Inland Lakes, Onaway Renew Rivalry in Season Opener for Sports Overtime Game of the Week

INDIAN RIVER – Inland Lakes and Onaway will face off for the first time since the 2014 season opener for another week one matchup this year on Friday night at Shanley Field in Indian River for the Sports Overtime Game of the Week.

The pair also meet for the first time as members of the Ski Valley Conference, with Inland Lakes joining the conference this season.

The Bulldogs and Cardinals have history, with the programs renewing an old rivalry that dates back to 1970. With the schools just 20 minutes down the road from one another, there is considerable hype around this upcoming matchup.

“We didn’t get to play them last year and they were winning a lot of games and so we weren’t able to see who was better who was not so this is really going to settle a lot of stuff,” said Inland Lakes senior Mason Blumke.

“To go play with the Ski Valley schools, renew some rivalries, like this one with Onaway, be able to you know, play the school that’s 10 miles down the road. This is good old fashioned rivalry football and we’re really excited to start out that way,” said Inland Lakes head football coach Travis Meyer.

Inland Lakes had a disappointing end to its historic season in 2020. After snapping a 22-game losing streak in their opening contest against Charlton Heston, the Bulldogs went on to win the program’s first regional title after Pickford was forced to forfeit due to COVID-19.

It was the program’s second ever playoff win and first since 1995 in 11-man.

Then COVID-19 hit Inland Lakes ahead of its state semifinals game with Suttons Bay, forcing the team to forfeit and end its season with a record of 8-2. Now fresh off their farthest postseason sun in history, the Bulldogs are pumped to rekindle their rivalry with Onaway.

“We have a lot of unsettled business and it’s still I think fueling all of us so we just want to get right back out on that football field and finish it,” said Blumke.

For the Onaway Cardinals, they made the move to 8-Man in 2015 and saw their most successful season a year ago posting a 6-1 finish, trip to playoffs and a share of the Ski Valley Conference title with Pellston.

The team is still seeking their first playoff win since the 1976 Class C state semifinals.

After losing its regional first round game to Newberry a season ago, Onaway now looks to build off 2020’s success and kick off the year on a high note in its game against Inland Lakes.

“This is huge because we haven’t played Indian River in years, and we’re both coming off of pretty successful seasons. We both teams lost quite a bit of seniors and starters, neither of us really know what each other is going to look like, so it’ll be interesting,” said Onaway junior Hudson Decker.

“It’s down the road, obviously they’re a conference matchup,” said Onaway head football coach Steve Klinge. “It is a rivalry because it was in the past and kids still know and your parents were their rivals and so the whole town’s excited, everybody’s excited so that’s a good thing.”

The game of the week kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at Inland Lakes.

Categories: Football