Edwardsburg preps for first state championship game
They say there's a first time for everything.
Now that Edwardsburg football has clinched its first trip to the state championship, the goal now is to bring home some hardware.
“They’re ready. We’re excited about the opportunity," said head coach Kevin Bartz. "Thanksgiving Day, we have a lot to be thankful for, and they’re ready. They’re prepared to go.”
“We’ve never made it here, so to get the win would be awesome,” said junior running back Caden Goggins. “Everyone’s super pumped to go play in Detroit, at Ford Field. [It's an] opportunity to get a state title. It’s awesome.”
The Eddies will meet Catholic Central High School, from Grand Rapids, who enters Friday's game as the undefeated and defending state champion.
However, Edwardsburg is riding a winning streak of its own, having won each game since its only loss against Three Rivers in the regular season.
“That’s kind of when we started to put our foot on the pedal," said Goggins, "because we saw we could get beat. We knew we had to start working hard, so that really was a turning point in our season.”
“It’s nice we had the opportunity to come back and play them in the playoffs," said Bartz. "We made adjustments both in our gameplan and mentally. I think that’s where things clicked and it’s been rolling since then.”
Even through the success, the Eddies have found themselves in a couple adverse situations, in close games this season. Bartz hopes that will prove helpful against a team as strong as the Cougars.
“Do we think our kids have what it takes when we get by those down moments? Yeah, we do. We got a lot of confidence, and those types of situations help that.”
Still, no matter what happens on Friday, the fact that the Eddies are playing on this stage is a statement in itself.
“Everyone’s always kind of doubted us," said Goggins, "so to make it to the state championship, I think it proves how big our program is getting.”
“It’s kind of a culmination and we’ve kind of expressed that to these kids," said Bartz. "It's about all the players before them. We have great community support. We’ve got all kinds of alumni coming back and flying from all over, so it’s exciting.”