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On the Mark: Week 7 guest picker loves football and this area — so do we

Greenridge Realty’s Chris Dykema proud of White Lake area. Speaking of that, Whitehall is the new No. 1 in Division 4.

For years, the West Michigan Conference has been intensely proud of its football and that has not changed in 2023.

With four WMC teams ranked in the Michigan Associated Press state rankings, including a new No. 1, those feelings are justified.

Unbeaten Whitehall (6-0) jumps into the top spot in the Division 4 Michigan AP poll after Goodrich, the previous No. 1, got rolled by Corunna last week (35-7). Goodrich was in the Division 4 state finals last season.

Three other WMC teams are ranked as well: Manistee (5-1) and Hart (5-1) are Nos. 7 and 8, respectively, in Division 6; North Muskegon (6-0) is tied for No. 4 in Division 7.

In the Greater Muskegon area, Muskegon is ranked No. 3 in Division 3 and Spring Lake is No. 10 in Division 4. (Might we see a Whitehall-Spring Lake matchup in the playoffs? Would be fun to see it.)

No blockbuster matchups in the West Michigan Conference this week, although neighboring rivals Oakridge and Orchard View get reacquainted. More on that below in DeCamp’s Dissection.

Outside of the WMC, how about that Muskegon-Zeeland West showdown? More on that below as well.

People in this area love football and that includes our guest picker this week: It’s Chris Dykema, a sales agent and realtor for Greenridge Realty, Inc. She is a business partner with Sarah Riehl and they’ve been in the real estate business for more than 40 years combined.

When it comes to football, you will typically find Dykema wherever Montague is playing. Meanwhile, you’ll usually find Riehl watching the Wildcats band or volunteering in the concession stand. While their allegiances obviously lean toward Montague, they both love living in and serving the White Lake community.

Dykema has a challenge this week. Can she top last week’s guest picker? It was David Dusenberry, who is a real estate broker and salesperson with Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt. He went 11-4 as the “On the Mark” guest picker in Week 6.

Without further ado, here are Week 7 picks for games involving West Michigan Conference and Greater Muskegon area teams:


Orchard View (3-3, 1-2 WMC Lakes) at Oakridge (3-3, 2-2), 7 p.m. Friday: Believe it or not, this will be the first Oakridge-OV matchup on the field since 2016. The teams were scheduled to square off last year at Orchard View, but the Cardinals forfeited their final three games because of low roster numbers.

It’s also homecoming night at Russell A. Erickson Stadium, so that should add to the atmosphere.

The all-time series between Oakridge and Orchard View is tight. The Eagles lead the Cardinals, 19-16. Oakridge has won the last 10 on-the-field matchups (2007-2016), many in lopsided fashion. Orchard View’s last victory in the series was in 2006.

What does that mean for this Friday’s showdown? Not much at all. They have two common opponents — Manistee and Fremont. Both lost to Manistee at home and both won at Fremont.

Prediction: Oakridge 28, Orchard View 22

Photo by Courtney Jimison | CatchMark

Muskegon (4-2, 4-0 OK Green) at Zeeland West (6-0, 4-0), 7 p.m. Friday: These teams are quite obviously the class of the OK Green Conference this season. Unlike recent seasons, however, this will be the lone matchup in 2023 between these proud programs. Muskegon has jumped up to Division 2, while Zeeland West remains in Division 3.

Last season, the Big Reds and Dux split their two meetings, both played at Muskegon’s Hackley Stadium. Zeeland West nipped Muskegon in the regular season, 38-36, before the Big Reds got their revenge in the regional finals, 27-20.

Through six games this season, Zeeland West has outscored opponents by a gaudy 292-50 margin. Meanwhile, Muskegon has outscored foes by a 230-115 count. Consider, however, that the Big Reds played powerhouses Rockford and Warren De La Salle in the first two weeks, so that skews things quite a bit.

Another thing to consider: Shane Fairfield-coached Muskegon teams have fared well against Wing-T opponents. Zeeland West coach John Shillito, formerly of Orchard View, coaches the Wing-T as well as anyone.

This is the start of a very challenging stretch of three games to end the regular season for Zeeland West. The Dux host Muskegon this week, then visit Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer in Weeks 8 and 9, respectively.

Prediction: Muskegon 27, Zeeland West 22

Photo by Courtney Jimison | CatchMark

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

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