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On the Mark: Race is on for West Michigan Conference football predictions panelists

Newcomers take early lead in 2022 picks, but there’s a logjam right behind them.

It’s only Week 2 of the 2022 high school football season, but the race is on among “On the Mark” panelists.

Newcomers Jon Russell and Tate Stine have taken the early lead with 9-3 records in last week’s season-opening predictions, but there’s a logjam of others right behind them. It’s a long season, boys, so don’t get too comfortable atop your perch.

As for my 8-4 record in Week 1: Meh.

Best pick: Whitehall over Hudsonville Unity Christian. (Although, 30-28 would have been more fitting for a halftime score in that first-half track meet.)

Worst pick: Petoskey over Ludington. The Orioles pulled off a nice road win in overtime to get their season off to a great start.

Headed to the old stomping grounds tonight in Ravenna to cover the Bulldogs’ tilt against Montague in the North Grove Brewers West Michigan Conference Game of the Week. If you can’t make it to Citizens Field, then check out our free livestream on the CatchMark SportsNet YouTube channel.

Finally, shout-out to CatchMark managing partner Jeff Burel for joining us as this week’s guest picker. Hope you do better than last week’s guest picker, Brent Raeth, your fellow CatchMark managing partner, who went 5-7.


Montague (1-0) at Ravenna (0-1), 7 p.m. Thursday, North Grove Brewers Game of the Week: Montague is coming off a nice 20-17 victory at Spring Lake in last week’s season opener, and the Wildcats hit the road again for the West Michigan Conference Game of the Week.

Ravenna, meanwhile, built a 21-0 halftime lead at home over Beal City in Week 1 but cramping issues became a major issue in the second half and the Bulldogs suffered a tough 22-21 loss.

Montague and Ravenna have played some exciting games over the years. Few people expected the Bulldogs to give the Wildcats a game last season, and the ’Cats escaped with a 14-7 home win.

Both teams have speed and playmakers. Montague has the edge up front, so the Wildcats have the advantage in this game.

Prediction: Montague 27, Ravenna 20

Montague defeated Spring Lake 20-17, in the first game of the season on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022 in Spring Lake, Mich. (Bethany McCullough | CatchMark)

Oakridge (1-0) at Muskegon Catholic Central (1-0), 7 p.m. Thursday: Oakridge and Muskegon Catholic Central played a dandy last year at “The Ridge,” with the visiting Crusaders pulling off a 30-28 last-second victory.

Oakridge took care of Sparta in the season opener, while MCC pulled off a nice win over North Muskegon. What do those things mean for this game? Not much.

The Eagles and Crusaders are two of the finer, most consistent programs in the area. Both look to establish the running game and take away the opponent’s.

The team that wins in the trenches and makes a couple more plays through the air should stand a great chance in this matchup.

Prediction: Oakridge 28, Muskegon Catholic Central 24

Oakridge beat Sparta, 30-14, in a season-opening football game Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, at Russell A. Erickson Stadium in Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Whitehall (1-0) at Hastings (1-0), 7 p.m. Thursday: Whitehall turned some heads with a 54-26 season-opening victory over Hudsonville Unity Christian, which hadn’t suffered a regular-season loss since Week 8 of the 2019 season. The Vikings shut out the Crusaders in the second half, 27-0, when they took complete control of the game.

Week 1 was a big first step for Whitehall. The Vikings need to take another step in Hastings by proving they can handle success. Can they be as focused as they were in the second half of that win over Unity Christian? Can they execute as well?

This Whitehall team seems a little different – in a good way. The Vikings get another big road win over a wing-T opponent.

Prediction: Whitehall 34, Hastings 28

Whitehall defeated Hudsonville Unity Christian, 54-26, in a season-opening football game Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, at McKenzie Stadium in Jenison, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

North Muskegon (0-1) at Orchard View (0-1), 7 p.m. Thursday: North Muskegon led for the majority of the season opener against Muskegon Catholic Central in the Hackley Stadium Showcase, but the Norsemen suffered a 24-22 loss. The Norse will be looking to get that sour taste out of their mouths.

Meanwhile, Orchard View will be looking to make those Week 1 to Week 2 improvements after suffering a 64-16 season-opening loss at Reed City.

Expect North Muskegon to establish a bit of a running game to complement the passing attack. If the Norsemen are able to do that, then that will make them much more difficult to defend.

Prediction: North Muskegon 34, Orchard View 14

Muskegon Catholic defeated North Muskegon 24-22, in the first game of the season on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, during the Hackley Stadium Showcase held in Muskegon, Mich. (Bethany McCullough | CatchMark)


(At) Fremont 34, Beaverton 14 (7 p.m. Thursday)

(At) White Cloud 34, Hart 20 (7 p.m. Thursday)

Perry 28, (at) Holton 14 (7 p.m. Thursday)

(At) Hesperia 28, St. Louis 22 (7 p.m. Thursday)

Ludington 42, (at) Shelby 20 (7 p.m. Thursday)

Manistee 34, (at) Mason County Central 14 (7 p.m. Thursday)


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

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