Round two Saturday in HLHS, RHS alumni football clash
Following the successes of last year’s game, which raised over $8,000, the second annual Don Nester Auto Group Alumni Football Game between Houghton Lake and Roscommon is set for Saturday (July 27) night.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Houghton Lake High School’s Bobcat Stadium.
It will be the first time that 2007 HLHS graduate Mike Collins will return to Bobcat Stadium donning the green and white.
Collins recalls that his favorite games took place on the turf at Bobcat Stadium and says his favorite memory came when his team beat Roscommon in the final regular season game setting up a playoff match between the two schools a week later.
He said that the rivalry between the schools is something special.
“Someone who says bragging rights are not important is lying,” Collins said. He noted though that since graduation the rivalry has changed in some aspects saying that he is even pals with many of the players he once played against.
“This game is about making money for the kids,” Collins said. “This will be a good lead in for the high school football season and hopefully we can help get the kids jacked.”
During last years’ contest, Collins helped the Bobcats defeat Roscommon, 15-13, when he caught a touchdown pass from 2006 graduate Peirsen Forbes in the game’s final quarter.
Collins said the thing he is looking forward to most this year will be the atmosphere of Bobcat Stadium. He said that he feels it will be fun to see multi-generations of Bobcats coming together for a game.
One of the players that Collins played against during high school will also be suiting up for this year’s game as 2008 RHS graduate Trevor Tyler is expected to play for the blue and gold.
“This is an awesome feeling to be able to play again,” Tyler said.
Tyler said this game will be extra special because he will be able to suit up next to his dad, David, who is a 1984 graduate of Roscommon.
“In high school, this was a huge rivalry,” Tyler said. “It meant a lot for your football season.”
“I come from a large family that still has many going through the Roscommon football program,” Tyler said noting he is excited to be able to help raise money for future Bucks.
Houghton Lake’s Forbes, who had a hand in all but one of Houghton Lake’s points last year, will also be returning for this year’s game.
He said one of his favorite parts of the alumni game is the opportunity to practice with your old pals.
Forbes said that it is “almost a bigger dream” to return to Bobcat Stadium, noting that it almost brings a tear to his eye thinking about it.
“Suiting up and stepping on the field,” Forbes said is what he remembers most about Bobcat Stadium. “Hearing the marching band, that is a memory for me.”
He added that he remembers his final time walking onto the field being able to take a mental picture with the lights on.
In terms of this year’s game, Forbes said that he definitely wants the Bobcats to win again.
Returning from last year’s game for Roscommon is 2001 graduate Steve Bednarik who RHS Coach Joe Holloway said has been instrumental in the success of both alumni games.
Bednarik said despite a slow start to this year’s game preparation, the Bucks have had quite a few sign up in the last few weeks.
“Once a year almost is not enough,” Bednarik said in terms of excitement for this year’s game.
He said that no matter when the Bucks play the Bobcats it is always a good game. He added that he was “ecstatic” after learning how much money was raised last year and he hopes they can raise just as much this year.
Also returning from last year will be HLHS 1947 graduate Bud Detmer who will be on hand for the game’s coin toss.
Detmer said that he is looking forward to the game because it helps raise money for the younger players.
Detmer never had the chance to play at the current Bobcat Stadium as when he was in school, the Bobcats played their games on a field behind the Old Stone School.
He recalled his favorite memory of playing on the field as one against West Branch.
He said that a West Branch player was running towards the end zone and the only thing between him and the player was the ref.
“So I pushed the ref into the guy and he pushed him out of bounds,” Detmer said. “And they didn’t score.”
The Don Nester Auto Group Alumni Football game will kickoff Saturday (July 27) at 7:30 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium. The game will feature graduates from 2008 and earlier.
The gates for the game will open at 6 p.m. and the cost of admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under. Proceeds will benefit both football programs.
At halftime, one lucky spectator will have the opportunity to either kick or have a 25-yard field goal kicked for them for a chance at free Taco Bell.
In addition, there will be a 50/50 raffle and a full concession stand that will help the Bobcats Sports Boosters.
Also on hand will be long-time Bobcat football announcer Greg Wagner.
Wagner, who announced for the Bobcats for 20 years, will return to Bobcat Stadium to make the call on this year’s alumni contest.