The start of the high school football season can't start with a bigger game in the city with a heart.
Elkhart Memorial hosts Elkhart Central in the Battle for the Mangy Lion. It's our Martin's Supermarket Spotlight Game of the Week. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Charger Field. I'll be live at Memorial starting at 5:30pm on Friday with a preview of the big game.
The Memorial seniors have never lost to Central and they don't want that changing.
"Keeping the Mangy here is always best," explains Memorial senior linebacker Roger Ballard. "We know they are going to come with it. You don't want to lose and them get the Mangy so we're going to try and keep it home."
The Chargers have won five straight meetings over the Blazers including ending Central's season last year in sectionals. For the Blazers' seniors, this is about pride and finally taking down the Crimson.
"It would be great," Central senior wide receiver Spencer Schnell says of finally beating Memorial. "It would be great for everybody. The seniors, the last three years, have been working hard with coach Johnson and to bring it home would mean a lot."
One thing both sides know, the atmosphere will be electric Friday night.
"Obviously it's a special game," 3rd year Central coach and Blazers alum Levon Johnson says. "It's for bragging rights in the city. The Mangy Lion is on the line. It's nice to have it in the hallways. Looking forward to the opportunity to bring it back home."
"I think it's great for the community because you'll have a packed house and that makes it that much more exciting for the players to play," explains 1st year Memorial coach Bill Roggeman. "Having it early is also a good emphasis from your offseason program thru your summer, so you are ready to go for day one. With Elkhart Central coming over here, we got to be ready."
We'll have all the highlights on the season premiere of Friday Night Football on NewsCenter 16 at 11 on Friday night.