MAYVILLE — The Mayville/Kingston football rivalry will begin anew Friday, and will have a new layer to it.
The two schools, which are about 10 miles apart, last played each other in 2011. But the annual season-ending game was halted after the Cardinals made the switch to 8-man prior to the 2012 school year.
Mayville went to 8-man this year, which means the season-ending clash is back on the schedule. Kingston at Mayville is The Advertiser’s Week 9 Game of the Week.
“I’m pretty excited to bring back the rivalry,” said Kingston coach Scott Boyle. “So are our kids and both communities. It’s going to be nice to get back to where we used to be, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
And there’s a new twist. For the first time since 1970 Kingston and Mayville are in the same conference — the North Central Thumb League.
“Our guys are pretty pumped up, especially the guys who have had dads and brothers play in this rivalry,” said Mayville coach Mike Campbell. “They’ve heard some of the stories about how every year is usually a really good game.”
Neither team has a shot at the NCTL title, that honor belongs to Deckerville — the No. 2 team 8-man team in Michigan — which blew through league competition this year. And neither will play in the postseason. Kingston’s playoff hopes were dashed before the season started as the school had two too many students to qualify to play in the 8-man playoffs. The Wildcats, at 3-5 (2-2) were eliminated from playoff possibility with a loss to Dryden last week. Kingston is 3-4 and 1-3 in the NCTL.
“It doesn’t matter what the records are, it never did,” said Boyle, who has been head coach for three years but part of the program for a quarter century. “It’s going to come down to who has less turnovers, who has less penalties, who makes less mistakes.”
The last time the two teams played, when this year’s seniors were in seventh grade, Kingston prevailed 52-28 on its way to a playoff berth.
“I expect (Kingston) to come out really fired up, I know my boys will,” said Campbell, who is in his 14th year as Wildcats head coach. “Going back to when we played them in Week 9 every year, that was never something I was worried about, no matter how our season was going.”
For 21 consecutive seasons, from 1991-2001 Kingston/Mayville was the last game on the schedule. Before that, the rivalry had been played consecutively since 1983. The Cardinals have been a part of the NCTL since 1971 while Mayville has spent time in the Greater Thumb West, Greater Thumb East, Thumb C, Big Thumb, West Thumb and most recently as an independent. Kingston and Mayville were both members of the West Thumb Conference from 1960-1970.
An interesting note: Mayville leads the rivalry with a 21-19-3 record, but it hasn’t equated to season success. Kingston has made the playoffs 16 times in school history while the Wildcats have got