GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It was the best conference in all of West Michigan in 2012 and the OK White figures to be equally as strong this season. Here is a preview:
GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN
The Eagles won the division 3 state championship in 2012, and Christian High appears ready to defend their title. It was the offense that led the way a year ago with Alex VandeVusse at quarterback and Drake Harris at receiver. VandeVusse has graduated, but in steps Jenison transfer Tyler Sigler, it’s hard to say that GRC won’t miss a beat but they should still be really good. Sam Kuiper returns along side Harris at the receiver position, and left tackle Tommy Doles is also back. On defense, the Eagles return a bunch of starters from a year ago and the hope is that side of the ball will be greatly improved this season. Christian begins the season as league favorite in a group full of contenders.
The Red Arrows are never short on talent, and 2013 will certainly be no exception. Lowell finished 2nd to Christian in 2012 and was carried by a great defense. 2013 should see an improved offense as that side of the ball returns quite a few starters led by quarterback Kyler Shurlow who moved under center from receiver during the 2012 season. On defense, junior Josh Colgrove begins his 3rd season on varsity and will be extremely tough to block all season.
The Fighting Scots made it all the way to division 2 semifinals in 2012, but they graduated a really good class of players. On offense there is some rebuilding to do but the offensive line has a chance to be good with 2 starters back. The defense should have a strong linebacking core with 3 players returning who saw significant playing time last season. The junior class is strong, they were unbeaten on junior varsity last season.
FOREST HILLS CENTRAL
The Rangers just missed the playoffs in 2012 going 5-4. There are not a lot of returners who saw significant playing time last year and FHC did not have a junior varsity team last season. Look for 2-way starter Alek VanVossen to be a key player for the Rangers this season.
EAST GRAND RAPIDS
The Pioneers missed the playoffs last year for the 1st time since 2000 which was head coach Peter Stuursma’s first season as coach. East did win their final 2 games last season including a 37-14 win over division 2 semifinalist Caledonia in week 9. The offense will be experienced with junior Mikey Roth returning after splitting time under center last season. EGR also returns 3 starting offensive lineman from a year ago. Expect a return to the postseason for East Grand Rapids in 2013.
The Wildcats did not win a game last season and haven’t had a winning season since 2005. Athletic Director Todd Kolster has taken over as head coach, Kolster led Grand Rapids Catholic Central to the division 4 state title in his 1st year there in 2010. Jenison does return 9 starters from a year ago led by 2-way starter Tristan Matthews (WR/CB).