In the not so distant past, the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference has had it's struggles in the playoffs against the OK Conference. This season, the conference has already had a better showing, but has a golden opportunity to show it's metal this weekend.
The SMAC West had lost seven straight postseason matchups with OK Conference before Laakeshore (11-0) topped Hamilton last week. Both Mattawan and Lakeshore lost in the first round last season to OK Conference foes.
Lakeshore's win over Hamilton (6-5) last week was nice, but nothing like the opportunity they are presented with this week when they host Grand Rapids Christian (10-1) Saturday at 1 pm. Sure the Lancers are undefeated, but the Eagles have to considered the favorite in this game after scroing 68 points in a district final win over defending division 4 state champion Zeeland West.
The game features a pair of quarterbacks playing at a very high level. Johnny Nate of Lakeshore threw for 198 yards and a touchdowns and also ran for a score last week and Alex VanDeVusse of Grand Rapids Christian who had 8 touchdowns (4 passsing, 4 rushing) in the win over Zeeland West.
Mattawan (10-1) hosts Caledonia (8-3) in a division 3 regional final Friday night. The Wildcats lost their playoff opener last season to Muskegon, but have won a pair postseason games this year and seem to be playing at a very high level.
The Fighting Scots finished in a 3-way tie for 3rd place in the OK White this season, but find themselves in the regional finals for the first time since 2006.
This is an interesting matchup between the high powered wing-t offense of Mattawan and a stingy defense of Caledonia.
The Wildcats ran for over 600 yards two weeks ago against Battle Creek Lakeview and last week fullback Brok Lamorandier ran for over 200 yards against Portage Central. The Wildcats have been led in rushing all season by running back Trevor Sweeney who ran for 125 yards and 2 td's last week as well.
Caledonia has played a brutally tough schedule and their stats don't stand out as much because their competition is so good, but they have a really good defense led by Adam Walma and Heath Hoogerhyde.
I believe that the OK White Conference is best in West Michigan, the SMAC can prove me wrong this weekend.