GRANDVILLE, Mich. — High school football practices start on Monday across the state of Michigan.
Grandville is hoping to build off of a seven win season in the shortened COVID year in 2020 as head coach Eric Stiegel gets ready to enter his eighth season at the helm.
The Bulldogs will look to replace nearly all of their production at the playmaking positions from a season ago, including runningbacks Cam Terry, Marcel Love and Zac VanderWest as well as wide receiver Tommy Gregwer.
"One of the things that I told my coaches is that you never want to just try to say that we're going to replace Cam Terry with one guy, or Marcel Love with one guy, you can't try to find that clone. We really need the offensive line to pick it up, we'll need a little bit more out of our quarterbacks and that's how we generate offense, I think."
And senior quarterback Ian Sanders returns after a productive season in 2020.
Coach Stiegel is hoping for a big jump out of him this fall.
"We know that we have a quarterback in Ian Sanders that has played in big games that knows our offense really well," he added, "I would also add that we have a quarterback that played a lot last year too in Carson Smith, who started a free safety for us who is a really really good football player, too but yes, Sanders is definitely gonna guide us and is a guy we expect really big things from this year. He's also one of the few returning quarterbacks and the OK Red, so we think that that gives us a leg up on some other teams."
The OK Red will be a gauntlet yet again this fall.
The Bulldogs' season was ended in 2020 in a district final loss to Rockford in triple overtime.
"Rockford gets their outstanding quarterback back with a couple of receivers, so we expect them to get like they always are," Stiegel said on what the OK Red could look like, "I think the biggest thing about the OK Red versus most other conferences in the state is the competition from top to bottom, one through eight. There's not going to be a game where you don't have to come in and be prepared you feel like you know we can rest kids.
After everything the players have been through over the past year-plus with COVID-19, Stiegel says his guys are ready to hopefully get a sense of normalcy.
"We obviously had a big mental cloud where our season stopped and started multiple times," he added, "and you really didn't know from one day to the next, would we really be able to go out and practice or when something happened or when we get a contact trace and shutdown. Now, some of that unfortunately still might come back but we will be ready for it. Last year, we weren't able to have things out like our water trees and have water bottles on the sidelines, so yes, we're ready to go tomorrow, we're you know we can't wait to get going.
The Bulldogs will open the season on the road in Illinois against Glen Ellyn Glenbard on August 27th.