ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — The O-K Red Conference championship is at stake this week with two longtime rivals battling for supremacy.
Unbeaten Grandville (5-0), ranked No. 6 in Division 1, will hit the road to take on Rockford (3-0), which will play its first game since Oct. 2 after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of its last two games.
The Bulldogs have had a stellar season with a potent offense that is averaging 48 points per game.
Grandville has been led in the backfield by talented running backs Cam Terry and Marcel Love.
“I tell our kids every week that the most important game and the biggest game of the year is this game,” Bulldogs coach Eric Stiegel said. “What the 5-0 does is makes this game really big because if we win, we are outright O-K Red champions and we would have good momentum and a good playoff seeding going into the playoffs.”
Grandville defeated the Rams last year 30-3 after losing the three previous regular-season meetings.
“There’s no doubt about it, when you’re playing Rockford, they are a rival of ours and it means a little bit more,” Stiegel said. “You get a little more amped because you know it’s a great football team that’s well coached and has a lot of tradition. We know it’s going to be a great game.”
Rockford is just thrilled to be back on the field. The Rams won their first three games under new coach Brent Cummings.
“Obviously we’re very happy to be back and Grandville is an extremely quality opponent and a well-coached program,” Cummings said. “They do a great job over there, but in the Red, every opponent we face is high quality just as well.
“You can look at this as championship week, and it’s exciting for these kids that they get a chance to do this after these layoffs that they’ve had,” Cummings continued.
Catholic Central vs. South Christian at East Kentwood High School; Friday 7 p.m.
A rare meeting between top-ranked teams in the state will take place when defending state champion Catholic Central faces South Christian.
The winner will claim the outright O-K Gold Conference championship.
The South Christian Sailors (5-0) are ranked No. 1 in Division 4 alongside Detroit Country Day, while the Catholic Central Cougars (5-0) stand atop the rankings in Division 5.
“Playing Catholic Central adds a whole new excitement and having a big game like this right now keeps the kids excited and focused,” South Christian coach Danny Brown said. “Catholic Central is so good offensively and defensively, so we have to be on point with the schematics and every play is going to matter. That’s what we’re preaching this week.”
Catholic Central has outscored its opponents 206-73 en toute to an unbeaten mark while being led by junior quarterback Joey Silveri and senior wide receiver Jace Williams, who committed to Miami of Ohio on Thursday.
The Cougars are riding a 17-game winning streak and haven’t lost since Sept. 6, 2019.
South Christian has allowed only 14 points per game and is seeking its first conference crown since 2014.
The Sailors will be making their fifth straight postseason appearance when the state playoffs open next week.