Chippewas not dwelling on loss

Manistee quarterback Tyler Kempf (7) throws a pass behind lineman Cameron Blevins during Thursday’s loss to Ludington. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Just minutes after a season-opening loss to Ludington on Thursday, Manistee senior Seth Pefley started looking forward.

“This is behind us,” he said. “Mount Morris tomorrow. That’s all we’re thinking about.”

Apparently the Chippewas are living up to those words and not dwelling on the loss.

“Friday morning at 9:30 every kid was here for practice,” said first-year Manistee coach Tod Miller. “I thought that was pretty telling of the story.”

Thursday’s 38-0 loss to archrival Ludington was not the way the Chippewas (0-1) hoped to start the season. It was their most lopsided defeat since a 53-7 loss at Menominee in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs as the Maroons marched to a second straight Division 5 state title, and largest margin of defeat in the regular season since a 65-13 loss against Muskegon Orchard View in 2003.

“Right now I need our leaders to step forward, I need our leaders to take the bull by the horns and I need them to take charge of the team and lead by example,” Miller said. “Life is not easy. You’re going to get hit in the face and it’s how you respond to getting hit in the face. We were hit in the face last Thursday, so what are we going to do?”

That means focusing on Mount Morris (0-1), which the Chippewas will play on Saturday afternoon at Alma College as part of a JV/varsity doubleheader beginning at noon.

“That’s pretty much everyone’s mindset,” said senior Logan Bond. “I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Ludington since (Thursday).”

But, the loss did leave the Chippewas with plenty to shore up on both sides of the ball as they continue to work with new offensive and defensive schemes. Limiting big plays would be near the top of the list as the Orioles scored touchdowns on drives of four, two, two, three and three plays.

“It will come with playing with more speed,” Pefley said Tuesday.

Speed was an issue Miller pointed out immediately after the game, and following Tuesday’s practice as well.

“One of the things we have to instill in this team is we have to come out motivated, we have to come out fast and we have to come out at a different speed and tempo than we did before,” he said. “What we’re trying to instill in them is to come out and go right after them.”

Manistee, which has moved from the Wing T to the spread, also has to improve offensively after being held to less than 100 yards against the Orioles.

“As far as our offense, hopefully we put in some things that really helps us,” Miller said. “We know we’ve got to take our shots downfield so people can’t crowd in on us. That’s what we’ve been working on this week … trying to be able to attack the flank better, getting better up front, being able to get off the football, being able to block at the point of attack, being able to move the opponent. Those are all the common themes for the week.”

Miller was pleased with the effort and execution in Monday’s practice, but not as happy Tuesday.

“(Monday) we had a great day of practice, very physical, very fast,” Miller said Tuesday. “Today we were a little sluggish I think because of the first day of school. I hope that’s not a trend.”

Opening the season on a Thursday and not playing again until Saturday does give the Chippewas an extended week of practice.

“We’ve been able to work more on an offensive day, defensive day,” Miller said. “We’re going to have two days of offense, two days of defense. We have more time to prepare.

“The extra days have been good as far as coaching and being able to make some adjustments and things like that. (But) it’s out of whack playing Thursday, playing Saturday. I want to get to Friday nights. I want to get in a routine, get in a schedule. Right now it just seems like everything is different every week. It’s hard to get in the flow of things.”

 

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