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Unbeatens Whitehall, Montague battle for the Bell

Wildcats host the Vikings in the game of the week
Posted at 5:06 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 18:55:02-04
Unbeatens battle for the bell

Rivals Whitehall and Montague play for the Red, White and Blue Bell every fall when the varsity football teams meet.

"It's in our weight room," Montague senior Walker Martin said. "We look at it every day."

"I love seeing it in the weight room," Montague senior Chris Kessler added. "I want to keep it there."

The Wildcats have held onto the prize for the last five seasons.

"I've never seen the bell," Whitehall senior quarterback Andrew Durbin said. "So I really want to get that back."

The two communities, which are separated by only a bridge over White Lake, have a long standing rivalry on the gridiron and it will be renewed this Friday in the game of the week on the Blitz.

"I get my appreciation from watching the kids play for stuff like the bell and ring the bell," Montague head coach Pat Collins said. "It's a great White Lake area experience to be at and the rivalry with the bridge separating the two schools and the coin toss on the bridge usually, not this year but it is a great experience, it is one of the best rivalries in the state."

The teams try to keep things as normal as possible, but there is no doubt this week carries a lot of meaning.

"We strive to treat it like any other week but I think with geographically the way Montague and Whitehall are located these kids have so much crossover it is weekday youth groups, it's run into each other at the store," Whitehall head coach Tony Sigmon said. "The thing that I have noticed about this rivalry is the team that realizes that it's a football game against another high school team and can settle in quickest, usually has the most success."

Both teams enter Friday's game undefeated through four games.

"They are just another team we have to go and get over the obstacle," Durbin said. "They are tougher than most teams we have faced at any time this year, definitely our biggest competition before playoffs and I'm glad to have it, we need really good teams to go against."

Whitehall is led by a defense that has allowed three total points in four games, the opposition has yet to get into the end zone.

"I think it is really just a mental thing," Whitehall junior defensive end Ira Jenkins said. "This team we have a lot of mentally strong dudes, we got a bunch of wrestlers. Wrestling and football go really well together and I'm finding that out too this year."

The winner will get no worse than a share of the West Michigan Conference championship.

"I think it is important to us." Kessler said about winning the conference. "I know it is really important to us seniors, it is very important to me. It is one of my bigger goals. I want a conference championship, I want it back."

Montague is gunning for a third conference title in the last four years.

Whitehall's last WMC championship came back in 1999.