TC Central, West Prep for Historic Meeting

TRAVERSE CITY – For the first time in the history of the Traverse City Central-West rivalry, the two teams will square off for a district championship.

The 23rd meeting between the rivals serves as our final Overtime on the Road matchup of the 2017 season and marks the second straight year that the two sides have met in the postseason.

“It’s exciting,” Central coach Eric Schugars said of Friday’s Division 2 district championship game. “It’s something that we thought might have happened, and now we get the opportunity to play for a district championship, and play at home in front of your home fans at Thirlby Field, and it happens to be against a familiar foe and that just adds more to it.”

A win on Friday would give Central its first postseason title of any form since winning the 1988 Class A state championship, while West is seeking its first district title and third playoff win in program history.

“Yeah, that’s your goal, right, is to play at Ford Field for a state championship,” West coach Tim Wooer said. “That’s what you talk about in August. The thing about this group last Friday is they won a playoff game and we had our little huddle, and there were a few smiles, but they just knew that there was a game next week. If things go right I totally expect them to do the same thing and say alright who are we playing next.”

“Our goal is to win in the playoffs and to win onto the next game, and that’s kind of cliché,” Schugars added. “The next step for us is to win a district championship.”

Friday’s meeting is the second of the year for the Traverse City schools, with West snapping a four-game skid in the series with a 29-27 win back in Week 3. West leads the all-time series at 13-9.

With both teams picking up wins over Midland schools in pre-districts week ago, the Titans and Trojans believe they’re playing their best football at the right time.

“We came out with an attitude that we haven’t really had throughout the entire season, so I think that was the biggest thing,” Central senior Dylan Liggett said. “We just executed all around. Defense was doing good, offense…everything was good.”

“I think we’re definitely holding each other together,” added West senior Cole Barbee. “The chemistry is a big part in that. We really trust each other, and it’s just really big for our success.”

The winner of Friday’s matchup will face either Muskegon Mona Shores or Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central next week for a regional title.

Categories: Football