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SL expects at least 300 former players on hand for 50 year anniversary

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM

There will be plenty of less formal get-togethers as well.

“I’m sure Stans is going to be packed on Friday and Saturday,” said Lakers’ head coach Jerry Rabideau with a laugh.

Spring Lake Athletic Director Cavin Mohrhardt said he expects the festivities will hold special meaning to past alumni young and old. He’s anticipated at least 300 former players to be in attendance, as well as all but one of the past varsity coaches who are still alive.

“Everyone will be there except John Walksmith, who coached for just one season,” Mohrhardt said. “We expect Charlie Everback to be here. He lives up in the Mason County area and he was the coach who followed (first-ever coach) Len Fase.”

“Honestly, it’s surprising that it’s been 50 years already,” Mohrhardt added, a 1976 Spring Lake graduate. “But for some of the guys, especially those who graduated in the 60s, I’m sure they’ll say it seems like yesterday. It may be quite emotional for a lot of the guys, especially to be back on that field for the first time in several years. It’s going to be a special evening.”

The celebration of 50 years of Spring Lake football begins Friday, with a pig roast taking place at Spring Lake Middle School. The event will be held in the field west of the school, near where the Lakers’ soccer team plays its games. Mohrhardt said there would be special parking available for alumni, as well as a designated section of bleachers for them during the game.

For Spring Lake’s varsity contest against Grant, the Lakers will don retro uniforms patterned after the first varsity team in 1962. The game programs have also been re-designed for a retro 1960s-era look.

The Lakers had a choice to wear the jerseys throughout the season, but chose to save them for Friday’s special contest, Rabideau said.

Rabideau said that all the old Spring Lake football jerseys from the past several decades will be for sale during the pig roast.

“All of that fundraising will go specifically to the football program,” Rabideau said.

At halftime of Friday’s game, all of the returning alumni will line up on the field by decades.

“They’ll all be introduced, and we’re going to give their winning records by decade,” Rabideau said. “I understand former coach Charlie Everbach is coming back, Tom Hickman. Of course, Len Fase has passed away, then Leo (Rosencrants) and myself will be out there.”

“It says a lot about what we’ve done in 50 years here at Spring Lake,” Mohrhardt added. “It’s been a great 50 years and those coaches have helped establish a great tradition here at Spring Lake.”

On Saturday, a reunion will be held beginning at 5 p.m. at Terra Verde Golf Course. Mohrhardt said tickets for the reunion will be sold during Friday’s pig roast.

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