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Nick Vlietstra's High School Blog Week 5 Recap, Week 6 Preview

by
Nick Vlietstra
Nick Vlietstra

Week 5 recap

SMAC

The game of the week was the battle for Portage and Central smoked their rivals Northern 49-7.  The seven by Northern doesn’t surprise me, but the 49 by Central does.  I thought the Huskies defense would slow down Central more than that.  That tells me a lot more about the Mustangs’ offense than it does about the Huskies defense.  I still believe the Northern defense is good, and to put up 49 points against them is certainly eye opening.  St. Joe won as well and it now looks like a St. Joe and PC showdown is looming for week seven.  PC has games with Niles and Kalamazoo Central the next two weeks while the Bears will Kalamazoo Central and Benton Harbor.  So yeah…It will be a match-up of undefeated teams that week.  As for Portage Northern, they have now lost two in a row and face Mattawan and Stevensville Lakeshore the next two weeks.  I still think they are a playoff team assuming they can beat Mattawan this week, but they certainly need to regroup now. 

There were some interesting scores in the SMAC, but perhaps none more eye opening than the Coldwater 34-14 win over Sturgis.  The game saw highly prized QB Chance Stewart go 8-28 passing.  Coldwater was at home, but that is probably a game that Sturgis should win.  I thought they would be the #3 team in the division this season, and compete for a playoff spot.  They still can but their playoff hopes took a big hit on Friday night.  They are now 3-2 on the season and still have games with Lakeview and Harper Creek.  Looking at their scores, they are not scores that are indicative of a strong team.  In their three wins they beat a one win Gull Lake team 28-21, a one win Marshall team 28-25 and a two win Niles team 34-33.

Oh and I will continue to give props to Lakeview because they did it again.  They have five straight shutouts this season after they beat Gull Lake 35-0.  Their schedule was front loaded with the worst teams they will play this season, and now the competition takes a slight step up.  They face Marshall, Coldwater, Harper Creek and Sturgis to end the season.  While Marshall is 1-4 they do have an offense that is capable of putting up something on the scoreboard you would think.

Week 6 Games:

West:

 

Mattawan (2-3) @ Portage Northern (3-2) – Could be a game of the week just because it could be a great game.  Portage Northern gets back on the right path here though and brings to an end the Wildcat’s playoff hopes (PN 24, Mattawan 17)

Portage Central (5-0) @ Niles (2-3) – PC is dominating and that won’t change this week (PC 35, Niles 12)

St. Joseph (5-0) @ Kalamazoo Central (3-2) – KC is 3-2 and have beaten all of their rivals.  Unfortunately, the rest of the teams they play are much better than their rivals.  Bears roll here (SJ 31, KC 14)

Stevensville Lakeshore (3-2) @ Benton Harbor (0-5) – Lakeshore got back on the straight path last week and that doesn’t change here (SL 32, BH 6)

East:

 

Battle Creek Central (1-4) @ Gull Lake (1-4) – This has a chance to be a good game, unfortunately it’s because neither of these teams is that great.  Gull Lake gets the win this week though. (GL 24, BC 10)

Coldwater (2-3) @ Loy Norrix (0-5) – Loy Norrix is struggling on offense and defense, and Coldwater is coming off a big win.  But a long trip and LN is at home?  I think the Knights can keep it close. (CW 25, LN 20)

Harper Creek (4-1) @ Sturgis (3-2) – Sturgis is coming off a surprising loss and are not playing great football.  HC on the other hand is playing good football and they win on Friday.  (HC 25, ST 15)

Lakeview (5-0) @ Marshall (1-4) – The question here is whether Marshall will score.  I think they score, but not nearly enough. (LV 31, M 9)

Wolverine

Three Rivers and Edwardsburg was the match-up of the week in a game won by the Eddies 40-22.  They were able to run wild on a very good Three Rivers defense.  The Wildcats had allowed only 31 points in the first four games and then they allowed 40 on Friday.  I would say Edwardsburg is as good as any team in the league, and they really might be the best team.  They have had four players rush for over 150 yards on the season led by Dylan Hulett who has rushed for over 550 yards and eight TDs and Jack Bywaters who has rushed for 480 yards and 10 TDs.  I think they cruise into week nine undefeated against Paw Paw.

Paw Paw faced the stiffest competition they have faced yet and they passed the test easily.  They beat Vicksburg 48-13.  Now when I say that is their stiffest competition yet, it’s true, but Vicksburg is still not a great team.  The Redskins got the benefit of not facing a lot of the tough teams in the West division.  They don’t have to face Dowagiac or Three Rivers this season.  They really only have two games on their schedule that will test them and that will be Plainwell in week seven and Edwardsburg in week nine.  It is hard to say how good Paw Paw is until then.  They definitely are a good team, one of the best in the Wolverine.  Still…How good is that really?  We know they have a very good duel-threat QB in Jake Doll.  He has three good receivers that he is throwing to in Ross Beck, Kyle Williams and Bobby Yarbrough.  We know they have a very good defense as well.  We will still have to wait a couple weeks to find out because we won’t learn anything about them this week against Comstock.

Week 6 games

East:

Plainwell (5-0) @ Vicksburg (2-3) – One of the games of the week.  See below for match-up.

Otsego (3-2) @ Allegan (0-5) – Allegan has shown very little on offense and defense.  Otsego has no issues this week (OT 33, AL 6)

Comstock (0-5) @ Paw Paw (5-0) – Really?  Paw Paw rolls as they have all season (PP 41, COM 6)

 

West:

Three Rivers (3-2) @ Berrien Springs (2-3) – Berrien Springs is not an easy place to win.  The Wildcats will need to fight their way to get a win this week.  (TR 26, BS 19)

Coloma (1-4) @ Edwardsburg (5-0) – No one can stop the Eddies.  The Comets won’t either (E 31, C 9)

Dowagiac (4-1) @ South Haven (0-5) – SH has scored in only one game this season.  I’m not sure that trend changes against a stout Dowagiac defense. (DOW 34, SH 6)

KVA

There weren’t many great games in the KVA on Friday.  The best match-up was probably Parchment visiting Olivet.  Parchment was flying high with two straight wins and an upset of Constantine in week four.  They put themselves in a good spot to make something of this season.  On Friday though, the Eagles flexed their muscles and beat back the Panthers 40-20.  Parchment is still in a good spot even at 2-3.  The toughest part of their schedule is done and every one of their remaining four games is winnable.  While they are winnable, they also have a target on their backs especially with their week seven opponent Hackett.  Although not a great team, the Irish would love nothing more than to end Parchment’s pursuit of the playoffs.  But, that doesn’t happen until Parchment takes care of business against Maple Valley this week.

Olivet on the other hand is still in first place with Pennfield.  They have passed one big hurdle but still have two remaining.  They face Galesburg-Augusta this week but then they have a big match-up with Pennfield in week seven followed by a game with Constantine the very next week.  Pennfield has three big games over the final four weeks as they are still yet to face Olivet, Schoolcraft or Constantine.  It is safe to say the KVA is far from being decided, and with some big games over the final four weeks it should be a fun ride to the finish.

Week 6 games

Schoolcraft (4-1) @ Pennfield (5-0) – One of the games of the week.  See below for match-up

Hackett (2-3) @ Constantine (3-2) – Hackett is scoring a lot of points and that will continue this week.  Still, I think Constantine will score a few too many for the Irish to keep up. (CON 41, HACK 32)

Maple Valley (1-4) @ Parchment (2-3) – Parchment is at home and every game is a must win.  Still, the Lions could be sneaky on Friday.  (PARCH 27, MV 16)

Delton (1-4) @ Kalamazoo Christian (2-3) – Delton got their first win on Friday smoking GA 55-0.  Those winning ways won’t last long though.  (KC 29, DEL 9)

Olivet (5-0) @ Galesburg-Augusta (0-5) – GA is still yet to score a point this season.  Not sure if they can this week either.  (OL 31, GA 6)

 

SAC

There were two big match-ups in the South with Hartford at Watervliet and Decatur at Lawton.  In Lawton, Decatur did what they had to do for three quarters, but it seems like they might have learned the lesson of why so many teams hold up four fingers going into the fourth quarter.  The Raiders led 21-10 after scoring a TD early in the fourth and with the way their defense has played this season, I’m sure a lot of people thought that game was over.  But, hold your horses there because Lawton didn’t get the message and stormed back with two TD passes in the final quarter, the last of which came with :26 seconds left in the game and from 42 yards out.  Now I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure, but a TD from 42 yards out with :26 second left and up by three is not usually a TD you want to give up at that point in the game.  The win improves Lawton’s record to 5-0 and also gives them their fifth straight regular season win over the Raiders.

Watervliet was able to beat Hartford in the exact way you probably put in the game plan.  Contain the rushing attack and make them put the ball in the air.  They did both of those things well.  The Panthers held down the hard rushing duo of Casper Aviles (47 yards) and Miguel Melgoza (85 yards) to a combined 132 yards and no TDs.  They also made the Indians put the ball in the air 16 times and the Panthers picked off two of those passes.  Going into the game Hartford had attempted only 21 passes in the first four games.   Hartford has no time to rest now.  They’ve lost two in a row and they face undefeated Lawton this week.  Watervliet looks very tough right now and could be the team to beat in the South.

Week 6 Games:

 

North

Gobles (2-3) @ Bloomingdale (0-5) – It’s a rivalry and for that reason I think the Cards keep it close.  Not close enough though. (G 26, B 20)

Saugatuck (4-1) @ Martin (0-5) – The Indians beat Bloomingdale 61-0.  It might be something similar this week.  (S 41, M 6)

Fennville (1-4) @ Bangor (1-4) – This should be a tight game.  Bangor is coming off a week where they lost a tough game to Gobles.  Fennville is coming off their first win of the season.  (B 25, F24)

 

South

Hartford (3-2) @ Lawton (5-0) – One of the games of the week.  See below

Watervliet (5-0) @ Marcellus (2-3) – Watervliet is rolling over everyone.  Nothing changes this week (WV 33, MAR 7)

Decatur (4-1) @ Covert – Decatur steps outside the conference and wins easily.  (D 27, COV 6)

 

Players of the week

  1. Luke Traver, Watervliet QB

 

Traver got his shot at his former team on Friday and not only did he not disappoint, he was overly impressive in the Panthers’ 41-17 win over Hartford.  He ended the game 17-25 for 335 yards and four TDs.  He also added 91 yards and a TD on the ground.  Through the air he connected with four different receivers and found lead receiver Deven Schultz seven times for 176 yards and two scores.  On the season Traver has now thrown for 11 TDs and rushed for 11 as well.

 

  1. Blake Zemek, Schoolcraft FB

Zemek showed up big in Schoolcraft’s Friday night’s 49-27 Homecoming win over Hackett.  Zemek rushed 13 times and racked up 165 yards and five TDs.  Prior to Friday night Zemek had only scored one TD this season, but he stole the show on Friday to push the Eagles’ record to 4-1 this season.

 

  1. Jordell Jones, Bangor QB

His big game came in defeat but it didn’t make it any less impressive.  On Friday night Jones put up over 300 yards of offense against Gobles.  He threw for 209 yards and two TDs.  He hooked up with WR Taylor Graham nine times for 169 yards and both TDs.  The TDs came on plays of 20 and 80 yards.  On the ground Jones was just as busy, rushing 20 times for 126 yards and two scores. 

 

  1. Brennan Heidema, Kalamazoo Christian QB

Heidema’s effort on Friday night against Constantine was impressive even though it came in a losing effort.  He connected on 11 of 22 passes against the Falcons’ defense for 238 yards and five TDs.  Heidema is now approaching 500 yards through the air this season for the Comets and has now thrown for 11 TDs which leads the KVA.

 

  1. Jordan Medich, Mendon QB

Mendon is rolling along again this season and their signal caller did his work through the air in Friday night’s 70-0 win over Bronson.  He completed 11 of 13 passes for 215 yards and five TDs.  He is now in double digits in TD passes this season for an offense that is putting up over 50 ppg.

Big Games for Week 6

Schoolcraft (4-1) @ Pennfield (5-0)

These two will hook up in what should be a great KVA match-up.  Since joining the KVA Pennfield and Schoolcraft have hooked up five times and the Panthers hold a 3-2 record against the Eagles.  If history is an indicator it should be another close game.  Three out of the five meetings between these two have been decided by a TD or less.  That includes last season’s 19-16 Schoolcraft win.

Schoolcraft is a team that will use a lot of different parts.  Take last week for example.  FB Blake Zemek had not been heavily used this season, but he showed up with a performance of 165 rushing yards and five TDs.  They rely on the run but they are not afraid to put the ball in the air when they need to.  They already hold a win over Constantine and fell on the road to Olivet.  This game will mark the last of the giants that they will face in the regular season.

Pennfield is yet to face any of the top teams in the conference and it is tough to say how good they are.  I can say this much.  They are good, because they always are.  Just how good is yet to be decided.  Their opponents have a combined record of 6-19 this season and this begins a tough string of games in which they will face Schoolcraft, Constantine and Olivet in three out of the last four games.  They have been running their Wing T system for years and they know it like the back of their hand.  It wasn’t until about four years ago that they began to break the T and spread the field out of the shotgun.  JJ Clements has been the main man out of a stable of running backs.  They have had nine different players score a rushing TD this season.

My Pick: Pennfield 23, Schoolcraft 22.  This one is a very tough game to pick.  It really could go either way, and I’ll give the slight edge to the home team.

Plainwell (5-0) @ Vicksburg (2-3)

It is a light week on monster games, so we can settle for a good game.  Plainwell will take their undefeated record on the road to Vicksburg this week.  Plainwell has won three out of the last four in the series including last season’s 31-15 win.

Vicksburg is a team that is doing a lot of their work through the air this season.  Junior QB Dalton Ketelaar is in his first season as the signal caller.  He has thrown for over 500 yards of offense and four TDs.  His two favorite targets this season have been Chad Hettinger and Hunter Van.  The ground game hasn’t been their forte this season with Nick Wallace as the leading rusher at close to 200 yards this season. 

The Bulldogs know what they will be dealing with on Friday, it’s just a matter of whether they can stop it or not.  Plainwell is coming right at them with their two headed monster of Ryan Britton and Jacob Geter.  The two have combined for close to 1,000 rushing yards and 14 TDs.  They are also working with a Junior QB as Trent Monroe is now the man under center and is giving the Trojans a threat throught he air as well.  Plainwell also sports the top defense in the league which holds three shutouts in their five games.  They are giving up less than 5 ppg. 

 My Pick: Plainwell 27, Vicksburg 15.  Plainwell is a monster on defense this season and is very battle tested at this point.

Hartford (3-2) @ Lawton (5-0)

The brutal stretch continues for Hartford.  It started two weeks ago when they played at Saugatuck, and then they traveled to Watervliet last week and now they hit the road to go to Lawton.  The stretch continues into next week when they face Decatur.  The issue is that they need to win one of these games.  They have lost the first two, and if they lose the next two they, in all likelihood, will be out of the playoffs.  This was the game Hartford won last season which was key in helping them into the playoffs.  Last year’s 27-24 comeback thriller was their first win over Lawton since 2008.

Lawton on the other hand is coming off an impressive come from behind victory over Decatur.  It was their first big game of the season and it made a statement that they are for real again this season.  They are also looking for a mark of revenge.  That loss to Hartford last season was their lone loss of the season.  Their impressive offense is now producing over 42 ppg.  At this point they are in the driver’s seat for the top spot in the South division with Watervliet.  Their defense has been giving up a few points over the past few weeks, and they will need to slow down the Indian’s Casper Aviles and Miguel Melgoza.

My Pick: Lawton 26, Hartford 16.  It’s a tough stretch and if Hartford loses this game they will have their playoff backs to the wall next week against Decatur.

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