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New division, same high stakes as Mona Shores and Muskegon prepare to battle

Sailors and Big Reds meet in the game of the week
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Posted at 10:02 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 22:02:29-04
Game of the week preview

Mona Shores and Muskegon have decided the OK Black championship each of the six seasons.

This year not only are they playing much earlier in the season than normal but it is now an OK Green division matchup in the OK Conference following realignment.

Not only does Friday's game feature two of the best programs in the state, but it will also become the first game on the new turf at the newly renovated Hackley Stadium.

"This is the first time in 28 years of coaching football that I haven't looked at the weather, or do I care," Muskegon head coach Shane Fairfield said. "In the past I knew our practice field was going to be wet, I knew on Friday our game was going to be at home we were going to be on grass we were going to slip and slide, I don't care anymore, we have turf."

"This is exciting for us, I am just babbling right now because I am so excited, I can't wait until Friday."

While a lot rides on this game each year, the players are attempting to stay even keeled heading into Friday.

"Me personally I don't really get too excited because they are just another team," Muskegeon senior safety Julius Sims said. "I don't want to put a big emphasis on it and then go into the game nervous so I just look at them as any other week."

"We have been battling the same guys since middle school so when we go into Muskegon week it is more of a serious lock down week," Mona Shores senior offensive tackle Mason Klos said. "They are basically right across the street so we want to beat them in every way we can, sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes it does and this year we are confident."

The coaches and players don't think that playing earlier in the season as opposed week eight, as they have in the last five seasons, will make much of a difference.

"It probably helps us more," Mona Shores quarterback Brady Rose said. "We are solid throughout the whole year, I think they probably get better throughout the year. It doesn't really change anything."

"We just stay to our keys," Muskegon senior offensive guard Tayvid Elmore said. "We just stay to what we do and what we have down pat. We trust what we have."

The one thing this game will be missing is a big crowd as each participant is allowed only two spectators as part of the COVID-19 regulations.

"I have never been to Hackley on that visitors side and look across and not see it packed," Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak said. "I know Muskegon wishes it was different with their new field and it is beautiful and people want to come out and support them, they do every game, so it will have a different flare to it."

Muskegon has won the last five meetings in the series.