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On the Mark: It’s Week 6 of the 2023 season and we’re bringing in a ringer as guest picker

David Dusenberry, friend and sponsor of CatchMark SportsNet, showing off his area football knowledge this week.

In terms of hype and build-up, it will be tough to top last week when the West Michigan Conference featured battles of unbeatens in the Lakes and Rivers divisions and four teams that were state-ranked.

The showdowns didn’t turn out particularly close. Whitehall blanked Manistee, 35-0, in the WMC Lakes, while North Muskegon turned back Hart, 34-14, in the WMC Rivers.

A few traditional rivalry games are on the docket for Week 6: Oakridge at Whitehall, Montague at North Muskegon, and Ludington at Manistee in a long-standing grudge match.

Adding some spice to the picks panel this week as a guest is none other than David Dusenberry, friend and sponsor of CatchMark SportsNet, who is a real estate broker and salesperson with Coldwell Banker Woodland-Schmidt.

Dusenberry knows his stuff on and off the football field, plus he’s a great guy to boot. But, can he do better than last week’s guest picker, Pamela DeCamp? She went 10-3 — looks like I taught her well.

Here are Week 6 picks for games involving West Michigan Conference and Greater Muskegon area teams:


Oakridge (3-2, 2-1 WMC Lakes) at Whitehall (5-0, 2-0 WMC Lakes), 7 p.m. Friday: Whitehall put on a clinic last year at Oakridge in a 42-8 rout of the Eagles. Opponents don’t typically do that to Oakridge, especially in the Eagles’ home stadium. The Vikings’ defense was fast and physical in that game.

Lots of attention is paid to Kyle Stratton and the Whitehall offense, but the defense is flying around and making plays again this year. The Vikings have three shutouts in five games so far, including a pair of 35-0 victories in WMC Lakes play.

Oakridge still has Trever Jones toting the rock and that’s a great place to start, but Whitehall returned a number of key individuals this season. It will be tough for the Eagles to keep up with the Vikings.

Prediction: Whitehall 35, Oakridge 7

Whitehall’s defense takes the field after a timeout in a 35-0 victory over Manistee in a battle of unbeatens Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Mariners Field in Manistee, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Montague (2-3) at North Muskegon (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday: This may not look like much of a matchup on paper, given the respective records to this point, but do not dismiss this one. The Wildcats and Norsemen have a pretty good history of playing entertaining games. This one has the potential to be another good one.

Both teams feature playmakers who can go the distance on any given snap. The question is, who will win the battles at the point of attack?

Which team is healthier at this point? This is the time of the season when injures can mount.

Some questions to answer.

Prediction: North Muskegon 27, Montague 22

North Muskegon celebrates a touchdown during a 34-14 win over Hart in a West Michigan Conference Rivers Division battle of unbeatens Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in Hart, Mich. (Photo by CJ Bennett for CatchMark)

Ludington (3-2, 2-1 WMC Lakes) at Manistee (4-1, 2-1 WMC Lakes), 7 p.m. Friday: A gentleman from Ludington, who shall remain nameless, gives me a little grief each week over my Ludington pick. It’s all in fun — I think.

The Ludington-Manistee football rivalry is among the oldest in the state. The series began in 1895 and this will be the 146th meeting. Ludington leads the series although it is remarkably tight at 70-64-11.

I have not seen Ludington in-person this season (aside from media day), but kudos to the Orioles for their win at Montague last week. That was a gut-check win. (My wife got that pick right. I did not.)

Looks like I’ll probably be hearing from my Ludington “friend” again this week over my prediction. Mr. Dusenberry did pick the Orioles this week — he may have a new friend in Ludington now.

Prediction: Manistee 28, Ludington 22

Manistee players take the field prior to their game against Whitehall in a battle of unbeatens in West Michigan Conference Lakes Division football Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Mariners Field in Manistee, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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