By DOUG DONNELLY
Whiteford coach Jack Luettke has probably been involved in more Whiteford-Summerfield football games over the past 50 years than anyone. As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Luettke has seen just about everything in the rivalry.
“They are all special,” he said of the games between the two neighboring schools. I don’t know that I could single out one. There were a lot of big ones.”
Whiteford holds as 33-25 lead in the 58 games played between the schools who were River Raisin Conference foes in the 1960s and have been in the Tri-County Conference together since the early 1970s.
I would estimate that I’ve been to between 25 and 30 games between the two schools. I’ve watched blowouts, games come down to the wire and some outstanding individual efforts from both sides. I did not see the 76-0 Whiteford win over the Bulldogs in the late 1960s, although I’ve talked to players who were involved in that game from both sides.
With the 2-0 Bobcats facing the 2-0 Bulldogs Friday, here’s my choice for the 10 biggest Whiteford wins over Summerfield:
- Whiteford 17, Summerfield 7, 1985: The Bulldogs were unbeaten at 7-0 and Whiteford was coming off its first loss of the season. It was the Whiteford defense that made the difference. The Bobcats recovered a fumble on its own 8 yard line, intercepted a Summerfield pass at its own 5 and stopping the Bulldogs on a fourth-and-1 play just before halftime.
- Whiteford 7, Summerfield 0, 1979: In 1976, Summerfield beat Whiteford 40-0. In 1977, the Bulldogs scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns and won 61-7. In 1978, the Bulldogs won 24-0. So, this one was particularly sweet for Bobcat fans who finally had something to celebrate. While I was at some games before this one, this is the first one that stands out in my mind. Read more about it here.
- Whiteford 20, Summerfield 14, 2015 playoffs: The Bulldogs surprised the Bobcats with a different offense in the Week 4 matchup between the two schools, winning 38-18. The rematch came in the playoffs, at Summerfield. A huge fourth-down play by Conner Hoogendoorn in the final seconds of the game secured the win for the Bobcats, who would advance to the Division 8 semifinals.
- Whiteford 44, Summerfield 42, 2006: For entertainment value, this was probably the best game of the series. The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense with Tyler Glass setting a TCC single game passing record for Summerfield and George Flanner and Dan Ovall having monster games for the Bobcats. The game wasn’t decided until Whiteford’s Kyle Lievens knocked down a pass attempt on a two-point conversion.
- Whiteford 76, Summerfield 0, 1968: I had to mention this game, if only because it is stands out so much. The Bobcats scored 11 touchdowns. Dave Simpson scored on a 1-point conversion, a 2-point conversion, a safety and a touchdown.
- Whiteford 61, Summerfield 20, 2003: Nick Wohlfarth broke several records for the Bobcats in this one, rushing for 382 yards and seven touchdowns.
- Whiteford 28, Summerfield 12, 1994: Current Whiteford assistant coach Charlie Butz was the story of this game. He ran for a touchdown, returned a fumble for a touchdown and threw for a touchdown, plus had an interception. Incidentally, it was his dad, 32 years earlier, who scored all of Whiteford’s 10 points in a 10-6 win over the Bulldogs.
- Whiteford 3, Summerfield 0, 1993: Fred Kutzke kicked the game-winner in overtime for the Bobcats. It’s the lowest scoring game in 58 meetings between the two schools.
- Whiteford 13, Summerfield 0, 2005: The Bobcats needed a win to get into the playoffs and shutout the Bulldogs.
- Whiteford 47, Summerfield 13, 1961: The Bobcats needed a win in this season finale to win the River Raisin Conference championship – and they came through behind Gale Olrich running for two and passing for two TDs.