NORTH BRANCH – The North Branch football program finds itself in good shape as it wraps up its 3-day football camp that includes all players about to enter grades 8-12.
With 19 players graduated off last year’s squad, coach Pat Forster finds himself in an enviable position with 26 or 27 juniors that will bring three years of varsity experience with them.
“For the younger kids, it’s setting the base of fundamentals and getting them moving in the right direction,” Forster said. “For the varsity, it gives us an opportunity to begin to reintroduce our offensive and defensive systems. Since we have so many back from last season we were able to just jump right in where we left off and start emphasizing the changes we need to make to fill in the empty positions and just keep going where we left off with the others who know what they have to do.”
Forster added that at this point of the summer he is beyond excited about the upcoming season.
“We are light years ahead of where we have been in other years,” Forster explained. “We have the highest expectations in 14 years since I’ve been at North Branch and in the nine years I’ve been involved with the football program.”
The season won’t be without its challenges, with several key roles to replace.
“We have the key roles to replace in Doug Stikeleather, Jacob Pasek, Jacob Young, etc., but our emphasis is now Remus Chippewa Hills for week one, then it will be Frankenmuth and then the next opponent after that. One game at a time, one week at a time.”
“It’s a different element when you bring this many kids back,” Forster added. “They know when they do wrong and they know how to fix those things a lot faster and our explanations don’t take near as long as when you are bringing together kids that haven’t played for three years on varsity. I have had a lot of juniors that are now going to be seniors that are already stepping up big time.”