Road to the Dome: Suttons Bay, Pickford Host Send-off Rallies

The communities of Suttons Bay and Pickford hosted send-off rallies Friday morning as the Norsemen and Panthers embarked on their trips to the Superior Dome at Northern Michigan University in Marquette for Saturday’s MHSAA 8-player football state finals.

Suttons Bay (12-0) is making its first state finals appearance since reaching the 2004 Division 6 state title game and will face Colon (12-0) in the Division 1 game at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Norsemen will travel 300 miles and just over five hours to reach the NMU’s campus while the Magi have a nearly 7.5 hour drive and more than 470 miles on their trip.

“Our community has helped fund this entire thing, actually,” Suttons Bay senior Bryce Opie said. “We started a GoFundMe and we needed to raise money for this because we didn’t have enough money here to support the football team to take us up to states. Our community really backed us. They’ve been backing us all year. Then to come out in all the weather. All the cold games. Rainy games. All the awful weather. They’ve showed a lot of support this year.”

The GoFundMe page organized by Suttons Bay has raised $6,500, exceeding the goal set by $2,000.

Pickford (11-1) is back at the Superior Dome for a second straight year, taking on Portland St. Patrick (12-0) in the Division 2 final at 2 p.m. Saturday.

At right around 175 miles and just under three hours, the Panthers have the shortest trip of the four teams competing this weekend, while their opponent, the Shamrocks, will travel nearly 6.5 hours and 400 miles to reach their destination.

“We take this seriously,” Pickford football fan Tom Ball said. “Pickford’s football program has been excelling every year. This is kind of a 15- or 16-year run that’s going to end up with the state championship. The whole town is behind them.”

Categories: Football