By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Most will agree that the first week of high school football season generally is a little sloppy, with players excitedly shaking off the rust in a game that matters for the first time in nearly nine months.
This week they'll operate a little more smoothly – and the tune up is over for many facing make-of-break league games already in this young season.
Below is a look at some of the most significant to be played this weekend in every corner of the state. Make sure to tune in to MHSAA Score Center after the final horn for all the scores as soon as they are reported.
Bay and Thumb
Flint Carman-Ainsworth (1-0) at Saginaw Heritage (1-0)
The North and South divisions of the Saginaw Valley League cross over this week, and this game could feature contenders from each. Heritage, from the North, opened with a 19-10 win over Walled Lake Central and is trying to avenge a 45-7 loss to Carman-Ainsworth a year ago. The Cavaliers opened with a shutout of Grand Blanc, 13-0.
Others that caught my eye: Richmond (0-1) at Croswell-Lexington (1-0), Linden (0-1) at Holly (1-0), Lansing Everett (1-0) at Saginaw (1-0), Ithaca (1-0) at St. Charles (1-0).
Muskegon (1-0) at Grand Rapids Christian (1-0)
For the second week to start this season, Grand Rapids Christian faces a team that made it to Ford Field in 2012. Last week the defending Division 3 champion Eagles came away with a 41-13 win over reigning Division 4 champion South Christian. Now they get Muskegon, last season’s Division 2 runner-up and a 41-7 winner last week over Grand Haven. The Big Reds and the Eagles haven’t met since 1993.
Others that caught my eye: Muskegon Oakridge (1-0) at Montague (1-0), Zeeland East (1-0) at Zeeland West (1-0), Grand Rapids West Catholic (0-1) at Comstock Park (1-0), East Kentwood (1-0) at East Grand Rapids (1-0).
Southwest and Border
Constantine (1-0) at Schoolcraft (1-0)
Constantine made it all the way back to Ford Field and the Division 6 Final for the second straight season in 2012. But the Falcons didn’t win the Kalamazoo Valley Association title either time – thanks last season mostly to an undefeated run by Schoolcraft. With 10 teams in the KVA, all games are league games, and Constantine opened last weekend with a 64-20 win over Delton Kellogg. The Eagles have a lot of new faces, and Constantine is the league title favorite.
Others that caught my eye: St. Joseph (1-0) at Battle Creek Harper Creek (1-0), Kalamazoo Central (1-0) at Battle Creek Central (1-0), Saugatuck (1-0) at Marcellus (1-0), Fennville (0-1) at Decatur (0-1).
Rochester Adams (1-0) at Farmington Hills Harrison (1-0)
Even the best are prone to a down year, and Adams’ came last season when it missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996. But the Highlanders got back on the right foot last week with a 12-7 win over similarly-stellar Clarkston. Now comes an old nemesis in Harrison, which has beaten Adams in three straight and is coming off a 43-0 win over Detroit Renaissance.
Others that caught my eye: Canton (1-0) at Brighton (1-0), Detroit Martin Luther King (1-0) at Detroit East English (0-1), Plymouth (1-0) at Milford (1-0), Detroit Country Day (0-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (1-0).
Lower Up North
Maple City Glen Lake (1-0) at Charlevoix (1-0)
Glen Lake is getting plenty of attention in the greater Traverse City area after last season’s 9-2 finish and Northwest Conference title and last week’s opening 27-13 win over another 2012 playoff team, Boyne City. In steps Charlevoix, defeated by Glen Lake 32-0 last season but winner last week 20-0 over usually-strong St. Ignace. The Red Rayders haven’t had much success since their last playoff season of 2009, but a win tonight would be even bigger than beating the Saints last week.
Others that caught my eye: Sault Ste. Marie (0-1) at Alpena (1-0), Kingsley (1-0) at Elk Rapids (1-0), Frankfort (1-0) at Harbor Springs (1-0), St. Ignace (0-1) at Mancelona (0-1).
Felch North Dickinson (1-0) at Newberry (1-0)
The Nordics appear to be off and running again; after scoring more than 40 points in all of their 2012 games but their Regional Final loss to St. Ignace, North Dickinson put 60 on Florence (Wis.) last week. But Newberry has a little something to prove. The Indians started 3-1 last season – their only loss 42-6 to North Dickinson – before losing their final five. They bounced back with a 32-0 win over Rudyard in last week’s opener, and can really make an impact by moving to 2-0.
Others that caught my eye: Posen (0-1) at Rapid River (1-0), Iron Mountain (0-1) at Gwinn (1-0), Ishpeming (1-0) at Manistique (0-1), Cheboygan (1-0) at Marquette (1-0).
Beal City (1-0) at Clare (0-1)
Clare shouldn’t be overly worried about last week’s opening loss to Freeland; the Pioneers also lost to Freeland in openers in 2011 and 2012 and ended up a combined 18-5 over those two seasons. In fact, Clare also fell to Beal City in Week 2 last season before rattling off nine straight wins. Of course, no team wants to start 0-2 – but the task will be tall if last week’s 61-0 Aggies win over rival Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart is an indication of that team’s prowess.
Others that caught my eye: Jackson (0-1) at Jackson Lumen Christi (1-0), Fowlerville (1-0) at Williamston (0-1), Monroe (1-0) at Lansing Sexton (1-0), Mason (1-0) at Eaton Rapids (1-0).
PHOTO: Saginaw Swan Valley (purple) opened its season with a win over Saginaw Nouvel in one of the most intriguing matchups of opening night. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)