Traverse City Central, West Gear Up for Annual T.C. Patriot Game
TRAVERSE CITY – The annual T.C. Patriot Game between crosstown rivals Traverse City Central and Traverse City West is set for Friday night at Thirlby Field for the Sports Overtime Game of the Week.
Now the 27th meeting between these two programs, this showdown has become one of the top matchups in northern Michigan.
The Trojans have won the rivalry game the last two times, with last year ending in a 53-13 blowout and 2019’s matchup resulting in a 32-0 shutout victory. The Titans of T.C. West are seeking their first win over Central since they won 21-14 in 2018.
“Last year was pretty brutal for us, so a big part of this year is kind of regrouping from that loss and focusing out what we need to do to come back and get a victory,” said T.C. West senior Kale Cerny.
Traverse City West owns the all-time record with 14 wins to Central’s 12.
Normally a packed event in the thousands, last season’s game saw a minimal crowd due to COVID-19.
With a traditional number of fans expected to attend this year’s T.C. Patriot Game, both teams are energized and excited for the renewed hype surrounding their biggest game of the year.
“They’re excited about getting back to normalcy. Most of our players have never played in the Patriot Game the way it’s gonna be this year. You know, last year was no fans whatsoever, was a little bit different,” said T.C. West head football coach Greg Vaughan. “That had nothing to do with the game and how we played, but I do think that adds to some of the energy that the kids have.”
T.C. Central (2-1) is riding a two-game win streak following its loss to reigning Division 3 state champion DeWitt in the season opener at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
West (3-0) won its matchup at Michigan’s stadium in its week one game against Midland and is undefeated heading into week four.
“It is a big game and it’s exciting for our kids to get back and play in front of their crowd, play in front of their community and I think that’s added incentive. Traverse City West is a great football team. They’re 3-0 right now, and we just have to handle the moment, handle the emotions and play our best football game,” said T.C. Central head football coach Eric Schugars.
Both West and Central look to stay undefeated and improve to two wins in the Big North Conference.
Friday night’s game also serves as a great opportunity for the teams and fans to honor those that fought and continue to fight for the United States.
“Playing against your crosstown rival, I mean, that’s what you dream of. But, it’s definitely more than a game too. I mean, especially just to thank all our veterans that have helped serve our country and especially the ones that died doing it, so I mean that’s a huge honor to be playing in this game,” said T.C. Central senior Josh Burnham.
Tune in at 6 p.m. on Friday night to 9&10 News for live pregame coverage ahead of the 2021 T.C. Patriot Game’s 7 p.m. kickoff.