GRAND LEDGE – Josh Martin had a hard time sleeping Sunday night.
The Grand Ledge senior knew his senior football season was hours away from beginning and could hardly wait to officially get it started.
“I didn’t get much sleep, but I was ready this morning,” Martin said following the first of Grand Ledge’s two practices Monday.
Football practices officially began Monday across the state and Martin and the Comets enter this season with plenty of momentum. Grand Ledge is the reigning CAAC Blue champion and went 12-1 while reaching the Division 1 state semifinals last season.
“We have a lot of momentum even though a lot of seniors left us,” said Martin, who is one of 32 players with varsity experience returning for the Comets. “We still have a lot of leadership and a lot of talent. We’ve just got to mold it together and we can do a lot.”
Last fall marked the best season for Grand Ledge since it went 13-1 and won the Division 1 state title in 2000. Comets coach Matt Bird said that success has created an energy in the community and led to more people aiding the program the offseason.
But Bird and Grand Ledge players believe there is still more to accomplish after falling a win short of reaching the state championship game at Ford Field. And that was something that provided a driving force during offseason training.
“The offseason was a grind. We worked hard because we were so close to making it to where we wanted to go,” senior Antonio Rush said. “It was a grind. We sweated it out and we pushed through.
“We all came in with the same mindset that we were going to go out there and do what we needed to do to make it to the next level.”
Bird noticed that drive in his players following the semifinal loss to Romeo and said it is why ownership has been one of the key focuses for his program.
“The younger guys talked a lot about the look on the faces of the seniors once they realized they were done,” Bird said. “It was just that with football and really any high school athletics – when it’s done, it’s done. There’s no ease out of it. All of the sudden on a Friday or Saturday you’re done and on Monday, you’re so used to that creature of habit and what you’ve been doing and now that’s stopped. The look on those seniors’ faces – that’s why they’ve really taken that ownership piece and run with it.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.