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High school football underway as regular season nears

Across the state, it was the first day of practice for high school football teams.
Ishpeming football practices for first time in 2021.
Ishpeming football practices for first time in 2021.(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Monday marked the first day in which high school football teams took the field to begin their 2021 seasons. After an extraordinary season for most in 2020, the feeling of getting back on the field was mutually felt by all teams back in action.

Ishpeming didn’t have a varsity team last year after having just one senior on the team. But this year, they were roaring and ready to go as they try to make another deep postseason run, after its state quarterfinal push in 2019. Aside from a couple of players sitting out with unfinished physicals that are required to compete, it was all things go in Ishpeming.

The Hematites have a new man in charge, as class of 2012 alum Cody Kugler was named the new head coach in the offseason. Having played there, he’s leaning on his knowledge of the program to approach how his team will look this season.

“I know a majority of Ishpeming football and that’s what it’s gonna be. Ground and pound, technique, out-working them and just kind of playing that traditional football that’s always been there,” Kugler said of the identity his team will take on.

The Hematites will open their season at home on August 27th against Manistique

Ishpeming wasn’t the only local school back on the gridiron today, though. The Gladstone Braves were in action as they aim for another postseason appearance.

The Braves beat Negaunee and Sault Ste. Marie to open the abbreviated 2020 season before dropping their final three games, including nail biters against Kingsford and Escanaba. Gladstone then lost their playoff opener to Negaunee 28-14.

But the Braves are looking for bigger things this year, as they’re led by quarterback Cam Kelly, wideout John Hansen and all-U.P. linebacker Hunter Potier.

“We have one of the toughest schedules in the state. Our conference schedule is crazy tough. A lot of good teams in our conference. And our out of conference schedule is tough too,” Gladstone head coach Jeff Hansen said of his team’s rigid slate. “We’ve got class A schools that we play for out of conference opponents which is very good because it gives us opportunities to collect playoff points with quality with wins and competitive games, so I think we got a really good, tough schedule.”

The Braves will open their season August 27th when they travel to calumet.

Stick with the TV6 Sports Team as they’ll be bringing more high school football coverage as they get set to begin the Friday Night Fever!

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