TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central filled its last date on the 2014 football schedule with a familiar foe.
The Trojans will host perennial power Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Thirlby Field. Kickoff will be at 4 p.m.
Traverse City, under coach Jim Ooley, beat Catholic Central 24-14 for the Class A state title in 1988.
Jay Larner, Central’s interim athletic director, signed the contract Thursday.
“We thought it would be a lot of fun to play a team that had been such a big rival back in the day,” Larner said. “Obviously, Catholic’s an extremely competitive Division 1 team.”
Catholic Central has been the Division 1 state runner-up the last three years in a row.
The Shamrocks were 11-3 last season, Central 5-4.
The schools agreed to a one-year deal.
“We were struggling to find a week four game,” Larner said. “They weren’t many schools that had week four open that were of comparable size. Then, all of sudden, Catholic’s week four game fell through. They were scheduled to play a team in Pennsylvania. When that week came open, they asked if we would be interested in playing.”
It didn’t take long to work out the details.
“It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” Central coach Tom Passinault said.
It will make for a tough stretch in the schedule, though. Central plays Traverse City West in week three.
“But we’ve got a pretty talented group of kids coming through,” Larner said. “They will be more than excited for this type of challenge.”
“It will give our kids some great incentive this summer to train hard and come back (for fall camp) in great condition,” he said.
Larner said the school is looking at inviting members of the 1988 team to the game so they can be recognized at half. He said other ideas have been discussed to “generate excitement” for the game.
The Trojans and Catholic Central last played in 2004 with the Shamrocks posting a 21-14 win.
“Traverse City is a fantastic venue for football,” Passinault said. “To bring a team of that caliber to town will be a great day for our community.”