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FOOTBALL: Old Warriors, Trojans finally meet Saturday (PHOTO)





Although Woodhaven and Trenton have been longtime high school sports rivals, many former football players from each school never faced each other.

This Saturday they’ll get their chance.

An alumni game between Woodhaven and Trenton will be played at 7 p.m. at Woodhaven High School. Each roster will feature about 30 alumni from each school and represent a wide range of graduating classes.

Trenton will field players from the mid 1970s-2011 and Woodhaven’s roster will have representatives from the classes of 1986-2013.

1998 Woodhaven graduates, and former players, Robert Elswick and David Brandt first came up with the plan for an alumni game.

Elswick, who will be the Warriors’ quarterback Saturday, said the choice of opponent was either Trenton or Carlson. They opted for the Trojans, he said, because it could settle an old score, as the two nearby, rival schools had never faced off during the duo’s playing days.

According to Michigan-Football.com, the two teams didn’t meet from 1991-2004.

“We even share the same zip code with Trenton,” Elswick said. “Growing up, even though we never played them, we just didn’t like those guys, so it just kind of fit for us (now).”

In honor of the shared zip code, the game has since been dubbed the “Battle of 48183.”

For Trenton, alumni Joe Pine (1997) and John Vandenberg (2002) took charge of putting together a squad full of former Trojans.

When approached about playing in the alumni game, Vandenberg, who now lives in Kalamazoo, said he immediately jumped at the chance.

“I said ‘I’m in, completely in’,” the former Trojans’ standout said. “Getting that opportunity to put those pads on again is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s every guy’s dream to play that game, you always talk about it.”

Both teams began practice in February and each squad has met approximately 30 times. All workouts have been without pads, however, as the players will only suit up on game day.

Saturday’s contest will be coordinated by Alumni Football USA, which puts on similar games throughout the nation.

Elswick said the organization would be providing nearly everything on game day, including jerseys, pads, helmets and the referees.

Aside from the chance for former players to suit up again, the alumni game has also been planned as effort to raise money for both schools. $5 of every $10 presale ticket will go back the school of the respective seller, Elswick said.

“It’s not just a bunch of old guys trying to play football,” he said. “There’s a bigger concept to the whole deal.”

Tickets will also be $10 at the gate on game day, but only presale purchases will apply towards the donation back to the schools.

Presale tickets can be purchased from any player, at McInerney’s Woodhaven Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, which is located at 24390 Allen Road, at Moose MacGregor’s, which is at 21980 Telegraph Road in Brownstown or at Woodhaven-Brownstown Board of Education building, which is at 24821 Hall Road in Woodhaven.

Woodhaven High School is located at 24787 Van Horn Road.





















Last Updated: 7/23/2013 11:12:36 AM EST

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