BELDING — The skies were clear and temperatures were in the mid 80s. It was a perfect night for football, minus the humidity. Instead of Friday Night Lights, the lights were lit on a Thursday as thousands of football fans flocked to Rudness Field to catch the opening of the 2013 high school varsity football season between the host Belding Redskins and longtime rival Greenville Yellow Jackets.
As always, the night starts off festive for both sets of fans. Fans get decked out in their favorite school attire, full optimism for a playoff appearance and they are ready to see their team in action.
This year was the 88th consecutive meeting between the Redskins and Yellow Jackets. It’s a rivalry that runs deep in the veins of many fans in attendance.
“I’ve been a Belding fan a long time,” Wayne Currie said. “I went to school here (1950 graduate) and I played football here.”
The Belding graduate has always been a fan of the rivalry, but also has some Greenville in the family.
“It’s a great rivalry. I married a girl from Greenville,” Curry said with a chuckle. “Belding was great tonight. It was about time. I didn’t know what to expect, but they played great.”
Belding was great, as evident by the final on the scoreboard. The Redskins’ 47-14 victory snapped a five-game losing streak and soured the start of the season for the Yellow Jackets across the field.
Greenville fan Kevin Weaver (his football playing son Zane graduated from Greenville in 2011) compared it to the Michigan-Ohio State game to an extent.
“It means everything. It’s like Michigan-Ohio State,” he said. “You come in and you want to play your best game and put your best effort on the field. Obviously, it didn’t work for us tonight. To lose in the manner that we did makes it even harder.”
Despite the loss, Weaver said the atmosphere was great as always.
“Typical Belding-Greenville game,” Weaver said. “There was a great atmosphere. Everyone was cheering on their teams and it was a good time until we got ourselves into a hole.”
So while Greenville fans immediately turned their attention to Kenowa Hills, the Redskins will enjoy this win for a little longer than normal before focusing on Lake Odessa Lakewood.