Mancelona eyes sixth straight playoff bid

MANCELONA – Qualifying for the postseason in eight of the past nine years, the Mancelona football program has established a winning tradition over the last decade.

If the Ironmen want to continue that postseason streak, they’ll have to do it with less depth and a small roster this fall, as turnout is littler than in recent years.

"They're going to have to play a lot of football,” Mancelona coach Dan Derrer said. “It's important for us to get in shape because they're not going to get a lot of breathers."

On the defensive side of the ball, Mancelona is switching to a 4-4, a move that is challenging for senior leaders.

"Obviously, we don't have a lot of guys so we're going to have to be in tip-top shape to compete in every single game,” said senior running back Chase Ritchie.

The Ironmen are also in their final year with the Ski Valley Conference, as they join Central Lake, Gaylord St. Mary, Indian River Inland Lakes, St. Ignace and Johannesburg-Lewiston in departing for the expanding Northern Michigan Football League in 2016.

Mancelona opens its 2015 schedule on Aug. 28, hosting Johannesburg-Lewiston.