Taylor, Michigan– Friday night, the Kennedy Eagles lost, 68-20 to the arch rival Truman Cougars across town, but the sting of defeat quickly evaporated afterwards. That’s because in the spirit of the Kennedy and Truman merging together to form one high school next year, the Eagles and Cougars met in the middle of the field to embrace each other in a way that may not have ever been witnessed before.
“We prepared all week about this being the final Truman/Kennedy game, our final game here at the school as Truman Cougar football” Cougars head coach, so we prepared that way,” Jeff Morrow said. “We talked about the kids leaving a legacy for Truman football and the other side of it was, we’re so excited about bringing Kennedy guys into our fold and merging together into a melting pot. It’s not going to be Truman. It’s not going to be Kennedy. It’s going to be something else, so that’s the special thing about it that they have a blank canvas that they get to paint.”
The moments following the game were truly emotional as Eagles head coach Steve Rusnak revealed a tradition that was started when he was part of the Truman staff, where special jerseys are made in honor of those who lost their battles with cancer. Rusnak showed his players the jersey made for his father.
Throughout his postgame speech, Rusnak expressed how much he wished he could just talk to his father and thus encouraged all of his players to reach out to their fathers, even if they aren’t in the family picture.
Then it was on to the moment shown in the video earlier with Eagles and Cougars meeting at midfield.
“These guys know each other, growing up, playing junior football together,” Rusnak said. “They split at the middle or at the high school level, then they’re fighting each other and then they’re going against other cities that all know each other and stay together.”
Currently, it’s not know officially what the name of the unified high school will be called, or who will be the head coach of the varsity football team, but both Morrow and Rusnak, along with their respective coaching staffs, are already putting together some preparations for what next season will look like.
To be honest, it’s almost as if any words I write here might not truly do this story the justice it deserves; that the videos speak well enough on their own. With that said, it was truly a special, and surreal moment to see the coaches and players from two schools that have been rivals for so long, celebrate what will be the dawning of a new era next year. You heard it from me, Seth Walker.