LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Wildcats and Central Montcalm Green Hornets have a long history on the football field.
The two schools will renew that rivalry with a matinee game at Kos Field in Lakeview on Saturday. It will be homecoming for the Wildcats as they try to snap a five-game losing streak to the Hornets.
Lakeview (3-3, 3-3) is still in the hunt for a postseason spot, but will need victories in its final three games. The Wildcats — who haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 — are coming off a 20-13 win over Hesperia with some momentum.
“I think were are pretty solid and playing well,” Lakeview coach Guenther Mittelstaedt said. “We are a little bit better than we were at the beginning on the season. We are blocking better and our defense has stepped up a little bit.”
Central Montcalm (2-4, 2-4) will more than likely miss the postseason for the second consecutive season, even if they win their remaining three games. They are coming off a 38-16 loss to Newaygo.
Hornets coach Marty James said the Wildcats are an improved team over the past few years.
They are a vastly improved football team,” he said. “They seem to be very physical with their running game and pass well enough to keep a defense off-balance.”
Defensively, the Wildcats are allowing just 18.8 points per game. They average 19.3 on offense.
Central Montcalm struggled with its passing game a week ago, but James said they will need both to compete the rest of the season.
“We always want to get better at every facet of our game, offensively and defensively,” James said. “If we become one-dimensional we are going to struggle against every team. Lakeview defends the pass very well, so we have our work cut out for us.”
The Hornets have averaged 27.5 points per game and have allowed 22.5. It’s the Hornets offense that Mittelstaedt has been focusing on.
“They seem to be pretty potent offensively. They have moved the ball on everyone they have played,” he said. “We are working hard at going over everything they do to stop their strengths. Overall, they are strong in both passing and running the ball.”
Prior to a five-game losing streak, the Wildcats won seven straight games against their rivals. Lakeview will be looking to start a new winning streak and believe the key will be creating turnovers.
“We have to play awfully good defense and we need to create some turnovers,” Mittelstaedt said. “We need to figure out a way to score points against Central. We’ve have been on the plus side, turnover-wise most the games this year.”
These two schools have met every year since 1965 and are the only two remaining original member of the CSAA (founded in 1988).
Because of that history, James doesn’t think it will be a problem matching the intensity of the Wildcats.
“It will be Central Montcalm vs. Lakeview. We are the only original members of the CSAA and we have been battling for years,” James said. “Their coaches will have them ready and we are going to be physically and mentally ready.”
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Lakeview is at White Cloud next week, while the Hornets host Reed City.