ISHPEMING — There’s a new sheriff in town at Ishpeming High School as Anthony Katona is going into his first year as the head coach of the Hematites. He had spent the past two years under Jeff Olson, learning a lot from the Hall of Famer.
“He’s had great success not only on the football field, but on basketball. I definitely learned a lot on how to motivate the players, how to push them in practice and get them well prepared for the next opponent,” Katona said.
Some big shoes will also be filled by the players as they will look to replace a very successful senior class from last year.
“A lot of teamwork. They were all just sharing the ball. None of them were selfish. They were all just nice and kind to each other. We all just played together. It was all nice and smooth, I feel,” said forward Evan Gravedoni.
“Just the hard work they showed. I learned it a lot in football, and that kind of carries off into everything else. Lifting, basketball, football, everything,” guard Mitchell Uhl said.
Last season, the Hematites made it all the way to the district finals where they were upset by Westwood. The team says if the playoffs showed us anything, it’s that any team can win on any given night.
“Everybody’s tough. I know Norway is tough. Negaunee is always tough. Westwood is always there. They never go away. All those guys are tough, but I think we’ll be prepared,” said Uhl.
“All the teams are going to be tough. Negaunee especially this year. A lot of teams are going to be tough. I feel like there is going to be a battle against every, single team we play this year,” Gravedoni said.
“We’ve got some height this year. But with that, we’re a little less experienced than we were last year. I think it’s going to help us down the road, as we learn and get some games under our feet and it’s going to be to our advantage,” said Katona.
The Hematites open the season at home this Tuesday against Gladstone.