Can you believe we're already a third of the way through the regular season? It's early still, but already contenders are beginning to separate from the rest -- especially in leagues where teams' entire schedules are filled with league opponents, like the Central Michigan Athletic Conference.
1. Pewamo-Westphalia 15, Fowler 14: This is the kind of score we should see most years from one of mid-Michigan's oldest and best rivalries.
2. Grand Ledge 14, Sexton 0: The Comets' big-time defense came up with a big-time performance in a game that could help determine the CAAC Blue championship.
3. Haslett 16, Owosso 13: The Vikings needed to win this one for a few reasons after starting 0-2, and Owosso is no easy win this fall.
4. Alma 28, Saginaw Swan Valley 27: The Panthers reaffirmed themselves as TVC Central contenders with this overtime win.
Game ball: Alma running back Dylan Brown rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries.
Upset alert: Nothing stuck out. Let me know if I'm missing something by posting below.
WOW factor: With DeWitt's 28-0 win over Ionia, Panthers coach Rob Zimmerman became the winningest coach in school history with 120 victories (to go with 28 losses), passing Gail Thornton.
Three more than caught my eye:
1. Okemos 21, Everett 14: The Chieftains survived against a dangerous Everett team to remain undefeated.
2. Olivet 31, Constantine 14: The Eagles reaffirmed themselves as KVA contenders and should push Battle Creek Pennfield for the title.
3. Holt 24, Eastern 6: After struggling offensively for most of their first two games, both losses, the Rams scored 21 points in the fourth quarter of this one to get into the win column.
Final Five from the game I covered: P-W 15, Fowler 14
1. Choosing between covering this game and the Grand Ledge/Sexton matchup was a toughie, but the trip to Westphalia was plenty worth it. Sloppy at times, this game had just about everything from a long kickoff return to last-minute drama. Save the jokes about the players all having one of six last names; the best part is how much these communities have been connected by family ties and others for generations.
2. The question when watching two of our area's smaller schools always is how would they do against the area's bigger teams in the CAAC. Although other years they might have a shot, I'm not sure either has enough depth to contend in the CAAC White, for example. But both have a number of players who would be significant for anyone. Pewamo-Westphalia linebacker Gavin Smith is a college player with a mean streak to go with his 6-foot-2, 205-pound build. Pirates running back Alex Thelen and quarterback Justin Thelen are great athletes, as are Fowler backs Tyler Koenigsknecht and Mitch Thelen and quarterback Dustin Wirth. Eagles senior Blake Snyder and junior Cameron Bongard stuck out up front.
3. Smith is the best of the CMAC's linebackers this season, and Koenigsknecht likely will step into that role when he graduates. Both were all over the field Friday.
4. Fowler is 1-2 with losses both by a point, and with Laingsburg and Fulton still coming up. Still, I see the Eagles finishing 7-2, although 5-4 likely would make the playoffs. P-W is one of three undefeated teams in the CMAC. The Pirates face Saranac on Sept. 23, and that could be the decider.
5. P-W opened its new stadium about halfway through last decade, and it's a hidden gem among mid-Michigan's best. Sitting between the two towns that make up the district, it rises up from the surrounding fields. The grass was perfect. The corn growing up into darkness behind makes for an incredible backdrop. It's "Field of Dreamsish" to be sure. A great place to watch a game.