Local football teams aim for strong season start

Football Frenzy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Thursday marks one week until Football Frenzy kicks off for the season, and any coach will tell you how much a victory in the first week can jumpstart a successful year.

East Grand Rapids is a program accustomed to winning early and winning often, but this year they’ll start a new quarterback after three-year starter Mike Malewitz graduated. Head coach Casey Longo said it will take more than one player to replace that much talent and experience.

Still, Long said the team is equipped to prevent a dropoff after last year’s 9-1 finish.

“Our defense has always been stout. Our offense does have some nice things, as well. We’re just trying to do what we can with what we have and we always want to have a defense that flies to the football and offensively I think we’ll have some things where we can run the ball,” Longo said. “There’s a standard that was set years and years and years ago. Seniors do a good job of teaching it to the juniors, juniors to the sophomores, sophomores to the freshmen. These kids grow up in elementary school wanting to be an East Grand Rapids Pioneer. That’s something we have going for us, certainly.”

At Portage Northern, crews are putting the finishing touches on the team’s new stadium.

The Huskies have a great tradition, but until now they’ve had to share a field with their rivals from Portage Central. Now they have one of their own. Their first home game is scheduled for Aug. 24 versus Loy Norrix.

“As a Portage Northern football player, if you need to get fired up for the first game in the history of your high school at home, there might be something wrong with you,” head coach Pete Schermerhorn said. “For 53 years, we were on another field and this is our opportunity to host a game for the first time ever. The kids are excited, the coaches are excited and the community is excited.”

The first Frenzy of the season is Aug. 23, and we’ll be highlighting Forest Hill Central at Jenison, Stevensville Lakeshore at West Ottawa and Three Rivers at Plainwell. On Aug. 24, we’re spotlighting Warren De La Salle at Muskegon, Loyola (Ill.) at Rockford and West Catholic at Lumen Christi.

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