MARION― Friday morning, the village of Marion lined the streets to wish their high school football team good luck in Saturday’s 8-player Division 2 state final.
The team started at the high school, made their way down main street, and ended at the elementary school to fist bump their small fans.
“It feels great that these kids can look up to us and see all of our hard work and be there to support us,” senior Quinn Scott said.
This is the first time Marion has made the state championship since they became an 8-player program. The last time they won a championship was 1990 in 11-man Class DD.
For head coach Chad Grundy, his last state championship was 22 years ago as an assistant coach at McBain.
“I didn’t realize how hard it was to get there,” Grundy said. “These kids have worked hard the last four years, they’ve come close a few times, and to finally get here, they have that drive.”
Winning Saturday’s Championship against Lenawee Christian will be even harder. Not too long ago the Cougars were coming off of back-to-back 8-player Division 1 championships (2020,2021).
Currently both teams have undefeated records, the cougars 12-0, and the Eagles 11-0.
“They have the best offense we’ve seen all year,” Grundy said. “They’ve got skill guys everywhere. We’re going to have to play our best game to come out on top.”
The Eagles will have one last practice Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s championship game.
“I’m excited to be up there with all of the guys. It being my senior year, so it’s the last game I’ll be with them all. It’s going to be a really cool experience, and I wouldn’t want to go out any other way,” running back Gavin Prelipp said.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 2 pm at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome.