Going to football practices around the area this week, the same thought enters my head as I pull into the parking lot.
“You know what? I’m really looking forward to …”
And then I daydream for a few minutes, enjoy the lasting minutes of my cars sweet, sweet air conditioning and then walk out to the field to melt for a few minutes. So, with Thursday being 14 days until opening night, here are 14 futuristic thoughts on the football season.
I’m looking forward to…
-How Port Huron does in the MAC Blue. With the roster having MAC White experience, initially, my thoughts are they’ll be in the title mix. Only time will tell, but this move down to the Blue could reap benefits in their first year.
-How much fun Port Huron Northern’s offense will be to watch. They return quarterback Billy Fealko along with skill players Colby Nabozny, Steve Mason and Travis Hughes to make them among the most explosive offenses in the MAC Gold.
-How junior Chase Churchill does at quarterback for Richmond. He got six starts – all challenging games – to end last season, which is huge for him to potentially play like a veteran from the start of the season.
-The damage Marysville senior Dante Chrcek will do at running back. Last year it was him and Ryan Ellul running like madmen, and while Chrcek will surely have a few other backs complementing him, there’s no doubt the run game will primarily be in his hands – and legs.
-Seeing how Algonac follows up last year’s remarkable season. The Muskrats say goodbye to plenty of last year’s talent, but they have some studs returning in Joe McKee, Brandon Spencer, Luke Stephenson, Brendan Piper, Nick Folkerts and Mike Nykoriak – just to name a handful. They’ll have to be road warriors though, only having three home games on the schedule.
-Marine City’s non-conference games. The Mariners never shy away from competition, and their three non-league games show that as they face Algonac, Detroit Loyola, Madison Heights Madison and Grosse Pointe North. That’s tougher than Michigan’s non-conference schedule (sorry, Wolverine fans. I had to).
-The opening game between Algonac and Marine City. There’s plenty of great matchups, but this will be a great game to see where both teams are at. Throw in both fantastic fan bases, and this game will be an ultimate “Thank God football is back” night.
-St. Clair’s season in general. I know that’s a boring one, but really, this will be an interesting year for the Saints. They return quarterback Collin Agosta, but also lose a lot of experience on the offensive line. They also have a tough non-conference schedule, but with head coach Bill Nesbitt running the show, the Saints could be getting right back into the postseason.
-Who will win the GTC East. Sandusky, Marlette and Brown City all lost a good amount of players that shined last season, so could this be a bounce back year for perennial power Harbor Beach? It’s the boring pick, but it’s the one I’m making right now. (There’s your bulletin board material)
-Seeing Cardinal Mooney in the Catholic League. They’re back in the conference for the first time since 2010, and in their final two years they didn’t win a league game. It’s obviously different times though, so we’ll see how the Cardinals fare.
-Where Deckerville ends their season. I expect – at the very least – a semifinal showing from them as they return nearly every starter from last year’s final four appearance. This will be a fun fall for Eagles fans.
-The Croswell-Lexington Justin Johnston-to-Luke Wilson connection. Johnston returns as one of the best quarterbacks in the area, and Wilson is one of the best targets in the area at tight end. If high school fantasy football was a thing, I would draft both of these players as they’ll be poised for nice seasons.
-How Sandusky replaces all of that talent. Coming off the best season in school history, the Redskins will have to find replacement for the likes of Joe Stone, Chase Tucker, Brandon Potter, Wray Devault, Danny Hale, Trenton Keys, Derrick Scott, Casey Hyatt and oh my goodness the list goes on.
-If we will have an “Algonac 2.0” this season. What I mean by that is which team will come out of nowhere to stun the area. I don’t know if anything will top the shock value of going from a decade without playoffs to a regional title game appearance, but my early candidate would be Marlette.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810) 989-6267 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.