GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — We will be more than halfway into the high school regular season as Week 5 looms for area teams.
There are several teams still without a loss, and that includes all three matchups for this week’s spotlight games.
Here is a closer look at the three games:
BYRON CENTER (4-0) at FOREST HILLS CENTRAL (4-0)
A highly-anticipated match-up between two of the area’s top teams will play out on Friday night as both Byron Center and Forest Hills Central seek to secure a stranglehold on the top spot in the OK White.
The Rangers are the top-ranked team in Division 3, while the Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 in Division 2.
“Every game in any conference is important if you hope to be in contention for a conference championship,” Byron Center Coach Marc Cisco said. “Winning this game would keep our future in our hands. No matter what happens, Lowell will be in town next week, and it’s one game at a time.”
Forest Hills Central reached the Division 2 state title game last season and is picking up where it left off.
The Rangers haven’t been tested yet while clicking on both sides of the ball.
Their offense is averaging 34.5 points per game, while the defense hasn’t given up more than 10 points in each of its four wins.
“They are experienced, talented and physical. And they were able to get some missing pieces back last week,” Cisco said. “They are technically sound and very poised, as demonstrated by the great run they had last year into this year. Their team shows very high level skills on film at every position. Top it off with an outstanding coaching staff, and you have another great team.”
Byron Center also possesses a high-powered offense and has won by two touchdowns or more every game.
The Bulldogs’ defense has been stingy as well, giving up only 48 total points.
Byron Center, which has won seven games in each of the last two seasons, has dropped the last two meetings to the Rangers, 21-13 a year ago and 31-0 in 2021.
“We have been playing at a pretty high fundamental level. Our defensive staff has done an outstanding job getting our defense prepared to face each of our opponents, and our kids have really played hard,” Cisco said. “Offensively, we’ve done a pretty good job upfront, and a number of skill players have done an excellent job. We’ve played five kids at QB and still been able to function in a winning manner. Nothing beats competitive experience, and I’m super proud about how our guys have handled themselves.”
SPRING LAKE (4-0) AT WEST CATHOLIC (4-0)
There are currently three teams in the OK Blue conference with perfect records through the first four weeks of the season.
Two of them will clash on Friday night with an opportunity for one of them to stay atop the standings.
West Catholic, the top-ranked team in Division 5, looks to stretch its winning streak to 12 games against the upstart Lakers.
Spring Lake, which was just outside the Division 4 state rankings this week, also started 4-0 in 2022 but lost four of its final six games.
The Lakers picked up a huge win last week as they edged Coopersville 20-19.
All of Spring Lake’s wins have been by six points or less.
The Falcons’ offense got back on track last week against Unity Christian.
After scoring only 17 points in a Week 3 victory over Coopersville, West Catholic racked up 68 points in a convincing win over Unity Christian.
The Falcons have won the last three meetings in the series.
NORTH MUSKEGON (4-0) AT HART (4-0)
It’ll be a battle between state-ranked and unbeaten teams in the West Michigan Conference (Rivers).
North Muskegon is ranked No. 2 in Division 7 behind Jackson Lumen Christi, while Hart is ranked No. 8 in Division 6.
The Norsemen are continuing their success from a year ago when they finished 8-2, the most wins for the program since 2006.
After a narrow win over state powerhouse Pewamo-Westphalia in the season opener, North Muskegon has rolled to three easy wins while putting up 41 points or more in each game.
The Norsemen are 2-0 in conference play.
Hart has also had a strong start, averaging nearly 50 points per game the past three weeks in victories over White Cloud, Shelby and Stockbridge.
The Pirates are in the midst of a program revival. They had their first winning season (6-4) last year since 1997, but they failed to make the state playoffs.
Hart will search for redemption after last year’s 55-14 loss against North Muskegon.