TC Patriot Game highlights “Game of the Week”

TRAVERSE CITY – This week’s “Game of the Week” takes us to Traverse City for the annual clash between rivals Traverse City West and Traverse City Central in the annual Patriot Game.

"It’s the Patriot Game, it’s 9/11,” West coach Tim Wooer said. “I can’t think of a better atmosphere for a high school football game."

West (0-2) enters today’s matchup still seeking its first win after losses to Midland (42-11) and Hudsonville (16-14) in the opening two weeks, while Central (2-0) picked up non-conference wins over Bay City Western (42-13) and Marquette (56-35).

"There’s more life lessons involved in this football game, certainly with the Patriot game,” Central coach Eric Schugars said. “I think it’s something that the players need to know and that you know, it’s bigger than the game."

"It was probably my sophomore year when I was the most freaked out and I was just looking around at all these people, like, thousands and thousands of people that were all clapping, all here to watch football, but also support the troops and what they’ve done for us,” added West senior Jake Cerny.

In addition to the game, the evening features a ceremony to honor active duty military and veterans. This year’s game also recognizes first responders and will include the unveiling of a veterans memorial at Thirlby Field. Military, veterans and first responders are invited to attend the game at no charge.

Proceeds from the game benefit Dogs in Honor, a program that provides service dogs to combat veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the ceremony begins at 6 p.m., including a U.S. Coast Guard flyover at 7 p.m.

Kickoff is slated for 7:15 p.m.