ISHPEMING — From the 70s Steelers to the 90s Bulls, when a team dominates for a long stretch of time, it’s something that needs to be recognized. Enter the Ishpeming Hematites, who have made it to the Division 7 state championship for the past three years and are looking to make it four this upcoming season.
But it won’t be easy as the Hematites are dealing with a lot of departures, including former assistant coach Scott Syrjala, who is now the head coach at Westwood, and Ishpeming is replacing all of their starting lineman. Head coach Jeff Olson says the first week is mostly instruction on things like technique before the pads come on for full contact practice.
“We try to throw a lot at them, not only technique but a lot of plays. We try to get those all in and then we’re going to refine them later on. It’s a lot of instruction, a lot of moving quick just to get these guys the basics of what we do so we can expand on it later,” Olson said.
Ishpeming was aiming for their third straight state championship last season but they were taken down by Detroit Loyola. Some of the players spoke about what it would mean to them to get back to Ford Field to bring another state title home.
“It would be awesome. I’d love to have state championship under my belt. It would just be nice to get there and get the bad taste out of my mouth at Ford Field and get one last win at Ford Field,” Senior quarterback Ozzy Corp said.
“It would be huge. Been looking forward to it for a long time. I think everyone wants redemption. It’s the biggest thing so we want to get back there, have a good season and get back there and win one,” said Junior lineman Ashok Ravindran.
“Some of these seniors we’ve had have been on that playoff run for four years now and they’ve seen what it’s like and how the community rallies around that so they feel that this is their year. They want to create their identity. They’re different from all those other teams that we’ve had. They’re doing that. They’re taking a leadership role,” Olson said.
The Hematites open the season at home on the 28th against Iron Mountain.