In 1987 the Grand Rapids Catholic Central football team won its first state championship of the playoff era.
Jim Passinault was the quarterback of that team.
"My brother Steve had actually played on the runner-up team in 1978 so we had known, at the time the Silverdome, we always called them the dome team," Passinualt recalled. "We just wanted to be the next dome team and we got the chance to do that and we were able to win the state championship that year."
This Saturday, Jim's son, John, will get the chance to follow in his footsteps as John quarterbacks the Cougars in the state championship game.
While football has changed since Jim's time, John was impressed with his dad's ability to sling the football when he watched the highlights from 1987.
"I thought he was just a guy that stood there and handed the ball off to the best player and watched him run," the younger Passinault said. "When I saw in the highlights that he threw the ball a lot more than I thought, he had two passing touchdowns in the state championship game."
The goal for John is now to top his dad's two touchdown passes in the state championship game.
"Oh I will definitely one-up him," John said with a laugh. "I will definitely one-up him."
The Similarities between father and son do not stop with position and success.
Jim actually moved to quarterback his junior year due to a pair of injuries at the position.
"I played fullback so I had a full cage face mask," Jim said. "I came, in I knew I could throw the ball really far and I knew I could throw it really hard. Where it was going exactly was not my specialty but as that season developed we got better as a passing team."
This season in week four when Catholic Central starting quarterback Joey Silveri was injured, John returned to the position he had played all the way through tenth grade.
In nine and a half games this year he has thrown 35 touchdowns passes.
"I definitely didn't expect it to be to this extent," John said. "I didn't expect all the touchdowns and all the passing yards, I didn't expect all that. I just expected to fill a role and help my team win."
"I stepped in my junior year, somebody got hurt and did my best and we had really good talent around me," Jim said. "John has really good talent around him, it sure is nice to be able to throw the ball to 24 (Nolan Ziegel), and 8 (Devin Fridley-Bell), and 7 (Ronan Russell-Dixon)."
"I didn't even really realize that he filled in for somebody who got injured, "I didn't even realize it was that similar," John said. "I just knew he played quarterback for a state championship football team and I'm hoping to do the exact same thing."
He will get his chance Saturday when Grand Rapids Catholic Central (13-0) plays Marine City (13-0) for the division five state championship at 4:30 p.m. at Ford Field.
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