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Expectations High for Kalkaska Football in 2016

KALKASKA – With some 28 players on the roster, including 18 seniors, expectations are high for the Kalkaska football team and veteran coach Jeremy Wilkinson in 2016.

After clinching its third winning season (5-4) in four years last fall, Kalkaska narrowly missed out on its third playoff appearance in four seasons and fourth in school history.

"We were so close. I think we were like four-tenths or four-hundredths of a point away from being in,” Wilkinson said. “You know, it kind of leaves a bad taste in the kids’ mouth, and throughout the summer it was ‘one more rep, one more yard.’ That’s all we needed. So, they’ve kind of taken it to heart, and used it as motivation."

The Blazers are moving up from the Northern Michigan Football League Legends division to the Leaders division this fall, and with that move brings stiffer competition from fellow Class B schools Kingsley, Cheboygan and Benzie Central.

"We’ve worked a lot. We went to mini-camps over the summer and during the offseason,” senior quarterback Hunter Suydam said. “I’m ready to see what the season has in store."

Kalkaska opens its season with a non-league matchup at Pine River on Aug. 26, before hosting Mancelona on Sept. 1.