The following is the entire, unedited press release sent to us this morning from Mona Shores High School Athletic Director Ryan Portenga regarding recent news Mona Shores would not be renewing its season-opening rivalry football game with Muskegon Catholic:

The matchup between Muskegon Catholic Central and Mona Shores is one that many would love to see continue. It’s a great game, a solid rivalry, and something our two school communities look forward to every year.

However, as Sailor football continues to take steps forward (with 8 returning starters on defense and 6 on offense and an unbelievably talented crop of juniors entering the varsity fold), there simply aren’t enough playoff points on the board to warrant a contest against a Class D school if the end result is to make a strong Division 2 playoff push. Obviously, we know the Crusaders play the game of football much stronger than their classification, but – as Sailor Nation learned through this past year’s playoff run – there is little reward should Shores win.

Simply put, our jobs as administrators and coaches is to look out for the best interest of our programs and our student-athletes who participate in them. Although some people are disappointed in this announcement, our athletes fully understand that our annual priorities start with winning our league, earning home field advantage in the playoffs, and making a drive toward Ford Field. Beating the Crusaders each year simply does not trump these three goals.

When the Sailors and Crusaders first started playing each other, Catholic Central’s enrollment was substantially higher and an MHSAA postseason didn’t exist. Times have changed considerably on both ends…

Starting in 2015, Mona Shores will enter an agreement with Class A West Ottawa High School and our office is considering a number of Class A opponents to fill the void for 2014.

As a neighboring school in Muskegon County, Mona Shores wishes Muskegon Catholic Central the best of luck moving forward in this year’s Division 8 playoff run and in future campaigns. Most importantly, we would like to thank them for a tremendous run on the football field over the past half a century.


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