Andover vs. Lahser: The Final 'Battle for the Sword'
The cross-district rivals meet for the final time in history as the schools prepare for merger in 2013.
School hasn't even started and it's hard to picture fall football as already part of our Weekend Spotlight. But history will be made on the gridiron Friday as a tradition spanning five decades in Bloomfield comes to an end. And we don't want you miss a beat.
Today's Pick: Andover vs. Lahser Final Football Game
Where: Lahser High School
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Why go: It's the first high school football game of the season, and it's also the last cross-district rivalry game in each school's history. With the merger to the new Bloomfield Hills High School planned for next year, who will secure their spot in school history, and perhaps earn eternal bragging rights?
"This last 'Battle for the Sword' is very meaningful but not so much for the reason that the sword has had in the past," said Lahser Athletic Coordinator Avis Najor. "The final game between these two district rivals is more like a commencement; and the sword a part of the ceremony."
Najor said he expected tears to be shed for many reasons during what should be an emotional experience.
"Some tears will be shed because of what we feel we are leaving behind," he said. "Some are shed from the sense of pride that comes from what we have accomplished. Some may even come from the fear of what the future may have in store for us."
That not enough drama for you? Last year, Andover's undermanned unit scrapped and fought to keep things interesting in a 28-21 Lahser victory at Dauch Field. The win propelled the Knights into the playoffs. The tough loss clinched Andover's winless season and set the program into uncharted territory. Twice during the off-season, district officials feared they may not have enough players to field a team.
"Those of us close to the program are expecting a really special season," said R. J. Guizzetti, Andover's Athletic Coordinator. "There is a positive vibe around the team this year, despite some blows that the program has taken in the last eight months."
Past, present, and future students are encouraged to come out and cheer on their favorite team, though it might not have the typical feel of a rivalry game, he continued.
"The fact that this game will be played before the kids return to school will hurt us somewhat, in that it’s really hard to build up much student support and excitement when they aren’t in the building," he said. "We all know that, regardless of the score, our boys and our coaches will make everyone at Andover proud on Friday night."
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