CHARLEVOIX – No team in the region has put a more consistent product on the field in recent times than the Charlevoix football team.
The Rayders have compiled three straight playoff seasons with seven wins or more while coming close to a district championship win at Ishpeming Westwood a year ago.
In 2022, the schedule won’t look much different, but the inclusion of Tawas in the Northern Michigan Football League’s Leaders Division and Manistique as a non-conference game is causing some intrigue.
Below are some areas of the Charlevoix football schedule that stand out:
Charlevoix will face two rivals in the first two weeks of the season, with a trip to East Jordan followed by a visit from Harbor Springs.
Neither game is a conference matchup anymore, although it’s nice that they’re still on schedule.
East Jordan always plays the Rayders tough, even on bad seasons, as evidenced by a 14-6 win by Rayder last season, a 14-7 win by Rayder in 2019 and a 21-14 win by Charlevoix in the Year 2017 shows.
Charlevoix will go into 2022 with some likely questions as the Red Devils have a new head coach to lead the program and a new look to make it even more interesting.
A week later, Charlevoix brings in rivals Harbor Springs, a team also led by a new coach.
After Charlevoix had a few competitive games over the last decade, Charlevoix has made things a bit one-sided with the Rams lately, winning a 38-0 opener last season, before that 47-27 and 32-0.
However, whenever there’s a rival on the other side and a new coach takes over, it’s never a good idea to be overconfident.
DO NOT BE FOOLED
If you know the history of some teams on the Charlevoix schedule or how they ended things a year ago, one thing that stands out is the number of teams that lost.
Five of the nine teams on the Charlevoix calendar ended with two or fewer wins a year ago.
Tawas, the newcomer to the Leaders Division, has been winless in the last two seasons, having recorded just 82 points a year ago and 77 points in 2020.
Manistique — whom the Rayders are fortunate to have at home and not have to take the bus — hasn’t earned a playoff spot since 2012, ending 2021 with a 2-7 record.
There’s also Harbor Springs, Elk Rapids, and Kalkaska, all struggling to erase a bad 2021 or long stretches of mediocrity.
However, one thing the Rayders can’t do is look ahead.
Last season’s matchup with a 1-8 team from Kalkaska resulted late in the season in a 32-30 win for Charlevoix, a little too close to consolation on the Rayder sideline.
Tawas, a team the Rayder program has never encountered before, comes a week ahead of Boyne City, so if it’s not taken seriously, it’s written trap game all over the place.
Ditto for Kalkaska again a week before Glen Lake wraps up the 2022 Rayder season.
There’s a lot here that might look like cupcake matchups, but believing they are will end up with icing on your face.
BOYNE CITY LATE
The game that’s circled twice and then again every year: Boyne City.
While Boyne City had a strong winning streak in this rivalry for a while, things have leveled off recently.
The two have held a 2-2 record in their last four games against each other, with Boyne City clinching a 27-8 win last season.
That happened in the second week of the season, which is where most of the matchups between these two have happened in the last decade.
But for the first time since 2013, it’s back to a mid-season and late-season matchup, which always feels best for a major rivalry game.
Teams often find themselves out early in the season, and with so many personnel changes for both the Rayders and Ramblers in 2022, it’s great to have those in week six instead of week two.
August 26 in East Bank
September 1 against Harbor Springs
September 9th in Mancelona
September 16 vs. Elk Rapids
September 23 against Tawas
September 30 at Boyne City
8 October vs Manistique
October 14 against Kalkaksa
October 21 at Glen Lake
Contact Sports Editor Drew Kochanny at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter, @DrewKochanny, and Instagram, @drewkochanny