Grandville and Rockford will play this Friday night in the Blitz Game of the Week.
For the host Rams, this week marks the return to the practice field after members of the team were in quarantine following a COVID-19 case on the team.
“Didn’t know when we were going to be able to come back," senior nose guard Alex Karas said. "Just happy to be back at practice and be able to play this Friday.”
The team did plenty of virtual meetings and film study during the time off.
“Just to see them in person," Rockford head coach Brent Cummings said. "We’ve had some virtual meetings going on, I have virtual workouts with them but to see them in person it means a lot, they all came in, great moods and just excited to get back to work.”
The uncertainty surrounding Friday nights game went beyond just Rockford.
Grandville (5-0) wasn't sure this game would happen for awhile either.
“We didn’t know if we were going to play them because we heard a lot of what ifs and stuff like that," Grandville senior running back Marcel Love said. "They are Rockford, they are going to prepare just as well as us and we are going to see who wins.”
Both teams are undefeated so this could be considered a conference championship game, but the Rams have only played three games, so who really knows?
One thing that is certain is this game has been circled on the calendar for a long time.
“This was a kind of game, even before the pandemic, when the OK Conference released their schedule and you look at Grandville-Rockford week nine knowing that we have been successful in the past and obviously the history of their program we look at it as a big game," Bulldogs head coach Eric Stiegel said. "We never really doubted that they were going to play. It is going to be a great football environment out there, every time you go there it is, it will be a fun game for both teams.”
Last season, Grandville beat Rockford, it was just the second win for the Bulldogs in the series in the last 15 meetings.
“Of course, It’s Rockford," Grandville senior right tackle Caden Peters said. "Last year was the first time we beat them at home in what, 16 years? That was a big game and Rockford is always a big game, especially competing in the OK Red. So, yeah this is a huge game for us.”
“They are a really good opponent and it is a really good rivalry," Rockford senior receiver and cornerback Luke McLean said. "Every since I was little, Grandville versus Rockford, that’s a big game of the season so finally to get to compete under the lights against them on Friday night, there is not other situation that compares.”
The winner of Friday's game will also be the top seed in the division one district for the playoffs which start next week.