10-19-2017 Coloma Comets meet Watervliet at Panther Stadium…continuing 100+ year tradition

It’s Green Gang  versus Maroon Platoon Friday night

Coloma Comets meet Watervliet at Panther Stadium…continuing 100+ year tradition

By Kristy Noack

Tradition. Legacy. Rivalry. No matter what you call it fans of local football know there is no larger gridiron game than when the Comets of Coloma take on the Panthers of Watervliet.

It is a rite of passage that young men will strap on chin guards and shoulder pads when the air turns crisp and leaves begin to change from green to orange.

Football players take the field, bursting through paper banners made by the cheerleading squad, for the final time of the regular season – and often their football career.

This Friday is that night for Coloma and Watervliet.

WATERVLIET FALL VARSITY CHEER TEAM… Pictured (from the left): Front Row – Rikki Peek, Kenzie Warren, Kaelyn Schadler, Riley McKinney, Bailey Swisher; Back Row – Kayla Hoy, Daisy Montejano, Kylee Warren, Coach Ginnette Chapin, Adrianna Rutherford, Jazlynn Cowgill, Abby Burrows. (Photo by Shawn Mead Photography)

Gang Green. Maroon Platoon. Green and gold. Maroon and white. Coloma head coach Joe Stephens battling it out with Watervliet head coach Jeremy Andrews. The last game of the regular season is here and for these two teams, it is big.

Eight games have been completed in this 2017 season. Coloma holds a 5-3 record and will travel east along Red Arrow High to Panther Stadium Friday, October 20 to take on the perfect 8-0 Watervliet squad in the final, regular season game of the season.

The Panthers are playoff-bound. The Comets, however, are seeking one final win – a last chance grasp – to make the playoff bracket for the first time since 2008.

The tradition of Coloma and Watervliet football dates back over 100 years. The first game between the teams was played on November 4, 1909. The Comets posted the 12-0 shutout over the Panthers.

And from there, legacies for both schools were born.

In the early years, the teams often met twice during the year. It was in 1932 that they whittled their meetings down to once a year.

The two squads met faithfully through the 2011 game. Due to a move by Coloma into the Wolverine Conference, the collision of the rivals on the gridiron screeched to a halt. Coloma and Watervliet did not face each other from 2012 through 2014, ending the 100-year matchup.

In 2015, Coloma switched conferences again, this time to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, of which Watervliet was a member, and the game was back on, although not as the final game of the season as it had been previously.

At that meeting, the Panthers pounded the Comets 54-13.

But, that wasn’t the largest scoring gap the two teams shared.  In 2007, Coloma crushed Watervliet 56-6.

The smallest of scoring margins came in the years of 1920, the first game of 1923, 1924’s second game, 1928, and 1933 when the teams played to ties.