Sports staff- September 17th, 1971: Romeo and Eisenhower collide for the first time, the beginning of a bitter rivalry. Now, this upcoming Friday the rivalry continues, and the flame between the two burns hotter than ever.

Playing Ike five times in the 70’s, the Bulldogs dominated the Eagles defeating them four times. Then in the 80’s, the rivals competed in eight competitions, where the teams split the series 4-4. Continuing on into the 90’s, Eisenhower dominated Romeo in four contests, winning all four games. In the 2000’s the teams split the series again 2-2, and the teams continue to battle for the decades bragging rights with Eisenhower leading 2-4 in the from 2010-2014

“Ike week means everything,” Ryan Medley ‘17 said.” If we want a shot at the [MAC Red] we need to win. Preparation doesn’t necessarily change, but there’s a different feel in the air. Its different in many ways. Being in the MAC Red, it means more this year and we must avenge last year’s heartbreak.”

After last year’s disappointing outcome, this Friday’s game adds fuel to an already raging rivalry. The 2015 face off between Romeo and Ike resulted in a 17-14 defeat by the Eagles, blemishing the, until then, perfect Bulldog season. This loss then went on to be known throughout Romeo as “the loss that won a state title”. Prior to the game, football players feel the tension and excitement of the game as the week builds.

Romeo alumni, Paul Hurley ‘16, said, “It was one of the most fun weeks of my football career. It was always the most exciting game, packed with fans and alumni. It is installed in your head freshman year that you don’t like these guys and they don’t like you.”

As referred to by quarterback, Austen Malczewski ‘17 “The Rivalry of 26 Mile Road,” does not just display itself on the field, but is apparent between the two student sections. The football players are not alone on the field in this rivalry, with both student sections adding to the intensity through a display of school spirit and pride, which can be seen on social media, in-school, on cars, and throughout both communities.

“Playing Ike means a lot because the student section helps our team get hype and the more hype we are, the more hype the football team will be,” Nolan Kare ‘17, head of the Dawg Pound, said. “[It] feels as if we are playing,”

Making a name for itself, The Dawg Pound takes pride in determining the themes and keeps every student involved. This game is no exception, and only a special theme will do: a neon out.

“I thought of the idea earlier in the year and wanted to do it 2 weekends ago, but that was when we did the 9/11 game, so obviously we were gonna do a USA theme,” Kare said. “The neon with all the glowsticks will look really cool so my hope is that as a student section we’ll look a lot cooler.”Flying high, thus far, the undefeated Eisenhower Eagles shutout prior opponents, Chippewa Valley 42-0 and Roseville 49-0. Their defense has yet to give up more than 14 points this year, but face  a tough Romeo offense that hasn’t scored less than 26 points in their games.

Improving to 3-1 last week, the Bulldogs defeated Stevenson 28-7. The Bulldogs defense was led by defensive back Kade Messner ‘17, who recorded seven tackles in the win. Overall the defensive unit limited the Titans offense to 174 yards on offense.

Running for two touchdowns each, Ryan Medley ‘17 and Nate Goralski ‘18 turned out strong performances on the ground. Messner ran for 81 yards on 9 carries and Austen Malczewski threw for 121 yards on 9-16 passing.

“The game was a battle,“ Nate Goralski ‘18 said. “It means a lot to get a win against my old school. Now our eyes are focused on Ike.”

Playing at Swinehart Field, the Bulldogs will look to take a bite out of the Eagles, achieve redemption from last year, and prove that 140 insulting characters can not phase them.

 

Photo by: MiPrepzone

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