By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Welcome to fall, Michigan. Be sure to bring a coat and umbrella when you venture out to watch your favorite football team this weekend.
And what better way to spend a fall evening than watching one of the many 3-0 vs. 3-0 matchups dotting our state as we head into the meat of many league schedules.
See below for what should be some of the best games this weekend, and be sure to monitor all the scores at the MHSAA Score Center.
Muskegon (3-0) at Lowell (3-0)
For the second straight week, Muskegon finds itself in the most anticipated game statewide. Seven days ago the Big Reds responded with a 45-0 victory over Rockford. Tonight they’ll try to make it three straight against Lowell after beating the Red Arrows by 15 during the regular season and then 15-13 in a District Final in 2012. Lowell has been similarly dominant this fall, but Muskegon surely will be its toughest test so far.
Others that caught my eye: Comstock Park (3-0) at Allendale (3-0), Caledonia (2-1) at Grandville (2-1), Hartford (3-0) at Saugatuck (2-1), Shelby (3-0) at Montague (2-1).
Southwest and Border
Portage Northern (3-0) at St. Joseph (3-0)
St. Joseph had similar aspirations a year ago after a 3-0 start – then fell 7-0 to Portage Northern in Week 4 and missed the playoffs with a final 5-4 record. This season’s run has included more impressive victories over Battle Creek Harper Creek and Stevensville Lakeshore, and vengeance no doubt is on the Bears’ minds.
Others that caught my eye: Decatur (3-0) at Gobles (1-2), Stevensville Lakeshore (2-1) at Portage Central (3-0), Quincy (2-1) at Jonesville (3-0), Otsego (2-1) at Plainwell (3-0).
Bay and Thumb
Saginaw Arthur Hill (3-0) at Midland (3-0)
The most impressive part of Arthur Hill’s start is that it includes wins over 2012 playoff teams Goodrich and Bay City Western – on top of the fact the Lumberjacks went 0-9, 3-6, 1-8 and 1-8, respectively, since their last playoff appearance in 2008. This game will be the true measuring stick as Midland has been the class of the Saginaw Valley Association with 15 straight league wins and the North division championship last season.
Others that caught my eye: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (3-0) at Flint Powers Catholic (2-1), Lawrence (2-0) at Peck (3-0), Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port (3-0) at Unionville-Sebewaing (3-0), Almont (3-0) at Richmond (2-1).
Greater Detroit and Southeast
Southfield (2-1) at Oak Park (3-0)
Little has slowed Oak Park over the last two seasons, and wins already this fall over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Rochester Adams are proof the Knights will be back in the mix in the Oakland Activities Association White. Southfield should be too – and would love to get a strong start to a string that follows with Farmington Hills Harrison, Oxford and Adams.
Others that caught my eye: Saline (3-0) at Ann Arbor Pioneer (2-1), Orchard Lake St. Mary's (2-1) at Detroit U-D Jesuit (3-0), Grosse Ile (3-0) at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (3-0), Warren DeLaSalle (2-1) at Birmingham Brother Rice (3-0).
DeWitt (3-0) at Ionia (3-0)
This might not seem like much of a game considering the teams’ recent histories – but don’t expect the Panthers to overlook the rejuvenated Bulldogs, who have equaled their most wins in a season since 2006, the last they qualified for the playoffs. Ionia already has scored 125 points after totaling just 200 a year ago, and the defense has been pretty solid as well.
Others that caught my eye: Fowler (2-1) at Bath (2-1), Grand Blanc (2-1) at Brighton (2-1), Holt (1-2) at Lansing Everett (3-0), Carson City-Crystal (3-0) at Vestaburg (3-0).
Lower Up North
Grayling (3-0) at Traverse City St. Francis (2-1)
This arguably (but with little argument) was the best rivalry in the Lake Michigan Conference – although Grayling’s first win in their 10 games against each other didn’t come until last season after the Gladiators had left the conference for football. St. Francis can break the Vikings’ 12-game regular-season winning streak, dating to the Gladiators’ 20-19 win over Grayling in Week 9 of 2011.
Others that caught my eye: Elk Rapids (2-1) at Charlevoix (1-2), Whittemore-Prescott (3-0) at Standish-Sterling (3-0), Petoskey (2-1) at Traverse City West (2-1), Rogers City (2-1) at Hillman (2-1).
Marquette (3-0) at Escanaba (0-3)
Escanaba obviously is off to a rough start, and Marquette has opened with three wins over 2012 playoff teams. But an intriguing side note to this game, in addition to being a Great Northern Conference opener, is one of the coaches on the Marquette sideline – Dan Flynn, formerly Escanaba’s coach from 1985-2011, is in his first season as an assistant with the Redmen. They’re looking to beat the Eskymos for the first time since 2010.
Others that caught my eye: Ishpeming Westwood (0-3) at Ishpeming (3-0), Iron Mountain (1-2) at Negaunee (3-0), Bessemer (3-0) at Lake Linden Hubbell (1-2), Stephenson (2-1) at Felch North Dickinson (3-0).
PHOTO: Saginaw Arthur Hill (in blue) defeated Goodrich on opening night and is in pursuit of its first 4-0 start since 2008. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)