ISHPEMING – “Nothing beats the smell of the grass in the morning, the beginning of football season.”
Ishpeming Head Coach, Jeff Olson, could not have said it any better. Last season the Hematites finished three and six, missing the playoffs for the second straight year. But a new season, means new opportunities. Ishpeming has been hit with the injury bug the past two years – so their number one focus heading into the 2018 season, is a pretty obvious one.
“Stay injury free, but then we want to get better everyday,” said Jeff Olson. “You don’t want to change anything, you don’t want to panic. If we can do that, if we can just follow the blueprint, and right now we are doing that, we’ll be fine.”
The Hematites were kept busy this off–season. From getting reps in the gym to volunteering in the community – the summer was a success.
“Our off season went great. We have great kids, not only great football players but great kids, and that’s a recipe for success.”
“Off season was a grind for sure,” said Senior, Matthew Tarwick. “We all worked really hard and we’re all ready to go.”
“Everyone’s working getting stronger, faster,” said Hunter Smith. “That’s going to be our edge this year.”
With the new season, comes some new changes. The Mid–Peninsula Conference, no longer exists. The Mid–Pen and West Pac joined forces, so the Hematites are now a member of the “West–Pac–Small” conference.
“The Mid-Pen, it was a proud conference for so many years, but it was tough getting games,” said Olson. “By combining with the West-Pac it’s a great thing for U.P. football, now everyone has nine games. It’s something new, and I really believe it’s going to be good for U.P. football.”
The Hematites open up the 2018 on the road at Manistique on August 24th.