Maroon fever running high
Football team on the cusp of another title
Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:00 PM
MENOMINEE - When it comes to school spirit, local high schools don't need to offer any courses on it. Menominee for example is one of those high schools where team pride is second nature and cheering for the Maroons is just something you do. It's tradition.
The Menominee Maroon football team has given fans something to cheer about all season long and plan to keep on doing it until they bring home a state championship trophy. The Maroons take on the Muskegon Oakridge Eagles Saturday afternoon at the Superior Dome in Marquette.
Kids grow up dreaming of wearing the school colors and taking on all challengers, whether on the court, the track or the gridiron. If you look at a football roster from 25, 30, 40 years ago, odds are pretty good you'll still see some of the same family names.
Coming up Saturday the Maroons will take on the Muskegon Oakridge Eagles in the Superior Dome at 3 p.m. Central time. One fan bus scheduled to leave Menominee is already full, while another has just a few people signed up. The cost is $27. Whether that bus will go depends on how many people register by noon today.
Needless to say, students at MHS are proud of their team and its perfect season thus far. Nathan Anttila, a junior who is a member of the basketball and tennis teams, said he'll be supporting the players by traveling to the game.
"It's great, it's great," he said of the quest for a state title. Anttila is predicting a close contest but wouldn't speculate on a score.
Emily Bell is also a junior at MHS. Her interests lean more toward the arts than athletics but she's also caught up in the hype.
"It's great," she said. "We're amazing!"
Athletic Director Dale Van Duinen has been down the road to glory more than once and said it never gets old.
"It seems like it's part of our nature here that we have this excitement around our football program," he said. "To see the kids grab a hold of something, enthusiastic, and not just the players, it's the whole student body. And then it overflows into the community and then they talk about it, and all of a sudden you get phone calls from alumni."
Van Duinen said he got a call from a 1952 Menominee alum asking for all the particulars of Saturday's game, where to buy tickets, bus information, the works. Others call to wish the team well and encourage them on to a state championship.
"It's a Maroon family thing, it brings out the Maroon family," he said.
Maroon fever knows no boundaries. Thursday afternoon Jerry Haapala of Marinette stopped at the school to purchase a new Maroons sweater for the game.
"I'm originally from Green Bay," he said. "I live in Marinette but I'm a Menominee fan because a lot of my friends are."
Haapala moved here 15 years ago and hasn't stopped cheering for the Maroons since.