FNV Guide to Best Games of 2023

By Frank Vajcner and Gary Hauf

Before we release our picks for week 1, Gary and I will offer you another tasty appetizer in our guide to the best games of 2023 in the blog coverage area.

We broke games down into two categories:

  • Must-See Game: This is the early favorite for our Game of the Week.
  • Under the Radar: Not as much hype, but still has some interesting storylines.

Week 1:

Must-See Game: Airport @ Carlson. Two programs coming off of strong seasons with expectations to go even higher in 2023. And you can also call it a Huron League Reunion, as both teams were in the Huron League until Carlson left after the 1992 season.

Under the Radar: Erie Mason @ Jefferson. Hello from the other side. The first game of the Rob Beaudrie era will have him facing his old team. The seniors from Erie Mason were coached by Beaudrie as freshmen in 2020. The Bears will be looking to avenge a close loss to the Eagles last season. Throw in that Eagles’ head coach Steve Bowers will face his former boss, and this could be juicy.

Honorable Mention: Warren Collegiate @ SMCC. The Cougars may have taken the opener last season, but the last time they came to Navarre Field the result was the Falcons winning big in the 2019 postseason.

Honorable Mention: Flat Rock @ Dundee: This was another that I couldn’t leave off, as it is another playoff rematch. Dundee will be christening a new turf field, and fans will be treated to a battle between two junior QBs in the Vikings’ Ryan Zanger and the Rams’ Graham Junge.

Week 2:

Must see Game: Riverview @ Airport. This early season match-up will have major implications for the league Crown. The Jets have not beaten Riverview since 2012.

Under the Radar: Ida @ Whiteford. This could have been in the must see category. Both teams have their sights set high… league title, state tourney run. The Woods will be on fire in this one.

Week 3:

Must-See Game: Airport @ Flat Rock. The Jets kept “The Jug” in a thriller last season. The Rams will be looking for their first win in the series since 2017.

Under the Radar: Clinton @ Ida. These two teams have met four times in the last two seasons, but there won’t be a sixth, as they are in different divisions. Ida will look to end a three-game skid to the Red Wolves.

Week 4:

Must see Game: Saline @ Bedford. Bedford knocked off Saline in 2022, ending a very long streak of SEC wins for the Hornets. Can the Kicking Mules do it again?

Under the Radar: Airport @ SMCC. This game has upset alert written all over it. I do suspect Airport will be ready however.

Week 5:

Must-See Game: Flat Rock @ Riverview. Provided that both teams survive tests against Airport, this could be where the Huron League gets decided. The last win for the Rams at Don Lessner Field came in 2017.

Under the Radar: Southgate Anderson @ Gibraltar Carlson. The Marauders will be looking to avenge a loss to the Titans, who appear to be back on the map.

Week 6:

Must See Game: Dundee @ Clinton. This should be a great game. Clinton is a tough place to play, most teams come away with an “L”. I give the Vikings a real chance in this one.

Under the Radar: Carlson @ Trenton. Big time match-up in the Down River League. Trenton knocked Carlson out of the playoffs in 2022. Revenge is on the mind for the Marauders.

Week 7:

Must-See Game: Reading @ Whiteford. These two teams have met twice in the postseason, with the Rangers getting the win both times on their home field. This time, it’s the Bobcats who get home-field. The Woods will be raucous for this one.

Under the Radar: Blissfield @ Ida. The Royals stunned the Blue Streaks in the final seconds last season. Can Ida avenge one that got away?

Week 8:

Must See Game: Huron @ Flat Rock. This is always a fun game. A big time rivalry that has been rather even recently. Huron holds the edge 6-4 over the last ten years.

Under the radar: Bedford @ Monroe. This could have playoff implications for the Trojans. The Golden Cleat will be on the line.

Week 9:

Must-See Game: Ida @ Dundee. I know that I have been banging this drum for the last couple of years, but PLEASE, LCAA scheduling powers, I beseech thee. Keep the Backyard Brawl in Week 9!!!! The last three meetings have been decided by a combined seven points, and having been on both sides of this rivalry, it is always a must-see.

Under the Radar: Riverview @ Monroe: Besides the entertaining smack talk in the comments, both teams will be pounding each other with the football, and looking to lock up some playoff points in the last week of the season.

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11 thoughts on “FNV Guide to Best Games of 2023”

  1. Excited for this season. I’ve prayed ALL our kids stay safe. This is a game they LOVE!!
    Have to add…GO RAMS!! 🤗🤷‍♀️💚💛

  2. Why you guys gotta put all this pressure on Airport? Game of the week first 3 weeks c’mon man? Seriously though having all these big games early should be fun. We will know within the first couple games just how good Airport is. I think they are up to the challenge but then again I’m pretty biased.

    1. Because they start their season with probably the most intriguing noncon game in the region, then start league play with the 2 of the front-runners for the HL. I don’t think it’s pressure, it’s just a fact. Would you say the same if Riverview was game of the week for week 6 and Flat Rock week 9? It’s just how the schedule works out.

    2. I think they will be great as well. I think every player and coach wants to be in big games like this. As for us putting pressure on them? That really makes no sense to me. Kids aren’t dumb. They know they have a nice team this year and high expectations. They also know, about Carlson, Riverview and Flat Rock. Any pressure on Airport was put on themselves the moment they looked at the 2023 schedule and thought about their own goals.

      1. Hey Chris I was completely being sarcastic when I made that comment about putting pressure on them. I for one can’t wait to watch all those good games on back to back to back weeks. If you took it the wrong way I apologize.

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