Elk Rapids and Frankfort Bring the Season Full Circle, Prepare for the Playoffs
FRANKFORT – Elk Rapids and Frankfort met in a scrimmage at the very start of the season. Now, they’ll battle it out in the final week of the regular season.
Both teams are gearing up for the playoffs as Elk Rapids comes into play 6-2 and Frankfort is 7-1.
“We scrimmaged each other at the start of the year because I’ve got a lot of friends that coach on that staff because I used to coach there,” said Frankfort head coach Ed Schindler. Schindler’s impact at his former school is still felt today, even if they’ll put aside any friendships for a few hours on Friday night.
“[Ed Schindler]’s been great,” said Elk Rapids head coach Nate Butte. “He’s real supportive and trying to help in any way he can, and he still loves the program. It’s just now he’s over there and it’ll be a good, good game to compete between the two of us.”
Little did the coaches know at the start of the season that their teams would both be gearing up for the playoffs when they met again in the regular season finale.
“We’ve been pretty dedicated this year and we’ve been practicing longer, staying out and working harder,” said Elk Rapids senior John Vanderheide.
This is the Elks’ first winning season since 2018. Their 6-2 record marks a complete turnaround from a season ago when they finished 2-7.
Meanwhile, this will be the third straight year in the playoffs for the Panthers, although they did not end up playing a playoff game in 2020 due to Covid-19.
“The whole program, varsity to junior high, we only have one loss right now. So, we’re feeling pretty good and our numbers have been strong,” said Schindler.
The last time these teams played each other was in 2019, a game which Frankfort came away with a 39-36 victory.
Coach Schindler said he expects another close game on Friday night.
“It should be a lot of fun. I think it’s going to go down to the wire.”