Kent City upset with Ravenna’s kickoff time decision

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KENT CITY, Mich. (WOOD) — Several Kent City High School football players are faced with a tough choice: Compete in the district title game or the band’s state championship, which are scheduled for the same day on opposite sides of the state. Kent City is blaming its rival Ravenna for forcing the students to choose.

The dispute is over the time of the football game, but Kent City says it’s also about giving students the opportunity to compete in both.

Under MHSAA rules, Ravenna has earned the right to be the home team and choose the time of the game. They picked 1 p.m. Saturday.

“I think that sometimes you might have the right to do something, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,” Kent City Superintendent Mike Weiler said.

He said he reached out to Ravenna on Monday to try and fix the problem.

“I called Kent City back and I said, ‘No, we are going to leave it,'” Ravenna Superintendent John VanLoon told 24 Hour News 8. “That’s when everything blew up because we weren’t going to move it.”

VanLoon says he tried to change the time but there were too many conflicts, including a volleyball game on Friday and a school fundraiser on Saturday night.

“We’re not villains here, VanLoon said. “We didn’t say, ‘How are we going to do something different?’ It’s a very unfortunate situation.”

Now, five football players who are also in marching band will perform in the state championship competition at Ford Field in Detroit at 10:30 a.m., then hop on a bus to try to make it to the game in Ravenna.

“I care about Ravenna kids and Kent City kids,” VanLoon said. “This is one of those times where if we have kids that have conflicts, they have to make choices.”

Weiler said he agrees, but added, “I think the job for the adults is to do whatever they can to both protect the kids and provide them with every opportunity they might want to have.”