High school football season is upon us, and every week The Sentinel will take a look at upcoming games.
Week 1 will feature an immediate rivalry showdown between Holland and Holland Christian. It’s the only local double game, but it’s a big one.
All eight home teams will be in action with all of their Week 1 matches taking place on Thursday.
Here is an overview of the matches:
Holland Christian at Holland WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Hope College’s Ray and Sue Smith Stadium RECORDS LAST YEAR: Holland 1-8, Holland Chrisitan 2-7 SERIES RECORD: Holland Christian leads 13-2 LAST MEETING: 2021 , Holland Christian won 59-6 SCOUTING REPORT: Last year was an unexpected blast, especially when you look at the rest of the season. Holland scored 44 points against Zeeland East and 24 against Mona Shores, perennial playoff teams. But the Dutch have only scored six against Holland Christian, a side that were outscored by 150 points in aggregate last year. Part of that was some growing pains in Game 1, which Holland overcame at least offensively the rest of the year, scoring plenty of points. But the Dutch struggled to stop their opponents, as did the Maroons, who picked up just one more victory. Both teams have struggled defensively in recent years and that will once again be the difference in this rivalry game. Both teams have offensive weapons and should be able to get into the end zone. It will be about who can make the saves in defense.
Ottawa West at Northview WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Grand Rapids Northview RECORDS LAST YEAR: Ottawa West 0-9, Northview 4-5 SERIES RECORD: Northview leads 9-4 LAST MEETING: 2021, Northview won 23- 13 season with that same game and it was new coach Pat Collins taking on former coach Ryan Oshnock, who took over at Northview. The same familiar faces will reunite in this game as Collins now has a year with the Panthers under his belt. Ottawa West has struggled in recent seasons without a win for the past three seasons after having two straight seasons in the playoffs. The Panthers scored points in those seasons but were unable to stop their opponents, allowing 447, 263, and 352 points, not scoring more than 189 in any of the seasons. Last year, the Panthers scored 128 points in nine games. With a year rooted in the Collins system, West Ottawa hopes to build on that and begin a turnaround. With the return experience, the Panthers should be able to get back to their winning ways.
Zeeland East at Williamston WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Williamston High SchoolRECORDS LAST YEAR: Zeeland East 5-5, Williamston 6-4 SERIES RECORD: 0-0 LAST MEETING: First meeting SCOUTING REPORT: The Chix made the playoffs for the past seven years, including last year, the first year under Joe Woodruff. Meanwhile, Williamston is also on a playoff streak with six consecutive starters this season. Williamston beat opponents 233-142 last year. This strong defense will look to continue this season. But the Chix had a strong offense and with some weapons returning, it should be a hugely intriguing showdown of two strong programs.
Zeeland West at Stevensville Lakeshore WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Stevensville Lakeshore High SchoolRECORDS LAST YEAR: Zeeland West 6-3, Stevensville Lakeshore 7-4SERIES RECORD: Zeeland West leads 2-0 LAST MEETING: 2014, Zeeland West a won 30-28 in second round of playoffsSCOUTING REPORT: This is one of the biggest first-week matchups in Western Michigan with both teams perennial in the playoffs. Zeeland West have made the playoffs 13 years in a row and 16 of their 18 seasons, winning multiple state championships under coach John Shillito. Meanwhile, Stevenvsille Lakeshore has made the playoffs the past two years and a stunning 23 of the past 24 seasons. The Lancers were a playoff team last year at 7-4, but only outscored their opponents 293-273. The defense has struggled more than it has in recent years to keep opponents out of the end zone. If this trend continues, it will be difficult to stop the Dux, who are loaded with returns, especially on offense, and will look to continue perfecting the Wing-T attack. Meanwhile, the Zeeland West defense allowed just 178 points last year. If this trend continues, the Dux should once again have a strong season, starting with a strong Week 1.
Hamilton at Lakeville WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Lakeville High School in OtisvilleRECORDS LAST YEAR: Hamilton 3-6, Lakeville 1-8SERIES RECORD: 0-0LAST MEETING: First meeting SCOUTING REPORT: Hamilton has a mix of new faces and of returns. Its traditional pride has always been in its defense, but last year the team allowed 297 points while scoring just 164. The defense kept the Hawkeyes in most games, but the Hawkeyes will have to come in more often in the end zone this season. make a playoff run. The Lakeville Falcons, meanwhile, scored just 64 points last season and have struggled in recent seasons. Hamilton will be looking to keep that trend going with a tough defense and start the season strong.
“We don’t know much about them, we have a few movies from last year at the end of the season. They perform a version of the Wing-T mixed with shotgun formation gap patterns .We hope our kids can shake off the long bus ride and play well to start our year off on the right track.For us it’s all about competing with ourselves.Can we put on the best version of ourselves on the pitch any night? That’s the big question.- Phil Koops
Saugatuck at Buchanan WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Buchanan High SchoolRECORDS LAST YEAR: Saugatuck 6-5, Buchanan 3-6 SERIES RECORD: Buchanan leads 1-0 LAST MEETING: 2019, Buchanan won 26-18 REPORT OF SCOUTING: Saugatuck enters the season back-to-back from the playoff seasons. The Trailblazers have had only two losing seasons since 2006 and have made the playoffs 11 of the last 14 seasons. This year will be different without Benny Diaz, John Hartgerink and Ben Drew getting the bulk of the offensive touches. That speed and that experience will have to be replaced. But the Trailblazers have proven they reload every time they lose a group like that. “Buchanan is a distributed offensive team with great athletes and a balanced team that can challenge you with the run or the pass. With our reads and responsibilities. Offensively we have to take care of the ball, be patient and stay on the positive side of moving the ball down. We are still in the improvement phase as a team and playing error-free football is a bonus.” -Bill Dunn
Fennville at New Buffalo WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday WHERE: New BuffaloRECORDS LAST YEAR: Fennville 5-4, New Buffalo 4-5SERIES RECORD: New Buffalo leads 4-1-2LAST MEETING: 1957, New Buffalo won 20-0SCOOUTING REPORT : These teams haven’t played each other since 1957 but that is changing this season thanks to 8-a-side football. Fennville switched to 8-a-side football last year and after an understandable adjustment period in the first few weeks the Blackhawks put together a pretty solid first season at 8 at 5-4. Ben Peterson served as quarterback, setting several state records on his way to Sentinel Offensive Player of the Year honors.
“They have size up front and a receiver core that is looking to make a splash. On the defensive end of the ball, they play a basic 2-3 look that tries to evenly neutralize run and pass play. This should be a competitive game for Week 1. On offense we’re looking to use our speed and play an up-tempo style to wear down their beef in the trenches, we should be able to find some missed games in the pattern. , we’ll be looking to physically play against their I formation and use our blitz to block their spread.” -Richard Roth