The Michigan/Ohio rivalry is well known in football circles.
And now it’s going to be taken to another level with the inaugural Ohio-Michigan Border Classic – a high school football all-star game to be played this weekend.
The 2014 Ohio-Michigan Border Classic is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Findlay in Ohio.
Rosters are set and practices are scheduled for this week, leading up to the game. There are no area players competing in the game, but Harper Creek head coach Ed Greenman will be on the inaugural Michigan Team coaching staff.
“With the East-West game, if you had coached before, you couldn’t coach again – and I had already done that once, so I didn’t think I’d be involved in one of these again,” Greenman said. “But with the start of this new game against Ohio, the decision was made that prior coaches could be in this game, too. The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association picked six coaches to be on the staff and I happened to be one of them, so it’s a neat honor.”
Ohio had a regular series where it played an all-star game against Pennsylvania, which has ended with this game against Michigan. This is the first all-star game for Michigan players against another state.
The talent pool includes five players who have signed to play at Michigan State University, one that is going to the University of Michigan and several that are going to Mid-American Conference programs, including three that are committed to Western Michigan University.
“The trend in the past few years is that some of our top Division 1 kids haven’t played in our all-star game. But in Ohio, all their top Division 1 kids look forward to playing in this, so it will be interesting to see the talent level for both teams,” Greenman said. “It might take a few years for our Division 1 kids to realize what kind of game this is and start playing in it.”
The game, associated with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, takes the place of the annual East-West high school all-star game – which featured 88 Michigan graduated seniors. The Ohio-Michigan game splits that roster in half, as around 44 players are signed up to play from Michigan.
That reduced number was part of the reason the Battle Creek area doesn’t have a representative in the game and part of the reason Greenman had some questions about the change.
“To be honest, I was kind of against it at the beginning. We were going from rewarding 88 players to around 40. But the association decided to give it a try and there is talk we may have two games in future years, this game and the usual East-West game – and that would be nice,” Greenman said. “But even though I had questions, once I got involved and saw the skill level of the kids we are playing with, and how fired up they were to play, that kind of changed my tune.”