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CSAA-Gold Varsity Football Week 6 Preview

Fremont Packers (2-4) at Big Rapids Cardinals (3-3)

Game usually on Big Country 100.9 - Big Rapids Forfeits (COVID)

Fremont: Fremont is improving faster than expected and at one point had the 2nd most potent offense in the league (5th best now after scoring just 6 versus Reed City). This would have been another building block for the Packers if they could have downed the Cardinals and killed Big Rapids' momentum heading into the post season. Fremont heads to a much tougher Region where they'll struggle to survive their first 4 quarters... but could surprise you as they have at certain points in 2020.

Current Playoff Seed: #8 15.600 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Ada Forest Hills Eastern (23-2) 38.200 pts

 

Big Rapids: The Cardinals are outperforming somewhat average expectations due to last season. This despite having an immensely talented roster. Their defense is stacked. Front line lead by DJ Greenbay is dominant. Secondary with Jamal Strickland and Xavier Prince is all speed. While they’re averaging 21 points given a game, 44 of their totals was Week 2 at Reed City. Also, to note Cardinals have 4 picks and 5 fumbles forced in 2 games. As for offense, their numbers may look blah overall, but they’re averaging 25 points per game with Sophomore Wil Strickler under center. This isn’t a surprise as Wil likes to chuck it and now has former QB Sam Alley as a receiver to go along with Jamal ‘Jump out of the Gym’ Strickland. It also turns out Sam Alley is quite a different kind of potent weapon when not in the back field. In his first game as a WR at Tri County, Sam racked up 91 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns on 50% of Strickler’s targets. He’s averaging 15.2 yards per catch and is absolutely deadly after the catch. Both Alley and Strickland were on full display during a 2-minute drive to end the 1st half at Tri County. Strickler went 5/6 for 84 yards absolutely shell shocking the Vikings into half time. Alley found space (and did again in the 4th when he blistered TC’s secondary for a 29-yard TD) and Jamal became a magician taking the ball out of defender’s hands. This changed the game for the Cardinals and could change the post season for them as well. Wil Strickler is learning to throw to space and let his athletic receiving core do what they do. If Jack Cooley can stay healthy then you have the most balanced offensive attack in the CSAA Gold.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #2 33.200 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Tri County (2-3) 23.800 pts

 

Game Outcome: Fremont 12 Big Rapids 28

(But instead Big Rapids Forfeits due to COVID-19 Concerns)

 

 

Grant Tigers (2-2) at Reed City Coyotes (5-0)

Game on WBRN 1460 & 107.7

Grant: The Tigers had to sit out 2 weeks but are still looking like a potential pick to make a playoff run after blowing up Central Montcalm in Week 5, 41-13. This team is dangerous, and they seem to be finding their footing just in time for their toughest matchup at Reed City. The Tigers haven't faced an offense as powerful as Reed City this season, so they'll need to get on the board quick and convert on conversions if they want a chance to upset the Coyotes.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #4 26.400 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Newaygo (2-3) 24.000 pts

 

Reed City: Yet again undefeated and dominating in their classic style. They're outscoring opponents by average of 27 points and will be the #1 Seed in their Region with 49.200 playoff points. This means they'll host all the way through. The Coyotes rely on a "10 yards & a cloud of dust... 4 4 4 = first down" style of offense. It typically yields slow results early but by the end of the 3rd quarter there's always at least 1 breakout play that puts the game away.

This team is disciplined and waits for their opponents to make the mistakes. Coach Shankel and staff clearly track weekly ‘freebies’ and right those wrongs ASAP because it’s not often the Coyotes hand you a golden ticket.

Look for another deep playoff run as their Northern Region is fairly weak and… well they’ll host every game ever at this rate.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #1 49.200 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Cheboygan (0-5) 7.600 pts

 

Game Outcome: Grant 24 Reed City 44

 

 

Tri County Vikings (2-3) at Chippewa Hills Warriors (1-4)

Game on Y-102 102.3

Tri County: The Vikings are big, strong, and tough. Their run defense is an immovable object, but their pass defense is a massive hole teams will exploit in the playoffs. Their offense tends to struggle in the Red Zone as they failed to score more than a few times in the RZ during their Week 4 loss at Central Montcalm, 7-0. Lovell is a force as a running back. He’s not afraid to dish out punishment to any backer who tries to tackle him. But he tends to get hit behind the line more often than not. His fight was on full display in their heartbreaking over time loss versus Big Rapids in Week 5 when he rushed 11 times for only 43 yards but left a literal mark on several Cardinals backers who stepped up to tackle him. Tompkins is another interesting threat for the conference. The kid can run (scrambled for 64 yards vs BR) and has an arm, but his accuracy is something to be desired (8/20, 2TD, 2INT vs BR). Can’t forget about Cameron Friend either. If the Vikings find a way to get him in space… their RZ problems will disappear immediately.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #6 23.800

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Central Montcalm (3-2) 33.000 pts

 

Chippewa Hills: The Warriors problem isn’t always scoring… it’s getting scored on. Chip Hills gives up 32 points per game while scoring 22. A lot of their problems come from the freebies to opponents: penalties and turnovers. The Warriors could have beaten the Cardinals in Week 3. But their 6 lost fumbles just gave any hope of Club Dub away. The Warriors shocked the conference when they nailed down 39 points on Newaygo last week. But can they can play spoiler for another week and put up points on a rock-solid Viking run defense? If the Warriors can go to the air and keep the Vikings offensive struggles going, it could be a low scoring barn burner.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #8 16.000 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Muskegon Oakridge (4-1) 33.800 pts

 

Game Outcome: Tri County 22 Chippewa Hills 14

 

 

Newaygo Lions (2-3) at Central Montcalm Hornets (3-2)

Newaygo: Newaygo is very inconsistent but when hot can score a ton of points (42 versus Fremont, 40 versus Reed City). This keeps them in games, but their defense sinks them. The only 2 teams who give up more points per game (30) are the Warriors (32) and the Packers (35). In Week 4 they lost in an astounding shootout at Reed City 70-40. This game is the most interesting of the week: an explosive offense but weak defense versus a stagnant offense and (usually) stout defense. If the Hornets defensive woes are just starting, then the Lions could be heading toward Upset City population them and a potential playoff seed shake up.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #5 24.000 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Grant (2-2) 26.400 pts

 

Central Montcalm: Much like Tri County, the Hornets are strong and tough but struggle to put up points consistently. Their defense is shut down, but a huge slip up last week at Grant where they gave up 41 points shows there are some huge weaknesses to be exploited. If the Hornets can get back to their typical pace of play, this game will look very similar to Newaygo’s Week 2 at Tri County where the Vikings were victorious 26-7. If not, the Hornets could repeat last week’s forgettable showing at Grant.

 

Current Playoff Seed: #2 33.000 pts

Most likely Round 1 Opponent: Tri County (2-3) 23.800 pts

 

Game Outcome: Newaygo 27 Central Montcalm 30

 



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