GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Key games in several conference races are on tap as we head into Week 6 of the high school football season.
Here is a closer look at the three games we will be spotlighting this week:
BELDING BLACK KNIGHTS (4-1) at SPARTA SPARTANS (3-2)
Belding, the defending O-K Silver conference champions, is looking to repeat again this year and they will have to get through Sparta for the opportunity to replicate that feat.
The 8th-ranked team in Division 5 enters Friday’s road game unbeaten in conference play after three straight convincing wins.
Belding easily handled Hopkins (46-0), Comstock Park (49-21) and Kelloggsville (58-6).
The Black Knights, whose only loss came against Spring Lake in Week 2, haven’t lost a conference game since 2021.
Sparta suffered back-to-back non-conference losses against Muskegon Oakridge and Coopersville to open the season, but have recovered in conference play and also are perfect at 3-0.
The Spartans have allowed only six points in the past three games while posting a pair of shutouts in wins over Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville and Hopkins.
Sparta, which has won 13 games the past two seasons, lost its lone conference game last year to Belding.
The Black Knights pulled out a wild 40-35 win.
FOREST HILLS CENTRAL RANGERS (4-1) AT EAST GRAND RAPIDS PIONEERS (5-0)
The O-K White conference has become a four-team race heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
East Grand Rapids and Byron Center are tied atop the conference standings with unbeaten marks, while Forest Hills Central and Lowell are a game back.
The previously top-ranked Rangers are coming off a home loss to Byron Center, which scored a touchdown in the final 15 seconds and converted the two-point conversion.
It was FHC’s first loss of the season.
Both teams come in state-ranked in Division 3 as the Rangers slipped to No. 4 and the Pioneers are No. 5.
East Grand Rapids is in the midst of a remarkable turnaround after back-to-back losing seasons.
The Pioneers have given up less than 10 points per game through the first five weeks and recorded two shutouts.
East Grand Rapids has won the close games, too, upsetting defending state champion South Christian (23-21) and avoiding an upset bid by Northview (14-10).
PAW PAW WOLVES (5-0) AT EDWARDSBURG EDDIES (3-2)
The top spot in the Wolverine conference is at stake as both Paw Paw and Edwardsburg are unbeaten in conference play along with Niles.
Paw Paw is off to its best start since 2019 and has achieved success on both sides of the ball.
The Wolves are averaging more than 40 points per game while allowing only 10 points per game.
And all of their games have been lopsided with their lowest margin of victory being 21 points against Big Rapids in the season opener.
The Eddies lost their first two games to perennial powerhouses West Catholic and Chelsea, but have reeled off three straight conference wins.
They squeaked past Otsego last week, 35-34.
Edwardsburg hasn’t lost more than two games in a season since 2012 and hasn’t lost a conference game since 2017.