The 2020 St. Joe football schedule has been out for a little while, here's a peek on what's in store this season.
Week 1 - Friday - 8/28 - 7:00 - at Mattawan - Mattawan Stadium
For a second straight season, the Bears 2020 campaign starts with a road game. The Bears will also be have second straight trip to Mattawan. St. Joe last faced the Wildcats in Mattawan in week 3 last year. St. Joe came away with a 42-20 win over the Wildcats. Mattawan comes into the season with a brand new head coach. Former Kalamazoo United head coach David Arrasmith takes the reigns from Ryan Brown.
Week 2 - Thursday - 9/3 - 7:00 - vs. Battle Creek Central - Steve Upton Field at Dickinson Stadium
The home opener is the same oppoent the Bears opened the artificial turf field two years ago as Battle Creek Central comes to Steve Upton Field at Dickinson Stadium. There is no such thing as "home field advantage" in this series. The last five games have all been won by the team on the visitors sideline. Last year the Bears won the opener on Thursday Night/Early Friday morning 32-19 after a nearly 3 hour weather and lightning delay. Battle Creek Central won the last time these two teams played in St. Joe 34-27 on the debut of the new turf field. Lorin Granger is back for his 9th season on the sidelines for the Bearcats.
Week 3 - Friday - 9/11 - 7:00 - at Portage Northern - Huskie Stadium
Another road trip to a place we were at last year, with the Bears heading to Portage Northern at the now three year old Huskie Stadium. Northern edged out the Bears 27-21 in the final week of the regular season a year ago, a win that would give Northern their 2nd consecutive SMAC West title (2018 shared with Portage Central). Northern head coach Pete Schermerhorn is in his 27th season as head coach, tied for the longest tenured head coach in the SMAC at their current school.
Week 4 - Friday - 9/18 - 7:00 - vs. Kalamazoo Central - Steve Upton Field at Dickinson Stadium
It's been a while since the Maroon Giants have played in St. Joe. Kalamazoo Central and St. Joseph had not played each other the last two seasons, the last meeting was in 2017 at Thomas Stadium in Kalamazoo with the Bears coming away with a 20-9 win in the opening week. Of course the year before that was when St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Central were selected to take part in the "Battle at the Big House." When the University of Michigan allowed the Bears and Giants to face off on the turf of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, a 26-0 win for the Bears. That game originally was going to be at St. Joseph home game at Dickinson Stadium. The last time Kalamazoo Central played in St. Joe was in 2014. Carleton Brewster is Kalamazoo Central's head coach, now in his third season.
Week 5 - Friday - 9/25 - 7:00 - at Okemos - Okemos Stadium
A trip to the Capital Region of Michigan is in store for the Bears in week 5 as St. Joe will face Okemos. The SMAC and Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) are cooperation on filling out the schedule as the CAAC-Blue Division only has 7 teams and the SMAC has 9. St. Joe made the trip to the Lansing area last season and faced state powerhouse DeWitt. Okemos was 1-8 in 2019, but the Chieftains made the playoffs in 2018 with a 7-4 record and had a winning season in 2017 at 5-4. Okemos Stadium is a artificial surface. Mike Krumm is in his 3rd season as head coach, with a record of 8-12. St. Joe has faced Okemos in another sport recently. The girls basketball team has faced the Chieftains each of the last two years.
Week 6 - Friday - 10/2 - 7:00 - vs. Portage Central - Steve Upton Field at Dickinson Stadium
The Bears will return home to Dickinson Stadium in week 6 with St. Joe hosting rival Portage Central. Portage Central has made the playoffs each of the last 8 years, despite a 5-5- record a year ago. St. Joe beat the Mustangs in the first matchup in the new McCamley Field last year 34-7. The last time the two faced off at Dickison Stadium was in 2018 with St. Joe coming away with a 13-6 win. Mick Enders returns as the Mustangs head coach, now in his 11th year.
Week 7 - Friday - 10/9 - 7:00 - at Lakeshore - Kohn-Lehman Field at Al Stockman Stadium
In what has been previously been a meeting early in the year, the annualy "War by the Shore" has been slated for week 7 this season. St. Joe came away with the 22-14 victory over the Lancers a year ago. Lakeshore finished the season at 4-5, their first losing season since going 1-8 in 1987. In 1988 they hired Denny Dock as their head coach. The Lancers repeated that hire again last winter, taking over from Bryan Keim. Dock comes back to Lakeshore after spending the last three years assisting his son Jeff at Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg. This will be Dock's 27th season as coach of the Lancers, tyiing him with Pete Schermerhorn for the longest tenured coach in the league at their current school.
Week 8 - Friday - 10/16 - 7:00 - vs. Gull Lake - Steve Upton Field at Dickinson Stadium
After two years off the schedule, Gull Lake will make the trip to St. Joe this season. There has been some offseason turmoil for the Blue Devils as Head Coach Ryan Gallogly stepped aside in March, but because schools were forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, a full search could not be done. Forcing Gull Lake to find a new coach on their own sidelines, and that's what they've done in Interim Head Coach Don Eastman. Eastman was an assistant coach, but he does have head coaching experience at nearby Comstock. Gull Lake at 2-7 a year ago, after an 0-9 season in 2018.
Week 9 - Friday - 10/23 - 7:00 at Battle Creek Lakeview - Spartan Memorial Stadium
The regular season concludes with a road trip to last years only undefeated regular season team in the SMAC as the Bears face Battle Creek Lakview. Lakeview shut out the Bears 14-0 last year in the final home game last year. Starting the Bears on a three game losing streak to finish the regular season. Lakeview's undefeated season came to an end in the district championship game with a 47-7 loss to Livonia-Churchill. Former Benton Harbor assistant Jerry Diorio enters his third season as the head coach.