Like GR Catholic Central’s program preaches, on any given down, a player’s contribution is just 1/11th of the whole and whether the play succeeds or fails. But given game situations or personnel matchups, the collision of some 2/22nds can be hard to miss. Here are some playoff games where talented players will have their respective teams going strength-on-strength.
Cody Brainard (Hopkins) vs.
Daniel Green (West Catholic)
Cody Brainard starts at guard, an athletic hitter as a 6-1, 270 senior and crucial to Hopkins’ dominant ground game. He’ll face his toughest test yet in Daniel Green, a 6-0, 290 senior defensive tackle for West Catholic who can overpower or slip past blockers.
Marcus Lambert (Zeeland West) vs.
Spencer Viening (Zeeland East)
These star junior running backs partnered with talented senior backs during the regular season, but now face different scenarios. Viening’s fellow 1,000-yard rusher, senior Josh Blauwkamp, broke his leg in the Zeeland East’s win over Muskegon. Meanwhile Lambert has been going with senior Braden Werley not as another running back, where he gave Zeeland West balance with his tough running between tackles and receiving, but as the ball-handling QB of the Dux’ wing-T. Lambert, 5-11, 185, has run for 1,524 yards and 16 TDs, while Viening, 6-0, 215, has 1,290 yards and 20 TDs on the ground. Lambert is a threat to break a long one whenever he touches the ball, while it’s Viening’s his second time over 1,000 yards. Both play linebacker as well, so will be able to appreciate each other’s work up close.
Heath Hoogerhyde & Justin Krueger (Caledonia) vs.
Max Cummings & Jacob Littles (Swartz Creek)
Cummings and Littles are a prolific receiving combo for Swartz Creek QB Jaylen Schoenfield. They’ve both caught 11 TDs. Cummings has 55 receptions for 1,170 yards. He’s 6-3, 170, but Hoogerhyde has size at 6-1, 210, and the senior has already matched up successfully with big receivers like Grand Rapids Christian’s Drake Harris and Forest Hills Central. He’s made seven interceptions. Krueger is a more typically sized high school DB, a 5-9, 165 senior.
Carter Lee & Trevor Apsey (Glen Lake) vs.
Corey Redman & Malik Smith (Boyne City)
Lee and Redman are the starting quarterbacks, and two-year AAU basketball teammates with Parallel 45. Both are system-oriented, while Lee, a junior, is athletic enough to project to another position in college and Redman, a 6-4, 170 soph, would be mentioned with the other terrific 2015 QB prospects if he hadn’t already committed to CMU for basketball. Apsey, a 5-11, 185 junior, has emerged as one of the top running back prospects in the North. He’s more of a game-breaker, while Smith, like Redman only a sophomore, is more of a move-the-chains runner. Even when Glen Lake was self-destructing in their only loss of the season, to North Muskegon, Apsey provided a bright moment with a 75-yard TD run.
Nick Swore (NorthPointe Christian) vs.
Drew Marion (Lake City)
Two of the Lake’s top five 2014 QB prospects are found in Division 7 of all places, and square off at Lake City. 6-2, 185 junior Nick Swore battled injuries earlier in the year, but he’s healthy and one of the reasons NorthPointe rallied from a 1-3 start to make the playoffs. He’s also a standout defensive back. Other than against Beal City, Marion, a 6-2, 190 junior, has had another strong season. He can beat you with his arm or running the ball.