GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time in Jenison’s history, their senior high school’s varsity football team will host a football team from Canada.
Jenison will play St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School at David McKenzie Stadium starting at 7 p.m. Friday.
More Catholic is a team from Hamilton, Ontario. The team ranked number one in Canada in 2007, 2017, and 2018. They were Provincial Bowl Champions in 2006, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Jenison’s Athletic Director Tim Ritsema told News 8 a high school football team from Canada tries to come down once a year to play an international game with a school either from Michigan or Ohio. That’s where Ritsema got the idea from.
The wildcats needed an opponent for their week two game, and Ritsema said More Catholic would be a good match up.
“We want to win. Obviously, that’s our number one. But honestly, it’s also to give our kids just a different experience,” said Ritsema. “It’ll be a hard-hitting game, I’m sure. They’re a really good team but at the end of the day, after the game, they can sit together and talk about each other’s’ experiences in high school and football. You know, maybe form a friendship or two.”
The game will be a played a bit different than what More Catholic is used to. There are different rules in the United States versus Canada when it comes to how football is played.
In Canada, it’s three downs to get a first down. They play with a longer and wider field; they also play with 12 players on the field at a time instead of 11.
Jenison High Schools’ Head Football Coach Rob Zeitman said hosting a team from Canada is a great opportunity for the school district.
He said although winning would be great, in the end, that’s not all this game is about.
“This really isn’t an opportunity to say you know the United States is better than Canada or Canada is better than the United States,” said Zeitman. “It’s more of just two neighborhood rivals coming together in sport.”
After the game, the teams will have the chance to enjoy a pizza party. Jenison also provided tickets to More Catholic for the Michigan State vs Western game Saturday.