JOHANNESBURG – Lacking a roster with sufficient varsity experience, the Johannesburg-Lewiston football program enters 2016 as a rebuilding year.
Gone from last year’s Ski Valley Conference runner-up squad are all-state linebacker Logan Huff and all-state kicker Nathan Fox.
“We’re young and not a lot of guys have experience,” senior Dom Cassisi said. “Maybe three, four guys have had sufficient varsity playing time, so we’re just reloading.”
Finishing at or above .500 in each of the last eight seasons and having qualified for the postseason in five consecutive years, the Cardinals also join a new league this fall following the end of the SVC’s sponsorship of football. Johannesburg Lewiston is joined by Central Lake, St. Ignace, Inland Lakes, Gaylord St. Mary, East Jordan and Harbor Springs in the Northern Michigan Football League Legacy division.
Johannesburg-Lewiston lost just twice last season, falling to St. Ignace in Week 5 and in a Division 8 district final and figures to run a more speed-orientated offense this fall.
“I think you’ll see more of the speed aspect to it,” coach Joe Smokevitch said. “Maybe even, I hate to say it, throw the ball around a little more, because I say it every year but it never happens. But, you know, getting the ball into the playmakers that we have. You know, more speed-oriented than necessarily pounding the ball.”
The Cardinals opens their season at home against Mancelona on Aug. 26 and close out non-league action with Frankfort on Sept. 23.
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