Crosstown clash: 45th football game between North, South this Friday

By: Thomas Franz | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 9, 2013

 South’s Sam Hunter (23) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against Roseville Sept. 27.

South’s Sam Hunter (23) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against Roseville Sept. 27.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

GROSSE POINTE — Bragging rights will once again be on the line this Friday when Grosse Pointe South hosts Grosse Pointe North in football at 7 p.m.

The 45th matchup between the Norsemen and Blue Devils is shaping up to be a very critical contest for both schools as it pertains to the postseason and league championships, and the two teams are trending in different directions going into this week’s game.

South (3-3) will be carrying a wave of positive momentum into the game after defeating Roseville and Port Huron Northern the last two weeks by a combined score of 100-21.

North (4-2) may have a better record overall at the moment, but the Norsemen are coming off a stunning loss on homecoming night last Friday, when Fraser scored three unanswered touchdowns in the final 11 minutes to defeat North 35-34. North coach Frank Sumbera said having South on the schedule following a tough loss will help his team bounce back quickly.

“It has to (help us bounce back quicker). If you can’t bounce back and play against South, you can’t play against anyone. The carrot is there; it’s the rivalry. Even if we would’ve won tonight (against Fraser) it would’ve been huge. It always is,” Sumbera said after the loss. 

Eliminating mistakes on both sides of the ball will be crucial for North to get its first win against South in four years.

“We have to clean up our defense because of the breakdown from last Friday. On offense, we have to keep working on our blocking and move the ball better. Everything is on the line, as far as league championships and playoffs go,” Sumbera said. “We beat them seven in a row before they beat us three years in a row, so they (North seniors) don’t want to go through the whole way without beating them.”

South has defeated North the last three years by scores of 17-15, 18-13, 14-6. Although South has enjoyed a recent run of success, North leads the overall series 28-16.

South and North have had two common opponents so far this year. While North fell to Fraser by one at home last week, South won at Fraser 24-13 in week three. Against L’Anse Creuse North, the Blue Devils fell 39-37, while North defeated the Crusaders 33-21.

Each side is employing a balanced, pro-style offense this season. Senior quarterback Richie Kish leads the South attack with junior running back Sam Hunter. North’s quarterback, Daniel Robinson, is aided by Tod Long in the backfield, and Robinson is not shy about throwing to tight end Andrew Lock or receiver Sal Ciaravino. 

Both teams desperately need a win in this contest to keep their hopes alive for a playoff spot. This is a must-win game for the Blue Devils because they have three losses already. With its last two games of the season coming against L’Anse Creuse and Lakeview, both of which are currently in last place in the MAC Blue and Gold, respectively, a win for South should put them in a great position for the postseason.

North will have contests with 2-4 Port Huron Northern and undefeated St. Clair to close out its regular season.

Prior to the game, the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the “Taste of the Pointes” tailgate by the spirit rock on the front lawn of South. The event starts at 5 p.m. and will go up until kickoff at 7 p.m.