GREENVILLE — Football is still a few months away from starting, but the Greenville Yellow Jackets already have a new twist to the upcoming season.
The Yellow Jackets will face Forest Hills Northern at Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, this October 11. The Friday night game will begin at 7 p.m.
Greenville has been asked a couple of different times to play at the ballpark, but has not wanted to give up a home game to do so. This year, Northern will serve as the home team and chose to play at baseball venue.
“Northern has been trying to get us to play a few different times,” Greenville athletic director Brian Zdanowski said. “But it was always us giving up a home game. Especially during our last year at Black Field we did not want to do that.”
Northern defeated Greenville 17-3 last year at Legacy Field in the first meeting between the two schools in the O-K Bronze. Both teams finished the year 4-5 overall.
The two schools met as members of the O-K White in 2005 and 2006. Both games were Greenville victories.
“This is a unique experience for the kids,” Zdanowski said. “It may not be as nice a venue as we have now at Legacy Field, but I think it will be a cool experience. It’s kind of how it used to be with multi-use fields.”
Tickets for the game will cost $5 for students and $7 for the general public. Additional details and ticket sale information will be released at a later date.
Greenville football coach Dave Moore is not in favor playing at the baseball stadium for a couple of reasons, one includes player safety.
“First, Northern’s field is really cool. It’s down in a bowl, the school sits on top of a hill with big trees surrounding the field,” Moore said. “I think it is a cool stadium and I think it is a shame we are not playing there, but if they want to give up their home field that is their choice.
“Second, I think there is a safety concern. Football is meant to be played on grass, not dirt. Running, at some point, the grass is going to turn into dirt and it’s a safety issue. It’s a field not meant for football,” he added.
Moore also doesn’t like the increase in cost for fans and the fact the view for fans will not be the same as in a football only stadium.
The game will act as a fundraiser for the Forest Hills Schools athletic department.
Rockford faced Muskegon in 2010 and Forest Hills Central played East Grand Rapids in 2012 at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Greenville begins its season August 29 at Belding.