KENT CITY, Mich. -- Of all the West Michigan high school football teams to still be playing this time of year, maybe the most surprising is Kent City. The Eagles won just one game in 2015 but turned things around to win a program record eight games in 2016, a season that even has the team a bit surprised.
"Yeah, to be 8-2 right now, playing for a district championship is a little bit of a surprise, but I think with our group of kids that it's something that we thought we could always do" head coach Bill Crane said.
"Seven times we were predicted to lose and the more we are predicted to lose by the more we're motivated to win," senior running back and linebacker Bronson Mathieu said.
And win they have. The Eagles have won so much, they've already met or surpassed all of the goals they set before the season.
"The first goal was to win the CSAA, which we did," " Crane said. "Second goal was to make the playoffs, and the third was to win in the playoffs. So we talked Monday right before we started our film session about (how) we've accomplished our three goals for the season, and now our fourth goal is to win the district championship."
To do that, Kent City will have to beat a Ravenna team they lost to in week one of the season. But after going 8-1 since that game -- including last weeks win over Montague -- the Eagles are flying high with confidence into a rematch with the Bulldogs.
"We definitely have confidence," " Crane said. "I mean, we just beat a very good Montague team in the first round. No one gave us a shot for that game, which we're okay with that, because it's something different and kind of get the same feeling going into this week. We'll just play hard, and we'll see what happens. I know we won't give up, and our kids will go hard every play, and we'll just see how it goes."
And if the Eagles are to pull off another win, they will be making even more history at Kent City. "It would be Kent City's first district championship ever in football," " senior tight end Jace Daily said, "and to be a part of history would be something special that you can remember for the rest of your lives."
"We don't have a district trophy for football in there, and our sports teams have been doing really great: volleyball and cross country, all of them," " Mathieu said. "Our whole trophy case is just full of that stuff and we're ready to put a football district trophy in there."