By Trevor Austin
Two of the area’s more successful high school football programs will be clashing on Friday night when the host Muskegon Catholic Central Crusaders welcome the Ravenna Bulldogs to Kehren Stadium.
Both schools have multiple district, region and state titles. In fact, Muskegon Catholic has one of the more storied programs in the state, not just in Muskegon County.
Something has to give on Friday night when the Crusaders (9-1) take on the Bulldogs (7-3) with a district title on the line.
“I love playing at home,” MCC coach Steve Czerwon said. “The players love it. The fans love it. My wife loves it. You work all year to have it. It provides a sense of routine and being comfortable.”
The Crusaders know the post season well and have clinched a total of 13 state titles, six of which have been won since 2006. And even though Ravenna has made the playoffs the last couple years, Czerwon knows the post season is a new season and can be anyone’s time on any given day.
“Both teams know what is at stake,” said Czerwon.
Last week, both the Crusaders and the Bulldogs got a playoff game under their belt as MCC routed Delton Kellogg 54-6 and the Bulldogs escaped a pesky North Muskegon team. That 7-6 outcome will work in Ravenna’s favor, according to Coach Justin Ego.
“We had a high-pressure moment at the end there, but now the kids have seen and felt it and overcame it,” said Ego. “Moving forward, they will have confidence in that position again.
“On top of that, we did not execute at times and the kids realize we put ourselves in that position by not doing so,” said Ego. “Hopefully they realize the urgency that each play has. We need to execute everything we do.”
The Bulldogs know of Muskegon Catholic’s tradition and coaching staff. MCC’s multiple formations gives most team fits and Ravenna knows it must adjust on the fly.
“Kids buy in and do their job really well at Muskegon Catholic,” Ego said. “They stress the little things that make big impacts on the game. Offensively they are tough up front and have some athletes that they put in good positions to make plays.
“Defensively, they have Coach Ribecky,” Ego said. “What else can you say? He’s one of the best to do it. The kids love playing for him and it shows.”
On the other hand, Coach Czerwon recognizes what the Bulldogs do well.
“They run veer on offense and have some explosive players,” Czerwon said. “Defensively they have held some very good teams to low scores.”