NORTON SHORES, MICH. - What a morning it was! The WZZM 13 Morning News is embarking on a new journey called "Sunrise Sidelines." It's a kickoff to not only 13 On Your Sidelines, but the weekend as well.
Through the final regular season game of the Michigan high school football season, we'll be visiting some of the most spirited schools in our area. First up, it was the Mona Shores Sailors.
So why Mona Shores? Well, aside from their hard-to-beat fan support, this high school has a pretty cool event happening Friday, Sept. 8. It's called the "Sailor Salute." It's an effort to honor the military as well as police, firefighters and first responders at the school's football game.
But Sunrise Sidelines is about more than just football. We want to honor the best the each of our schools has to offer. And there's plenty to brag about at Mona Shores.
"We have the best kids and parents and community," said principal Jennifer Bustard. "We just love all things Mona Shores whether it be the arts, the athletics, or anything that goes on in academics. We just have the very best of kids and we love them so much."
"When you think in terms of what can a school community do, it's so much more than academics. It's just making sure we are there for our community and really honor the people that sacrifice their lives and are so committed to keeping our community safe. We really want to teach our kids how important that is. It's not just about reading and writing and math. It's so much bigger than that."
We got to meet many members of the Mona Shores community at Friday's edition of Sunrise Sidelines. We talked with teachers, cheerleaders, dancers, student section members, the robotics club, and even an 8th grader who couldn't wait to share her school spirit.
Of course, the football team isn't too bad either. Matt Koziak has coached his alma mater since 2011. In that time, he turned a program that had only qualified for the playoffs once in more than a decade into a force to be reckoned with. The Sailors even reached the state finals in 2014.
We put aside the X's and O's so we could get to know Coach Koziak on a personal level. We learned he's a dog person, he loves U-M football, and he graduated from Western Michigan University so he's also a Broncos fan.
And maybe his favorite thing of all is winning. We were so blown away by the speech he gave his team at the Battle at the Big House against Canton during week one. He spoke of unity, playing for the person next to you, and never giving up. He also said he wanted the crowd in Ann Arbor to know the best football isn't played on the east side of Michigan. It's played in Muskegon.
Mona Shores plays host to Rockford during Friday night's game. The Rams will be a tough opponent for them. They're coming off a 14-0 win over Saline and a 14-0 loss against powerhouse Lowell.
Oh and speaking of Rockford, get used to seeing them on WZZM 13. Our next Sunrise Sidelines will be at Rockford High School on Friday, Sept. 15. Tune in from 4:30 to 7 that morning!
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