GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two weeks remain in the regular season as several teams have the opportunity to clinch at least a share or win outright conference championships.
Here is a closer look at the three key games we will be spotlighting this week:
ROCKFORD RAMS (7-0) at GRANDVILLE BULLDOGS (6-1)
Grandville’s Eric Stiegel has witnessed a lot of top-notch teams in the OK Red during his coaching career.
However, this year’s Rockford team may be toward the top.
“They look to be possibly the best Rockford team I have seen in my 10 years at Grandville,” Stiegel said. “There is not a weak point on their team, and they have played outstanding all year long against very good teams.”
While the Rams have been one of the top teams in the state, Grandville has been pretty good too.
The Bulldogs put themselves in conference title contention with a thrilling 38-34 road win over Caledonia.
It snapped a three-game losing skid against the Fighting Scots.
“We are excited to play in a game that will give the winner at least a share of the conference title,” Stiegel said. “We know we will have to play at our highest level with great consistency. If we do that, we will have a great chance to win the game.”
Grandville is the last team to beat Rockford in conference play. The Bulldogs handed the Rams a 30-3 loss on Oct. 18, 2019.
“Our players and coaches are excited about the opportunity to play in this key OK Red matchup against Grandville,” Rockford coach Brent Cummings said. “They are a well-coached program and they are having a tremendous season.”
Grandville’s only loss was to Davison in Week 2. They are currently on a five-game winning streak while averaging 42 points per game.
Rockford has been dominant on both sides of the ball, with a defense that gives up less than 10 points per game while also averaging 42 points per game on offense.
SOUTH CHRISTIAN SAILORS (6-1) AT CATHOLIC CENTRAL COUGARS (6-1)
One team will be good as gold Friday night.
A share of the OK Gold conference championship will be on the line when the Sailors and Cougars square off.
Catholic Central will try to avenge last year’s 36-34 loss to the Sailors.
South Christian eventually won the conference title and went a perfect 14-0 en route to a Division 4 state championship.
The Cougars lost to Illinois’ Wilmette Loyola in the season opener, but they have reeled off six consecutive wins in dominating fashion.
Catholic Central has averaged 47 points per game during their winning streak with a winning margin of more than 30 points.
The Cougars have reached the state finals or semifinals every year since 2016.
South Christian has been playing well since losing on a last-second touchdown in Week 2 against East Grand Rapids.
The Sailors have won five straight games to give themselves an opportunity to defend their conference crown.
South Christian has won 20 of its last 21 games dating back to last season.
LAWTON BLUE DEVILS (6-1) AT SAUGATUCK TRAILBLAZERS (7-0)
Lawton can win the Southwestern Athletic Conference (Valley) championship outright with a win Friday night over the unbeaten Trailblazers.
The Blue Devils are a perfect 3-0 in conference play, while Saugatuck is 2-0 with one more conference game remaining to end the regular season.
Lawton, which reached the Division 7 state finals in 2021, has secured its fifth straight winning season.
The Blue Devils own an impressive 28-4 record over the last three seasons and have won back-to-back conference titles.
Their lone loss occurred in Week 3 against Constantine, but they’ve won four straight since.
The Trailblazers have experienced a major turnaround after stumbling through a disappointing 2-6 season a year ago.
Saugutuck’s defense has been a staple, surrendering only 67 points this season.
The Trailblazers haven’t allowed a team to score more than 14 points in a game, which included last week’s 49-0 win against Galesburg-Augusta.
Lawton has won the last three meetings between the two programs.