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Brown Jug game ‘everything’ to Lincoln, Center Line GAME OF THE WEEK

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To understand the football rivalry between Lincoln and Center Line, all you have to do is listen to the ones involved in it.

“It’s everything,” Panthers coach Jim Carlisle said. “This is one of those rivalries where you get to bring something home, the Brown Jug. It’s very much a sense of pride.”

“It spans from generation to generation,” said Abes offensive coordinator Clint Derringer, a 2001 graduate from Lincoln. “Anyone from my past, the first they’ll ask when they run into me is, ‘Did you win the Brown Jug game.’

“I wait for it every year,” Center Line senior Dominic Tatangelo said. “It’s my Christmas.”

The annual meeting between the teams, which began in 1947, was voted this week’s “Game of the Week” for the Macomb Daily and MIPrepZone.com/Macomb, totaling 63-percent of the vote.

The Brown Jug game beat out rivalry games between Eisenhower/Stevenson and Dakota/Chippewa Valley, along with the first MAC Red Division meeting between Warren-Mott/L’Anse Creuse North.

The rivalry has endured over four conference changes – Bi-County, Warren, Macomb-Oakland, Macomb Area.

“My family has played for the Brown Jug, they’ve won the Brown Jug,” Tatangelo said. “It’s been in generations. We’re a small town so this means a lot to everyone, they’re connected to it in some way somehow.”

This will be the 68th meeting between the schools and Lincoln holds a 34-33 advantage in the series. The Abes have won the last two and have come out on top in five of the last six meetings.

This is the earliest the rivals will meet since meeting in Week 3 in 2005, which Center Line won 19-18.

The Panthers have lost 20 games in a row dating back to 2011. Their last win was coincidently over the Abes, 41-34 on Oct. 14.

“I can’t think of a better team than Lincoln to win that Brown Jug,” Carlisle said. “I don’t care about a Warren Woods-Tower, a Cousino, a New Haven, we want to beat Lincoln. We want that Brown Jug, that’s what it’s all about.”

“The message to our kids is just match the intensity they’ll bring to get off the schneid because if you think you’re just going to show up and win that’s not how it works,” said Derringer, who went 1-1 in his playing days against Center Line. “That’s what they’re hoping is going to happen.”

And winning that Brown Jug is part of Center Line’s three goals this season, along with winning the MAC Bronze and qualifying for the playoffs.

“The Brown Jug hasn’t been at Center Line in over two years and we plan on bringing it home this weekend,” Carlisle said.

Tatangelo and senior Jacob Brooklier were in the stands when Center Line last possessed the Brown Jug.

“It’s that much more special for the seniors,” said Brooklier, whose grandfather and uncle both played in the game. “If you have a losing record and you win this game it’s what you talk about.”

Both teams compete in the MAC Bronze Division, which makes Saturday’s game even more important.

“Having it earlier in the year and being able to ride that emotion if we’re able to win will be a huge deal,” Derringer said. “It would be a big boost to our confidence. When we talk about winning that game, we’re going to mention that it’s the first game of the league and that would get us off to a good start so that’s where our focus should be outside the emotion of it being for the Brown Jug.

Both teams lost their season openers last week. Lincoln fell to Clintondale, 14-6, while Center Line fell to Dearborn Heights Crestwood, 22-12.

Last Updated: 9/3/2014 8:27:15 PM EST