Saturday is game day. Will the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals claim their fifth consecutive Axe Bowl or will it be the Northwood Timberwolves who come out on top this year? It’s the question burning in the back of people’s minds and its the question that will be answered this Saturday, 1pm at Hantz Stadium.
Northwood is 3-4 on the season as Saginaw is 1-6. Yet don’t let those numbers define the predictions for Saturday. There have been 41 games played in the Axe Bowl series between SVSU and Northwood with SVSU leading 26-14-1. Yet this game could come down to a single touchdown. Eight of the last twelve games in this series have held a difference of eight points or less. SVSU has won 5 of the last 6 six years.
Saturday is about which boys decide to show up and prove they deserve to wear their school colors and hold the famous axe with pride.
You can imagine the sweat, blood, tears and practice hours being poured into this week. It’s a rivalry week which means bragging rights of course.
After asking Tommy Jacobs, sophomore at NU about the locker room atmosphere this week he said “Its been electric and we’re only a few days into axe bowl week. Coaches don’t even have to say much. Because it’s been so long since we’ve won the axe, the guys are ready.” Switching up and looking at how Northwood has changed to prove they can beat SVSU, Jacobs said ” We’re working on mental toughness this year. We know we’re physically capable and we know we want it the most. It’s going to be great having home team advantage in Hantz stadium with our fans behind us.”
Every team has a weakness. TJ Schepperly from NU said “I think we are a very good football team yet we tend to play down to other teams levels when things go bad. So I would hate to see us play down to a level this week that we are better than.”
Austin Jones, cornerback for NU, knows how important this game is the weekend. “It’s the biggest game of the year. Our number one goal is always to be GLIAC champs, but the next thing is beating SVSU. We want nothing more than to paint that axe blue.”
Yet when there’s one team ready to battle, the other is ready to battle back, possibly even harder.
From SVSU’s locker room atmosphere Will Farr, tight end for SVSU, gave us the low down. “Now that we know what we are capable of we are pumped up and ready for the game Saturday. After getting our first win we just have to continue to work hard as a team and bring the same attitudes we brought last game, because we want to keep the axe in our possession.”
Like NU, SVSU has a weakness as well. Ryan Verhelst let us in on that by saying, “I think our weakness heading into this game is going to be our emotion. It’s a big rivalry, we’re playing for the axe and coming off a win; there will be a lot of emotion. We’re gonna have to build on that emotion and use it for a positive rather than let it get the best of us.”
SVSU’s All American equipment manager, Tony Wilson, gets the privilege of seeing everything first hand on and off the field. He said “This is the best week I’ve seen the boys have yet. The team is clicking and playing to their full potential. That axe is coming back to Saginaw!”
Will the axe stay painted red or will it be changed to blue? It’s a battle of who wants it more. Northwood may be 3-4 on the season and have the upper hand but with SVSU recently coming off their first win get ready to watch these boys go crazy Saturday night and watch them leave it all on the field.
After Saturday’s game we will know which team doesn’t need a further introduction.
“There is only one way to succeed in anything and that is to give it everything.” – Vince Lombardi