The Charlotte High School varsity football team was not ready to relinquish the “Little Brown Jug.” Keeping it out of the hands of their rivals from Eaton Rapids feels too good.

Charlotte used a punishing ground attack Friday, Oct. 5 to ensure the jug would remain in Charlotte for at least one more year. Charlotte dropped the Greyounds 45-31 behind quarterback Dominic Ghiardi’s 263-rushing yards.

“It is always nice to keep the Jug where it belongs,” CHS varsity head coach Jeff Finney said this week. “This is a game that both schools look forward to every year and a game that our players are excited to play.”

Seeing the Greyounds line up across the field sparked something in Charlotte, who with the win moved to 3-4 to cling to slim playoff chances. The 45 points was the team’s biggest offensive output of the season by far. Ghiardi ran for three scores, and threw for 94 yards. Fellow senior, Brendan Sine added 66 yards on the ground and also scored three touchdowns in the win. He also added a 39-yard field goal in the win.

The Orioles must win their final two games of the season to become playoff eligible, and Finney said his guys are focused on that goal.

“The players know that we are in playoff mode right now and are preparing well for a very tough Lakewood team this Friday,” Finney said. “We cannot look at it as we need two more wins, we look at it like we need to be 1-0 this week.”

The Orioles were scheduled to head to Lakewood on Friday, Oct. 12 for a 7 p.m. kick off. The Vikings were 5-2 on the season and coming off a 34-14 loss to Olivet on Oct. 5.

“We will need to play a much cleaner game on Friday to beat Lakewood,” Finney said. “Limiting the penalties and turnovers will be a huge step in the right direction.”

The Orioles end the season Oct. 19 at home against Hastings. The game is being billed as the Community Pride game and will feature a fireworks display following the game.

“The upcoming Community Pride game is going to be amazing,” Finney said. “This is an event that we started last year with the fireworks and something that I hope continues for years to come.  I could not think of a better way to say thank you to our senior athletes than having them play in front of packed bleachers for their last game on our field.”

Community support has something Finney said his team has felt all season. In addition to the Community Pride game, and large crowd for the Oct. 5 rivalry game, the Charlotte community came out in full force Sept. 14 for the Victory for Veterans game against Portland. The game raised $7,795 for the Michigan Freedom Center.

“For somebody that has been a part of this community for my entire life I could not be more excited to see all the support,” Finney said. “There is no way that could have been done without the backing of a great community like ours.”