GREENVILLE — Football season seems like a long way off, but leaders of the Greenville football program are busy prepping for the fall season.
Yellow Jacket Classic May 13
The annual Yellow Jacket Classic golf outing, a fundraiser for the Greenville football program, will be held at the Links of Bowen Lake Saturday, May 13. All proceeds supports the football teams.
Registration for the golf outing begins at 8:30 a.m. that day, with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m.
Participants will also get the opportunity to meet Yellow Jackets football varsity coach Eddie Ostipow.
“This will be my second golf outing,” said Ostipow, who was hired as head coach last summer. “(The first outing) went really well. Steve Day (the golf outing’s coordinator) does a great job, he’s a home-grown guy, cares about the school. We’re lucky to have him.”
The four-person scramble is limited to 72 players (must be at least 18 years old). Cost is $65 per person, which includes green fees for 18 holes, a golf cart, prizes and lunch.
Lunch will be at the turn, a cash bar will be available and there will be prizes for longest drive, closest to the pin, 50-50 drawings and other contests. Each participant will receive a Yellow Jackets football hat and the winning team will receive Yellow Jackets coaching shirts.
To register, or for more information, contact Steve Day at (616) 754-5967 or email email@example.com. Mail registrations to P.O. Box 346, Greenville, Mich. 48838.
Jacket Military Classic Sept. 1
For the Yellow Jackets’ third annual military tribute game, this year being Sept. 1 against Kenowa Hills, the team will sport new, camouflage uniforms.
Typically, the military-themed game was coordinated through the school’s student council, however, the football program has stepped in to help, which, military veterans are close to Ostipow’s heart.
“On a personal level, I come from a family of military veterans, like my grandfather, who earned a Purple Heart, and my dad, he’s a Vietnam veteran,” Ostipow said. “I’ve grown up around military veterans and I have great respect for them. A lot of times, for our players, it’s great for them to have own goals and ambitions set aside to make time with others who have sacrificed for our freedoms. At times, we take freedom for granted, and many people have put their lives on the line for it, so it’s a great lesson for our young people to have an opportunity to embrace that.”
Each player’s jersey can be sponsored with the name of a military veteran on the back of the jersey and, after the game, players will present each soldier and or their families with a commemorative flag with the name of the person being honored and the jersey number worn during the game.
Jersey sponsorships are $100 each and are limited.
Ostipow hopes to reveal the new military game uniforms the weekend of Memorial Day.
He is also working on plans to have his team visit war veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans sometime this summer.
“It’s something I’ve done with other schools,” Ostipow said. “It’s a great experience for our kids and for the veterans.”
Greenville Athletic Director Brian Zdanowski said he hopes the Jacket Military Classic will include Kenowa Hills annually, however, with a new coach coming in for Knights, he is unsure at this time that will happen.
“I think (the military-themed game) is really cool. And Coach O has a little bit of background with him,” Zdanowski said. “We’re thinking of rotating it where we’ll host it and then the other team will, so we’re hoping to stay with Kenowa Hills, but with a new coach coming in, it’s up in the air at the moment.”
Commemorative Jacket Military Classic T-shirts will also be available, which will be sold for $10 each starting this month at both Greenville and Kenowa Hills high schools. Net proceeds from T-shirt sales, jersey sponsorships and 50-50 raffle, as well as donations, will go to Blue Star Mothers-Greenville Chapter.
Jackets to open season at GVSU, Gridiron Classic Aug. 26
For the first time since 1924, Greenville will not have Belding on its schedule, however, Ostipow and Zdanowski have found a fun and entertaining alternative game for the first week of the football season.
The Yellow Jackets will play the North Farmington Raiders at Grand Valley State University’s Lubbers Field in Allendale Saturday, Aug. 26.
Though Ostipow is disappointed the rivalry game with Belding has come to an end, he is looking forward to showcasing Greenville football on collegiate field.
“Any time you get the opportunity to play on a college campus, it’s great for all our kids. It’s great for our community, too,” he said. “We’re playing a team from the east side of the state and on a college field that is a great venue.”
Fans will be impressed with what Lubbers Field has to offer, including the largest Jumbotron in Div. 2 football.
“It’s a really cool atmosphere. I watched a lot of college games there,” Ostipow said. “It’s going to be really neat to be on sidelines in a competitive situation for players and coaches alike.”
Other games playing at the third annual Gridiron Classic include NorthPointe Christian vs. Spring Lake in the first game of the day; East Kentwood vs. L’Anse Cruese; and Kent City vs. Ravenna, with the Greenville-North Farmington game as the day’s nightcap event.
Both Zdanowski and Ostipow said the Gridiron Challenge could be an annual event as long as it doesn’t take away a home game on the schedule.
“It just worked out this year that we could do it. We were fortunate that it was available,” Zdanowski said. “This is good for our kids, a different venue with different opportunities.”
7-on-7 scrimmages start in June
The Yellow Jackets will have their bags packed for the start of 7-on-7 scrimmages, beginning with a scrimmage at Western Michigan University June 11 and then traveling to the campus of Notre Dame University, to participate in a 7-on-7 scrimmage on the historic field of Notre Dame Stadium.
“I’ve done it before with other schools. The more we can get our kids to other college campuses, the better experience they’ll have,” Ostipow said. “(Notre Dame) isn’t that far away, we see some schools we otherwise wouldn’t see and we’ll get to play teams from Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana.”
Greenville will then begin hosting 7-on-7s at Legacy Field in July and will also playing other 7-on-7s in Rockford and East Grand Rapids later in the summer.