BRIDGMAN — Bridgman is facing an anticlimactic end to its impressive eight-man football season.
The Bees were set to play at Lawrence on Friday, Oct. 15, in a winner-take-all showdown for the Southwest Michigan Eight-Man Football League Tier 2 championship, but the game was canceled, and MHSAA.com lists Bridgman as a forfeit winner. Both teams were 4-0 in conference play.
“It’s disappointment, really,” Bridgman coach Aaron Locke said. “We were looking forward to having a showdown for the conference championship.”
Lawrence athletic director John Guillean told Kalamazoo television station WWMT that the cancellation “is due to a combination of factors that would affect player safety.”
Bridgman (7-0) is now left with an Oct. 22 regular-season ending non-conference game against Marcellus on its schedule. The Bees are above the MHSAA enrollment limit for the eight-player playoffs.
“Having a playoff is a part of drawing kids back out to football,” Locke said. “It would be nice to have a playoff for the bigger schools.”
Last season, Bridgman won a small postseason tournament with other schools over the limit, but Locke said that was unlikely to happen this season, as most of the teams that would compete in it are struggling.
Bridgman looked for a replacement game for Oct. 15, reaching out as far as the Upper Peninsula to top-ranked Powers North Central, as well as traditional power Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart. The Bees have won all their games this season by at least four touchdowns.
“Our kids really want to play someone big,” Locke said. “They were really looking forward to that. They really want to see where they stack up. You just want a place to put all that work and effort in the playoffs and get something.”