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On the Mark: Week 7 could be toughest yet in Muskegon-area football picks

It’s Rivalry Week Part I with Muskegon at Mona Shores; ‘Battle for the Bell’ is coming.

(Graphic by Zach Zweigle | CatchMark)

These are fun and exciting times at CatchMark SportsNet.

The high school football regular season is reaching its crescendo. It’s Muskegon at Mona Shores this week, followed by Montague at Whitehall next week in the “Battle for the Bell” – arch-rival matchups with plenty at stake. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Accordingly, we’re ramping up our coverage this week and next. Plenty of content coming in real time, as well as before and after the fact. Keep your eyes on catchmarksports.com and on our social media platforms for extensive coverage.

Not going to write an extensive intro to this picks column. I will leave this here, however: I’m coming after you, Zach Zweigle!

This week’s guest picker is Amy Yonkman, who is an office assistant for CatchMark Technologies and also a contributor to our coverage at CatchMark SportsNet.

Note: All games kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.

Note: Montague does not have a game this week. The Wildcats will pick up a forfeit win for the game Mason County Central canceled prior to the season starting.

Note: Friday’s Oakridge-Shelby game has been canceled because of injury and eligibility issues on the Shelby side, according to Andy Roberts of the White Lake Beacon and Oceana Herald-Journal. For the second time in five weeks, Oakridge has a bye and picks up a forfeit win.

(Graphic by Zach Zweigle | CatchMark)

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Muskegon (5-1, 4-0 OK Green) at Mona Shores (5-1, 4-0), 7 p.m. Friday: If you can’t get hyped up for this matchup, then what’s wrong with you? If you haven’t seen our hype video for this game, then what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE to watch! This is the CatchMark SportsNet Game of the Week.

In recent seasons, this has become the game of the year in the Muskegon area and one with high statewide appeal. Of course, you can make a strong argument for Montague vs. Whitehall in the “Battle for the Bell,” too. (We’ll get to that next week.)

Muskegon has owned Mona Shores in the all-time series, 32-8. Even during the Sailors’ rise in the past decade, the Big Reds still have held a commanding 7-3 edge in the matchup.

Some may argue, “How is this a rivalry if the series is not really that close?” Well, proximity for one. Secondly, Muskegon and Mona Shores are currently two of the premier programs in the state considering the Big Reds’ long track record and the Sailors’ wild success of late. Finally, these programs do not like losing to the other one. Both want to win badly, but they cringe at the thought of losing to the other.

The forecast calls for 60 percent chance of rain today and Friday in Norton Shores. Could make for a slippery, mucky track at Sailor Stadium. Not really sure who that favors – when push comes to shove, the Big Reds prefer to keep it on the ground, while the Sailors’ offense has proven adept in the running and passing games.

Let’s go with the cop-out and call it a coin flip.

Prediction: Mona Shores 27, Muskegon 26 (OT)

Ravenna (4-2, 2-2 West Michigan Conference) at North Muskegon (2-4, 2-3), 7 p.m. Friday: This has the makings of being one of the more entertaining games in the Muskegon area this week. Guess that’s par for the course, considering that the all-time series is about as close as you can get, with North Muskegon holding a 29-28 edge.

Since the 42-0 defeat to Whitehall, Ravenna has been playing some pretty good football, even in a 14-7 loss at Montague when the Bulldogs had their chances. Can the ’Dogs continue playing with that edge?

Meanwhile, don’t judge North Muskegon on its record. The Norsemen played two of the area’s better teams (Muskegon Catholic Central and Montague) tough for extended stretches, and last week’s 32-27 loss to Oakridge was anybody’s game.

Prediction: Ravenna 24, North Muskegon 22

Coopersville (5-1, 3-1 OK Blue) at Spring Lake (5-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. Friday: Both of these teams suffered their first losses of the season last week in battles of unbeaten. Who will do a better job of getting off the mat this week: The Broncos or Lakers?

Both squads have plenty of motivation. The highly competitive OK Blue Conference race is still to be decided and, of course, playoff positioning is at stake.

Prediction: Spring Lake 28, Coopersville 20

Manistee (4-2, 1-1 Lakes 8) at Muskegon Catholic Central (5-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday: This is listed in the “intriguing matchups” category for the fact these teams are playing for a league title and because the Crusaders will be celebrating the 500-win milestone for their program, achieved in last week’s win at Muskegon Heights.

Expect MCC to roll to a homecoming victory here, setting up a big closing stretch to the regular season with a home game next week against reigning Division 8 state champion Centreville and a Week 9 visit to Oakridge.

Prediction: Muskegon Catholic Central 35, Manistee 7

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

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