HS Football Two-a-days: Kalkaska & East Jordan
We bump our high school football two-a-day preview total to 38 teams when we visit Kalkaska and East Jordan. They are a pair of Lake Michigan Conference schools that are moving to the new Northern Michigan Football League.
Kalkaska has made two consecutive playoff appearances but the Blazers are still looking for their first postseason win in school history.
Numbers are on the rise for 2014 but it’s definitely a youth movement for the blue and white. Playmakers Will Noble and Caleb Houser are no longer in the Blazer backfield and they will likely start an underclassman at Quarterback this season.
However, an area of strength for Kalkaska will be solid returning group of players in the trenches.
“We’re going to lean on them,” Head Coach Jeremy Wilkinson said. “You look at it, in football, if you get 5 yards a play, you know, that’s a first down, and you can keep moving it down the field. Whereas last year we kind of relied on the big play with Will and Caleb, this year it’s just going to kind of be trying to grind it out.”
The Blazers open the season at Pine River.
East Jordan had a great season in 2013, earning its first winning season in a decade.
However, at 5-4 they just missed out on the playoffs. That near miss has fueled the returning players as they prepare to hopefully take the next step and earn a postseason berth in 2014.
The Red Devils roster has grown over the past few seasons which provides some much needed depth on both sides of the ball.
While a number of key skill players from last season are gone, there is a strong work ethic in this squad.
“They’re workers,” Head Coach Allan Peterson said. “We’ll come out and say do 40 sprints, and they’ll say ‘let’s do 50.’ So that to me going is to be the key is if we’re going to have to outlast people and be in good shape, maybe we get some in the fourth quarter on them.”
The Red Devils will test that theory in the season opener against Boyne City.