the end. Pick: Hudsonville by 1.
Lansing Waverly (1-1) at DeWitt (1-1): These are two of the top teams in the Capital Area Conference Red Division and this is the division opener. Pick: DeWitt by 7.
Lowell (2-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-1): These teams are no longer in the same division but it’s refreshing to know that some programs realize the importance of tradition. Lowell has won the last five and leads the series 33-15. Pick: Lowell by 8.
Northville (2-0) at Walled Lake Western (2-0): These teams were rivals in the defunct Western Lakes. Western leads the series 23-17 but lost the last meeting, 38-31, in 2013. Cody White of Western has been sensational in the first two games. Maybe he’ll even play receiver in this one. Pick: Western by 8.
Ortonville Brandon (2-0) at Fenton (0-2): This is the Flint Metro League opener and oddly enough Brandon is the only league member undefeated after two weeks. Brandon coach Brad Zube receives a rude awakening in his Flint Metro debut. Pick: Fenton by 13.
Southfield A&T (1-1) at Birmingham Groves (2-0): Last week these teams took down two of the top teams in the OAA Red Division. Southfield A&T went to overtime to defeat Clarkston, 24-18, and Groves slipped past Oak Park, 13-12. Pick: Southfield A&T by 3.
Traverse City West (2-0) at Traverse City Central (2-0): This is the first time these teams have been undefeated going into this game. West leads the series 12-7. West has a young team but the underdog has fared well in this game. Pick: Central by 2.
Last week’s record: 4-6
Season record: 12-8