By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – Muskegon Catholic Central High School Athletic Director Erich Adams confirmed Wednesday the football contract with rival Mona Shores has not been renewed for 2014.
The Crusaders own a 35-14-1 all-time advantage over the Sailors in the series’ history, although Mona Shores has split the last ten games with the Crusaders, including this year’s 25-16 win over MCC.
“The reports are true,” said Adams. “ I was notified by (Mona Shores Athletic Director) Ryan Portenga last week.”
Adams said the series cancellation was initiated “by them and was their decision alone,” said Adams.
When asked, Portenga declined to comment on the situation, citing respect for Catholic’s current playoff run.
MCC head football coach Steve Czerwon said he isn’t happy about the recent turn of events.
“I think it’s short-sighted,” said Czerwon of the Sailors’ decision. “I honestly don’t think they wanted to play our 2014 team.”
Adams confirmed the two schools had previously signed a contract to play next season. Now Catholic, which joins next year the Lakes 8 Conference, will need to find another team to fill its 2014 Week 1 game slate.
“We’ve started to think about who’ll we can line up for next year,” said Czerwon. “We’re going to feel it out. We really hope to find a local team to play that opening week.”
After next year, MCC has confirmed a verbal agreement to play Traverse City St. Francis in Week 1 starting in 2015.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Czerwon, about the prospect of facing the Gladiators to kick off the season. “But, it’s a few years away so we’re not really focused on that just yet.”
“We have a tremendous relationship with TC St. Francis and have nothing but a great amount of respect for their coaches, fans, administration, and students,” said Adams. “We are also looking forward to offering our families the opportunity to vacation in Traverse City over the Holiday weekend every other year.”
Despite that, Adams admitted the school is disappointed the football rivalry with Shores is, at the very least, on hiatus.
“We would have liked to see the rivalry continue,” Adams admitted. “But as always, (we) have respect for our opponents and their decisions.”