When you add up all the factors heading into Friday night’s clash between St. Clair and Marine City, one could conclude it’s a must-win type game for both teams — even for Week 2.
It’s one of the area’s fiercest rivalries. It’s one of five Macomb Area Conference Gold Division games for each team. And each team enters the game at 0-1.
But Marine City coach Ron Glodich wasn’t having any talk of desperation.
“I wouldn’t say that at all, and I’m sure they feel the same way,” Glodich said. “We’ve been around long enough, that you have a faceless opponent and you’re looking at errors you made (in the previous game). And it’s a matter of whatever staff and kids can fix their errors the fastest.”
The players and coaches from both sides will look to have those errors fixed by 7 p.m. Friday when the rivals meet at East China Stadium.
Each side will be looking to fix errors in several spots after Marine City lost 19-18 against Algonac and St. Clair lost 49-30 against Croswell-Lexington in Week 1. But the biggest issues for either team – while fixable – were on opposite sides of the ball.
For St. Clair, they came mostly on the defensive side of the ball. St. Clair coach Bill Nesbitt said it mostly had to do with fundamentals.
“I told the kids that it was my fault,” Nesbitt said. “I think we got overly consumed with trying to win and didn’t play within ourselves and were too worried about the outcome. Games like these typically come down to fundamentals. We were not fundamentally sound last week.”
Marine City, meanwhile, saw most of its issues on the offensive side of the ball.
“I think the consistency with the backs attacking holes,” Glodich said when asked what his team needed to work on. “Our offensive line, I think, played well. Defensively, I think we played well enough to win. Offensively, it was simply consistency: how we hit the hole, our fakes were terrible.
“When you watch the film, it was one of those games you hate to lose because you saw so many opportunities here and there. But Algonac is a very good team. I told (Algonac coach Scott Barnhart) before the game, ‘You have playoff-type speed (on defense) with the way they swarm to the ball.’”
In a rivalry such as this, when the coaching staffs have been preparing for one another for several years, both sides know what to expect from one another. So while there was plenty of film study done on both sides, the focus, again, is on their own teams.
“Our biggest obstacle right now is playing our game and trusting ourselves,” Nesbitt said. “It’s weird, anyway, being Game 2, but obviously people are going to be excited and the kids are going to be fired up for it on both sides.
“But because both teams are not happy with the game they played (in Week 1), we’ve got bigger issues.”
There may not be desperation setting in, and the focus may not be on the opponent, but that doesn’t mean the game will be any less intense. It is Marine City vs. St. Clair, after all. A battle for the Bell, and for bragging rights in the East China School District.
“It’s truly amazing,” St. Clair running back Riley Gleason said of the rivalry. “There’s really nothing like it. I can’t really compare it to anything. Coming out of the tunnel in that game, it’s just the greatest feeling ever imagined.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.