SAULT STE. MARIE – In the midst of its most successful streak of seasons in program history, the Sault Ste. Marie football team is prepping to join a new conference in 2016.
For the first time since the leaving the Straits Area Conference in 2008, the Blue Devils will have a new league to call home as it joins Marquette, Menominee, Kingsford, Gladstone and Escanaba in the Great Northern U.P. Conference.
Sault Ste. Marie is eyeing its fifth consecutive winning season and fourth playoff berth in five years this fall.
“We have always had themes and ideas of what we were going to do with each set of guys this year and, you know, we’ve got a lot of guys that have never been in a leadership position, we have a lot of guys that have never been starters,” coach Scott Menard said. “We need to find our identity as a team and when we do that I think we’re going to be in good shape."
Despite graduating six linemen, the program looks strong as a whole, with 32 on the varsity roster and 25 on the freshmen team.
"I think we’re coming along pretty nicely, a lot better than a lot of us expected,” senior Ryan Alaspa said. “Losing our top six linemen was quite a big hit for us, but I think we’re going to be able to come together as a team. Mainly, I think our defense is going to have to hold up for us."
Sault Ste. Marie opens its season at Cheboygan on Aug. 26.
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