West Catholic football chasing history at Ford Field

Grand Rapids West Catholic wins the Division 5 state championship at Ford Field on Nov. 26, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Falcons of Grand Rapids West Catholic are flying in some rare air heading into the high school football championships.

Heading into Saturday’s Division 5 championship game, West Catholic could become just the third team in Michigan’s history to win five consecutive state titles.

However, coach Joe Hyland isn’t interested in talking about the potential history that could be made.

“People have talked all sorts of things that, in my opinion, don’t in any way help what we’re trying to do on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Experience is important to any team attempting to reach its potential, and it’s something West Catholic has all over the field.

“One of the two or three things that’s been able to help us get where we’re at is the experience level of our kids,” Hyland said.

Quarterback Gaetano Vallone will start his third game at Ford Field on Saturday.

“Being a starter for three years really allows me to get to help out the younger kids, even the ones that have been there before,” Vallone said. “It’s a big stage, I’ve got to do my best to help those guys out and embrace that.”

The Falcons are coming into the championship game with some momentum, as they have won two close games over Portland and Frankenmuth by a combined total of six points.

For senior defensive end Gabe Rohn, Ford Field has become a home away from home during Thanksgiving weekend. Saturday’s game will mark the seventh time he has either dressed for or been on the sidelines for the championship.

“When I was young, it was cool,” he said. “All these kids I looked up to. When I got to do it myself, it was just amazing.”