This is going to be a big night in Rockford where its latest class of inductees into the school’s hall of fame will be introduced at halftime.
Making it more special is one of the inductees is the Son of Swami’s all-time favorite Rockfordite (is that a word?) Dathan Ritzenhein, the greatest distance runner in state history.
Ritzenhein is a three-time Olympian and his ability to make the latest Olympics in the 10,000 meters was amazing considering it came after he finished a heart-breaking fourth in the marathon Olympic trials.
But everything was all good Sunday when Ritzenhein finished ninth in the Chicago Marathon in a personal record 2:07.47, knocking 2 minutes off his previous best and bettering the best time of his coach Alberto Salazar.
The neat thing for SOS was that his current son-in-law _ the inimitable Runner Dude _ was a volunteer at the marathon and his job was to take the top American finisher and get him through all of the post-race events including drug testing and speaking with the media.
Well, as luck would have it, the first American finisher was none other than Ritzenhein, who reluctantly acknowledged to Runner Dude he knows SOS and extended his condolences for not realizing how miserable his life would be with SOS as his father-in-law.
Runner Dude, who is an accomplished marathoner in his own right (2:41 and 13th-place in the 2011 Free Press marathon), spent the two hours with Ritzenhein absolutely trashing SOS, whom he is nominating for the Worst Father-In-Law In The Word Award after only one year as SOS’s current son-in-law.
So as SOS tries to resurrect his reputation with the state’s greatest distance runner, here are this week’s biggest games.
Clarkston (7-0) at Lake Orion (7-0), 7, Friday. Face it, this is the first of two meetings for these teams, but this one means the OAA Red title goes to the winner, not to mention home field advantage when they meet in the state playoffs. Lake Orion has a pair of fine runners in Chris Leigh and Jacob Miller while Clarkston’s scheme is less complex — Ian Eriksen is going to get the ball as often as the Lions used to give it to Barry Sanders. But stopping Eriksen is about as difficult as it was stopping sanders. Clark Bar 28, Lake O’Ryan 24.
Detroit Cass Tech (6-1) vs. Detroit King (4-3) at Detroit Northwestern, 7:30 Friday. This is absolutely the best rivalry in the Public School League, but now these teams can only meet in playoff situations because they are in different divisions of the PSL. That said, don’t think the rivalry will be less intense. King needs this game to make the playoffs, but all the Crusaders care about is beating Cass Tech, playoffs or no playoffs. Momma Cass 32, King of Wishful Thinking 25.
Midland (7-0) at Bay City Western (7-0), 7, Friday. This one is for the Saginaw Valley League’s North Division crown and a whole bunch of playoff points, which is why The Cornfield will be filled with more than just corn. Western’s Mason Myers has run for 923 yards and the Midland defense, led by Notre Dame-bound Steven Elmer, will try to keep him from reaching 1,000 yards and not adding to his league leading 101 points. Chemical Spills 21, Bat City Bestern 14.
Mattawan (7-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (7-0), 7 Friday. Mattawan and its outstanding running back Trevor Sweeney finally ended an eight-game losing streak to Lakeshore last season. If the Wildcats want to make it two in a row they may want to start playing defense. Hey, 136 points is a lot to give up for a 7-0 team. And Lakeshore may want to have this game decided before the last play because Denny Dock has been around long enough to win 250 games, but games like this take their toll on the old coach. Matt & Juan 26, Steven’s Villa Near the Lake Shore 24.
Walled Lake Northern (5-2) at Hartland (7-0), 7 Friday. Walled Lake Northern can take the drama out of making the state playoffs for the first time in school history by winning this KLAA cross-over championship game. If the passing of Collin O’Donnell doesn’t get you, the running of Matt Kosmalski will. But Hartland is so close to its first perfect regular season it can’t lose now. Heart Attack 34, Northern Tissue 30.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.