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Munising Mustangs football prepares for first season of 8-man football

An unusual season is made even more difficult as styles change
Mustangs players warm up before practice.
Mustangs players warm up before practice.(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 4:00 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) -

Even under normal circumstances, this would be an odd year for the Munising Mustangs football program. While practicing under new COVID-19 regulations, they’re also practicing for a different style of play, transitioning from 11-man to 8-man football.

For the Munising seniors who played 11-man football in years past making the switch to 8-man, the biggest difference they’ve noticed, is speed.

“We’re all just getting used to the speed of the game and having a smaller field and obviously less players,” said tailback and outside linebacker Chad Trepczyk.

Even with added speed, and higher scores, senior tight end Ethan Lakosky says, the fundamentals of football remain the same.

“You got to know what to do. it’s just fundamentals and that’s 11-man and 8-man, you got to know what you’re doing,” said Lakosky.

As fundamentals are being put in place, the Mustangs focus is aimed the exactly where it always has been.

“We’ve been watching a lot of film and it’s exciting to see the high scores and get ready for that, and as much as we want to score points, we want to win,” said Lakosky.

But head coach Matt Mattson knows, coming in and finding success against teams that have been playing 8-man for years will be difficult.

“That’s going to be a challenge for us, we’re a little bit behind in 8 ball, especially without a scrimmage,” said Mattson. “We have a game a week away, so we have a lot of things to get ready for.”

Even for an 8-man team, this Mustangs squad is small, with just 15 players, a third of which are sophomores. Mattson is confident in those younger players though and believes this experience now will pay off big.

“I think by the time that they are seniors they will be very good, as long as they stick together and work hard,” said Mattson.

As far as the current seniors, they’re glad to just have a season at all.

“There was a lot of uncertainty there, but we were prepared,” said Lakosky. “We were staying in the weight room, we were staying at it, and we’re all really excited to get after it.”

The Mustangs begins their season Friday, September 18, on the road against Rudyard.

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