SPRING LAKE, Mich. — It's supposed to be game week for every high school football program in the state of Michigan.
In fact, like many others, Spring Lake's football team was set to kick the season off on Thursday night, but that won't be happening.
The Lakers were scheduled to take on Orchard View in week one but just weeks ago, the Cardinals were forced to cancel its varsity season due to low numbers of players.
"It was tough," admitted head coach, Dan Start, "it was one of those things that is out of our control and the rest, the heck with it."
Senior quarterback Jackson Core says last season certainly prepared them for this week one adversity.
"It's definitely weird but we dealt with weirder things last year so we're accustomed to it now," Core added, "it just gives us an extra week to get ready for week two."
The Lakers will have Zeeland East at home in week two to kick off the season.
"Zeeland East will be a big game for us," Start told FOX 17, "they're a tough program and have been for a decade, we're seeing it as an opportunity to show ourselves to the area."
After returning 16 starters from a season ago, the chemistry and confidence are high this fall.
"It's nice to have all your guys," said senior runningback and linebacker, Christian Folkert, "we've been playing with them for a while so we have that team chemistry. It's nice to have that knowing you can trust your guys and the people around you."
Core will make the jump from being a defensive starter to quarterback in 2021 but he's confident because of the players around him.
"I'm comfortable being out there with people that were out there last year, they know what we're doing. We don't have to spend time doing things that you would have to with a newer team, everyone knows where to go, it makes things a lot faster."
In the OK Blue, nothing is a given this fall, the Lakers understand it will be tough from top to bottom.
"I think it's one of the deepest conferences probably in the area," Core added, "there's no down teams, anyone can really beat anyone every week."
On paper, Coach Start has extreme confidence but he's preaching to his team that they need to continue to improve, especially over the next seven days.
"The message has been that we have a big senior class so we have the potential but potential doesn't win you anything," Folkert said, "you have to keep grinding, you can't settle for potential, we have to keep pushing so that we can reach that."
With that experience on their side, the Lakers are hopeful the team can put it all together in 2021 and do something special.
"I think the goal is being competitive every week," said Start, "if we come out and we're competitive and play to the best of our ability and someone beats us, hats off to them, we just can't beat ourselves."
The team says they'll find a game to watch together on Thursday night here in West Michigan as their week two opponent, Zeeland East plays on the east side of the state.