By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.-Despite a global pandemic, abbreviated pre-season and only a handful of fans in attendance—the Martian-Blackhawk football rivalry got just a smidge feisty on Friday night.
The Blackhawks topped the Martians 41-28 in a game that featured plenty of offense along with some injuries.
“It was a very physical game,” said Blackhawk Head Coach Brad Zube, now 3-1 versus their M-15 rivals to the north. “We got knocked around, they got knocked around. These are two excellent teams getting after each other at a high level. Both schools have respect the other teams and are eager to continue the great football tradition each fall.”
Martians Head Coach Tom Alward agreed it was a physical game.
“Our kids played hard,” said Alward, in his 29th season with the Martians. “It was physical and the Blackhawks deserved to win. We battled in the second half to get close. Brandon played well and we just did not make the big play to win the game. We fought hard and we wish the Blackhawks well in the future. There is a good chance we could see this team again in this years playoffs.”
The Brandon-Goodrich game is a yearly event as the Martians are now part of the 12 Flint Metro League teams which include the Blackhawks. The expanded Flint Metro League will crown a champion this fall.
The pandemic shorten season which started Sept. 18, now features six league games along with a guaranteed playoff birth for all teams.
“The message to our kids is that each Friday (game) is a blessing,” said Zube.
“You just don’t know. The whole season could get shut down tomorrow. We are preparing for every game and hope the season keeps going. It’s a special group players in Brandon, the season which started up then stopped before restarted has played with their emotions.”
Some of the injuries in recent games may have been due to an unconventional training process this past summer, said Zube.
“The weight room has been closed,” he said. “Those injuries are due to a lack of time in the necessary time in the weight room. All teams, statewide we are all facing that right now.”
According to the Michigan High School Historical Game-by-Game results, the Brandon-Goodrich rivalry dates back to 1952 and continued until 1992. In 2014 the rivalry was rekindled as the Martians won 33-7. Then in 2015 Zach Clements hit the game winning 37 yard field goal propelling the Blackhawks to a 11-10 victory over the Martians. It was the first win for the Blackhawks since 1986 and narrowed the overall series to 30-12 in favor of Goodrich. Then in 2016 Blackhawk Kevin Bickett raced for four touchdowns as the Blackhawks topped the Martins 35-14 at a packed Roy U Stacey Stadium in Goodrich. The win was the second straight for the Blackhawks over the Martians and was the debut for new coach Brad Zube.
After not playing in 2017 the battle heated back up in 2018 as the Blackhawks victory streak continued over the Martians with a 26-7 win at Blackhawk Stadium. Then in 2019 the Martians won at home 32-26.
The series record is now at 31-15 in favor of the Martians
For four out of the past five years the Blackhawks have kept the Milk Can Cup trophy awarded to the winner of the rivalry. The can was donated by Brandon Township’s Cook’s Farm Dairy and is a symbol of both communities’ rich farming tradition. Each year the score and date are etched on the cup, with the winning team keeping the cup until the next season.