BRIAN FOGG: Resurgent football teams provided for memorable 2015 fall season

I started at the News Advocate in August, so my year in review is more like a fall season in review, but what was memorable for me was seeing the evolution of two football programs at schools that haven’t traditionally been winning programs.

Both Manistee and Onekama may have turned a corner going into the future.

Manistee, who in the past 14 years had only made the playoffs three times, went 7-3 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

They lost to Reed City in the first round of the playoffs, but even getting to that point is a positive sign for a program that has had 10 zero or one win seasons in their history.

The most memorable game that they played this season that I saw was the Cadillac game, and although they lost 35-28 in the cold weather, they played better than I had seen them play in most of their victories throughout the season.

The game held a natural ebb and flow that you expect from the higher quality football programs with the constant lead changes.

During Tod Miller’s three seasons the program has continually improved they have instituted a winning attitude for the Chippewas looking forward.

Onekama, who missed the playoffs for six consecutive years before 2014 now have back-to-back play appearances, went 9-2 and won a conference title to go along with a playoff victory.

The most memorable part of their season was the 27-0 demolition of a pretty good Central Lake team in the first round of the playoffs.

It was old-school, smash-mouth football. No thrills about it, but it was impressive.

What was most memorable about the game was what it meant to the kids on that team who only a few years earlier were the bottom-feeders of their conference. Many of the players on that team were sophomores on varsity who were losing games by 40-plus points.

If that doesn’t show quantifiable progress, I don’t know what does.

Onekama would eventually lose to Frankfort, whom they had defeated earlier in the season, in the next game. It’s also a shame that they weren’t able to go one game further in the playoffs just so they could get a shot at eventual state-champ Muskegon Catholic Central.

They have had a strong Pop Warner program over the past couple of years and it will be interesting seeing if they can maintain this momentum going into the new conference.

The two programs are going in the right direction and who knows what the future holds, but from the surface it looks like the Manistee County could be developing two top football programs.

Having two programs on the upswing made my first season in Manistee more enjoyable, and for me was the most memorable part of my short 2015 campaign.

 

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Posted by Brian Fogg

Brian is the sports writer for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3110 or bfogg@pioneergroup.com.

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