MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Menominee Maroons are happy to see 2020 go, but will carry with them valuable lessons into the 2021 season.
“That we can overcome anything,” said Brady Schultz, a senior wide receiver for Menominee. “With Covid, we really just pushed through. Even with the face masks, we were able to get things done. We didn’t get as far as we wanted to last year, but that’s alright.”
“We had a lot of adversity last year in 2020,” said Cooper Conway, a senior tight end and defensive end for Menominee. “We had the masks, we had the short schedules and I think we just fought through it and we’re going to learn how to fight through it. This year, I think the Seniors will have a different kind of battle-tested because of all the elements we had to face last year.”
Menominee head coach Joe Noha returns to the sidelines this season. He stepped away last year to be with his newborn twins.
“I missed it a lot,” said Joe Noha, the head coach for Menominee Football. “I missed the relationships with the guys, the competitive zeal you get on game night and practice. I just miss the whole aura of being out there with them. So, bless my wife, she’s allowing me to do it this year, so I’m very grateful for that. I’m glad I’m back and coaching again.”
The Maroons have been sharpening their skills in training camp and it showed yesterday during a scrimmage with Iron Mountain.
“That went well,” said Noha. “I always tell them, the cream rises to the top. You know, we use that metaphor. It’s funny we expect them to know that. The cream is the good stuff, to the top of that cup of coffee. We saw a lot of cream rise yesterday in the scrimmage. So, we had some kids play really well and we’re really pleased with that. We may not necessarily see that in drill work, inoffensive or defensive timing, but we did in the scrimmage and that’s a good thing.”
Offensively, the Maroons will bring a balanced attack to the field that will give opposing defensive coordinators headaches.
“We can run the ball, we can throw the ball,” said Noha. “We’re a dual-threat on offense. A defensive coordinator it’s like what are you going to stop? So, we’re going to take what we can get.”
“We’re unpredictable,” said Shultz. “We don’t have to stick to ground and pound, we can run it, throw it, have different guys that can throw it, throw different people at it. It’s really good.”
And they have the personnel to always keep you guessing.
“I try to have a 5/20 rule,” said Noha. “I want at least five guys to carry 20% of the load. That way you can’t just key on one guy. Stop Aidan Bellisle, okay then stop Caeden Calcari, Okay, stop Cooper Conway and Brady Schultz. We have other people we can go to in our offensive scheme.
A lot of their athletes putting points on the board will also play on defense as two-way players. Noha says it will be a team effort to slow down opponents.
“We always say do your job around here,” said Noha. “What is your job? Do your job. If everyone does their job. We’ll be good on defense as well. We need to clean up a little tackling, a couple of adjustments with some angles we’re taking, some alignment, but it’s all, we can fix it.”
“I think we’ve figured out where everybody needs to be,” said Cade Lesperance, a senior nose guard and offensive tackle for Menominee. “Everybody has to do their job. We figured out the holes that we have to fill and everything. We’ve lost about three or four seniors last year, and we just got people put back into their spots with everybody ready to go and all amped up.”
The Maroons will open up their season on the road at Kewaunee, Wisconsin next Friday.
“I think we’re going to make a deep run this year, hopefully,” said Shultz. “Lost of wins, maybe win the Great Northern Conference, you never know.”
“I really don’t get nervous, competition is in my blood, I love it,” said Noha. “We’re willing to adapt on the run and we do that a lot around here and we’re looking forward to getting an opportunity to just play in a normal setting.”