STANTON — The Central Montcalm Green Hornets will be trying to get back to the football playoffs after missing out a year ago by one victory.
They will do so with a tough opening stretch that features Chippewa Hills, Big Rapids and Morley Stanwood in the first four weeks.
The biggest change will be playing Chip Hills to open the season and not toward the final few games. It’s a game that coach Marty James said has turned into a huge rivalry.
“Chip Hills probably has become our biggest rival. Lakeview has always been a rival,” James said. “It just seems the last four years or so it has always come down to us (Chip Hills) either for a league title or to qualify for the playoffs.”
A year ago, Central Montcalm finished 5-4 and Chippewa Hills 6-3 in the regular season. Chippewa Hills defeated the Hornets 26-19 in week eight.
The two teams have split the past four games with the largest margin of victory being 11 points. Three of the games have been decided by seven points or less.
“It’s been a great, great game,” James said. “It will be interesting to see how that shakes out for the start of the season.”
For the first time the Central State Activities Association (CSAA) will feature 10 teams, meaning each game will be a league game in football.
The Newaygo Lions are the new team in the CSAA. They went 4-5 in 2011.
James is not sure what that will mean for the league.
“I’ve never experienced it. This will be a first so I don’t know how to feel about it,” James said. “Newaygo is a great add to our league. They are about the same size and very similar to most of us.
“From a stand point of coaching every week will be important. You can’t have a down week and still will that title,” he added.
The past four years the league champion has gone 8-0.
Central Montcalm will alternate road and home games this year, with just four at home.
The Hornets homecoming game will be week six on Sept. 28 against Newaygo. They will travel to rival Lakeview the following week for a Saturday homecoming game with the Wildcats.
The annual “Pink Out” game will take place Oct. 12 against Reed City.
Central Montcalm has made the playoffs four of the past five years.
vs. Lakeview W 30-0
at Big Rapids W 45-0
vs. Hesperia W 7-0
vs, Manistee L 25-14
vs. Reed City L 34-30
at White Cloud W 55-0
at Holton W 32-28
vs. Chippewa Hills L 26-19
at Morley Stanwood L 70-28
8/24 at Chippewa Hills
8/30 vs. White Cloud
9/7 at Big Rapids
9/14 vs. Morley Stanwood
9/21 at Holton
9/28 vs. Newaygo (HC)
10/6 at Lakeview
10/12 vs. Reed City (Pink Out)
10/19 at Hesperia
Note: All games at 7 p.m. except the Oct. 6 at Lakeview, which is a 1 p.m. start.