MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – In 2023, the Menominee Maroons Football Team enters their second season under the leadership of head coach Chad Brandt, who previously had a long stint as coach for the Stephenson Eagles. With a playoff appearance and a playoff win in year one leading the program, Brandt says he took away plenty from his first season as head coach that he can apply going forward.

“I think just learning the kids better and what to expect. We try to put high expectations on the players and the student athletes here, in the classroom, on the field, and I think we raise the bar even more,” Brandt said. “We try to push them and I guess what I found and carried over is that the more we’ve pushed them in the offseason, they’ve accepted and want more. We haven’t had kids bowing out or saying ‘this ain’t going the right way’. So we’re excited that it seems they buy in and keep pushing and moving forward.”

With three state championships in the past 25 years, the team knows the expectations they have to strive for as members of the Maroon program.

I mean, coming in as a new coach you want to win games, right? So we obviously have his back and we want to win games too,” said Senior Quarterback Trevor Theuerkauf. “We’re not the biggest team in the U.P. but I think we’re fast. That’s for sure. Everyone’s all in, all in on the team.”

“I think the Maroon program speaks for itself, the tradition here runs deep,” Brandt said. “We’re going on Team 130 this year. 1893 football started around here. I’m a lucky person to be part of it, but the people that have played here, cheered here, supported here, t he expectations are high and I think when I put those on the players they feel that as well and like it that way.”

While the team lost some key weapons from 2022, their overall youth last season means a lot of the team will return with more experience in the new year, helping them to hit the ground running in 2023.

“I think I think we’re very fast and very strong, so I think that’s gonna help us a little bit of everything, offense and defense,” said Senior Running Back Landan Bardowski. “Everyone’s locked in and ready to go and I just think it’s going to be a good season.

“We were very young team, so being a young team, I think we had four or five seniors,” Brandt said. “One got hurt early, so we were playing a few. That means last year, we brought back our entire offensive line who were all freshmen and sophomores last year and a junior. We bring back an entire offensive line, we bring back a main running back and bring back our quarterback, that helps. So continuity, getting going, I can see that we’re ahead of where we were last year.”

While the postseason is always the ultimate goal, for the time being, it’s about getting better each and every day.

“We don’t put it on record, we just put it on ‘Are we getting better? Are we practicing? Are we pushing each other?’ You’re getting better, you’re getting worse and I hope that we push each other and let it be team-driven, not coach-driven. If our team is driving each other to get better, the goal of getting better each rep in practice and each week we take the field to get better. That’s pretty much our focus each day.