NOVAK: Fall fun not over just yet for area football teams

Published 9:27 am Friday, November 16, 2018

This has been a magical fall sports season for several of our area teams.

From all-state cross country runners to state semifinalists in football, the 2018 fall sports year has been one for the ages.

And I do not believe it is over just yet.

On Saturday, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg will continue their search not only for perfection, but for state football championships.

Both face strong challenges from outstanding football teams, but I have a feeling when all is said and done on Saturday afternoon in Jackson and Vicksburg, the Rangers and Eddies will be making plans to visit Detroit Thanksgiving weekend.

I wish I could clone myself so I can see both games, but as that is not possible, I will have to live with my decision to cover the Eddies in their rematch of last year’s state championship game against Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Last year’s title game was the best of the final weekend at Ford Field and I expect Saturday’s contest in Vicksburg to be every bit as thrilling.

I give the Eddies the edge this season because they are better in many areas and now they have that experience of playing the Cougars, who are still a talented and dangerous football team, but not quite as good due to some key graduation losses.

For the second time in three years, Cassopolis is in Jackson at Tony Dungey Field to play for a spot in the state finals.

The Rangers have the experience and the talent to defeat a very good Madison Heights Madison.

The difference between this year’s Cassopolis team and the previous few years is size up front.

And while the Rangers are not huge along the offensive and defensive lines, they are bigger than previous years.

They are also much quicker and more physical, which could help them finally take that next step on to Detroit.

I would love nothing more than to spend two days in Detroit next weekend.

The finals schedule sets up perfectly for me as the Eddies would be the final game on Friday night, while the Rangers would play the first game Saturday morning.

I want to wish both teams good luck on Saturday.

It has been a pleasure to cover these teams all season. Both have great coaching staffs, talented players and communities that back them 100 percent.

That was never more obvious than last Saturday when both communities came out in force to clear the snow off Williams F. Scott and Leo Hoffman fields in Cassopolis and Edwardsburg respectively.

The fields, while not perfect, were not a factor in either game due to the hard work put in by everyone from school administrators, school groups, students, coaches and community members.

You should be proud of what you accomplished in order to give your teams a chance to play on a surface that held up nicely despite being soaked from rain and snow.

I expect both communities to travel well this weekend in support of their squads.

Cheer loudly and proudly for the Rangers and the Eddies. They have earned it.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at