Romeo’s “amazing” watchdog game “what high school football should be” – Macomb Daily

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Chippewa Valley football players did not feel like singing, not at this time, not with such solemnity surrounding them.

The Big Reds usually sing the school’s fight song after a win, and on Friday they had a triumph that’s worth singing about.

Ahead of Romeo 17-0 in the second quarter and by two touchdowns in the fourth, the Big Reds, seven nights left against rival Dakota, fell to a 34-34 tie in the MAC Red Division game before the third goal of Tarik Ahmetbasic. with less than a minute to go gave the Clinton Township team a 37-34 victory.

The Big Reds were back in the division race. Cephus Harris III, their star running back, had 251 rushing and 108 receiving yards, and quarterback Ryan Schuster threw a pair of touchdown passes.

Want to party ? Yes. To sing? No.

Chippewa Valley coach Scott Merchant wears a purple shirt in support of the watchdog game at Romeo on Friday. (GEORGE POHLY – MediaNews Group)

“It’s a big deal here,” said coach Scott Merchant, glancing towards the midfielder. “It’s amazing what they are doing.”

About thirty yards from where Merchant had held a post-game caucus with the Big Reds, Watchdog Night at Romeo continued.

It was one of the poignant moments of the occasion, the moment when Romeo players and coaches and the cancer survivors and patients they honored came together to embrace and encourage each other.

Minutes earlier, just after the horn sounded to end the game, the two teams rallied on the east side of the 50-yard line. One euphoric side and the other spicy of defeat, they knelt together, and one player from each team offered a prayer.

“It’s,” said Romeo coach Curt Rienas, “it’s what makes high school football special.

“I told our kids before the game that I prayed all the time that we would inspire others with our actions. I think there were two football teams here tonight that inspired others.

The watchdog game, part of a series of week-long activities to raise funds for cancer awareness and treatment, has become a Romeo tradition.

Started when Rienas and Jason Couch were co-coaches of the Bulldogs, the Watchdog campaign has raised more than $ 415,000, Romeo officials said.

Romeo’s players and coaches wore purple jerseys with the names of cancer patients. The roster compiled for the game included each player’s uniform number, name, and the name of the person – Aunt Trish, Papa Marty, and Grandma Cathy for example – in whose honor the player performed. .

Merchant was an admirer of the event years ago, so much so that he spoke to Rienas and Couch when Chippewa Valley wanted to sponsor his own cancer night.

“We started doing a Purple Game seven years ago, because I thought what they were doing was amazing,” Merchant said. “Everything we do, we got it out of respect for the great job they do.

“We wanted to be a part of it, to offer help for the cause.”

In 2020, the pandemic forced schools to limit attendance at games, and activities like those surrounding the Watchdog effort were curtailed.

On Friday, a bustling crowd showed up for the big game and the cause.

“We feel honored that we have been asked to play in this game,” said Merchant. “It was a great battle on the pitch, but the people battling cancer are obviously a much tougher battle than the one we fought tonight.”

Merchant said the evening which started with competitive play and ended with prayer “gives the children perspective.”

“They are teenagers,” Merchant said. “Come here and be together at the end like this – you don’t see that in our world in a lot of places right now. We are a very divided world.

“To see two teams fight heart-to-hearted, in front of a huge crowd, a big, big game, come together like that: to me, that’s what high school football should be like.”

Coach Curt Rienas led the Watchdog campaign in Romeo for several years. (GEORGE POHLY – MediaNews Group)
Matthew Kern played the Watchdog Game in honor of Aunt Gail, whose name was on the back of her jersey. (GEORGE POHLY – MediaNews Group)

RUSH FOR MONEY

Fitzgerald can land a regular-season winning record when he plays visiting Madison in a MAC Silver Division game on Saturday. Bernard Adeboyo ran for 74 yards and a touchdown and Troy West had 71 yards and three scores as the Spartans beat Hazel Park 60-14 in Week 5. Coach JuWan Shakespear’s team are 2. -1 in the division and 4-1 in total. Fitzgerald beat Madison in 2020 to end a seven-game losing streak against the Madison Heights team.

FAMILY ENEMIES

De La Salle Collegiate hosts the Detroit Catholic Central Friday. It will be the seventh meeting since 2017 for the longtime rivals of the Catholic League, who met twice in 2017 and twice the following year. The Pilots, ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 2, improved to 4-0 with a 49-25 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last week. Quarterback Brady Drogosh rushed 15 times for 186 yards and four touchdowns, and the junior completed six of 11 passes for 96 yards and one more score. Alton McCullum caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

CHRIS CROSSED

Christopher Williams propelled Ford to his second victory in three weeks. He ran for 216 yards and threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Evan Butterwick in the Falcons’ 12-9 win over Warren-Mott. Luke Kemeg threw a touchdown pass to Jack Nilson, and Nilson and Nathaniel Stewardtel intercepted a pass each. Ashton Karash had several sacks in the MAC White game. Ford is 2-1, 4-1 and plays at Utica this week.


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