Beaverton, Clare to Clash for Jack Pine Title
BEAVERTON – The Jack Pine Conference championship will once again be decided by Beaverton and Clare.
The two sides enter Friday’s meeting at Beaverton with identical 6-0 overall records and tied atop the Jack Pine standings at 5-0 with two league games remaining. Both have already beaten second-place teams Sanford Meridian and Harrison.
A year ago, Beaverton and Clare shared the Jack Pine title with Roscommon, giving the Beavers their second league championship and first since winning the Jack Pine outright in 1989.
“It’s a big week. Conference championship. Playoff atmosphere,” Clare senior Shane Jenkins said. “They’ve (Beaverton) been good. Two years ago, the same thing happened with the championship down in Beaverton. Crazy game. Last year was a good game, too. They were both good. Both years have been good all year and once again this year.”
“We’ve kind of been expecting for the conference to come down to this game all year and I think every week we try to ramp it up in practice,” Beaverton senior Jacob Cassiday said. “It’s kind of coming down to this, so we want to bring it up another whole notch this week.”
Clare has long been the dominant football program in the Jack Pine, winning at least a share of 19 conference championships since 1991. The Pioneers own a 37-4 record against the Beavers since 1950 and have won 29 consecutive meetings in the series. Beaverton’s last win came in 1990 with 15-12 victory.
“We’ve always kind of been going at it every year,” Cassiday said. “They’ve had the advantage obviously. I think they beat us 29 years in a row, so hopefully we can change things around this year.”
“We’ve had a number of unfortunate streaks the last few years that we’ve been able to do something about,” added Beaverton coach Aaron Seiser. “It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of buy in. It takes a lot of commitment from everybody to get over some humps. Of course, if this is a huge hump. We’d be extremely excited if we’re able to do this.”
With playoff spots already secured for both teams, Friday’s game will serve as a postseason primer. Clare is currently an honorable mention in the latest Associated Press Division 5 rankings while Beaverton is an honorable mention in Division 7.
“From a coaching standpoint, I’m sure Aaron (Seiser) would say the same thing, each game, each week’s different and scores don’t mean anything,” Clare coach Kelly Luplow said. “Beaverton’s a physical team and we’re working at that.”
Following this week’s game, Beaverton travels to Gladwin next Friday while Clare visits Farwell to close to JPC play.