GLADWIN – The Gladwin football program enters its second year under Marc Jarstfer with a lot of optimism. After going 1-8 last season participation was high for the offseason-conditioning program prior to the COVID shutdown and rebounded nicely when teams were able to begin again. Practice began officially on Monday and Jarstfer was relatively happy with how things went. The prohibition on camps and seven-on-sevens has everybody a little rusty. “We have a lot of young guys on the team this year, but luckily it’s the second year for everybody under the same system so they are familiar with it.”
To an outside observer the Flying G’s look like they have some decent size this year. Jarstfer mentioned that they expect the offensive and defensive lines to be one of their strengths. “There are some pretty good skilled, smart kids on both of those fronts,” said Jarstfer. He expects to have better depth on the lines this year also. Multiple guys will be fighting for playing time with several making their presence felt through hard word. Big things are expected from senior Ethan Shea a returning starter who has been working hard heading into the season. Four or five other guys have also been working hard during the offseason and will be in the mix for playing time including Andrew Gary and Hunter Huguelet. The competition within this position group is bound to make the team better.
This years captains will be decided based on participation in voluntary workouts, performance in school (GPA) and attitude. The coaching staff is lucky to have several worthy candidates that will be whittled down to four by the time the season starts. Jarstfer feels fortunate to have multiple options, buts expects others to emerge as leaders even without the captains’ tag.
The G’s return 10 players from last years squad including several starters and multiple players who saw significant playing time. Graduation did leave several big holes in the lineup. Dillon Kroening was a vocal leader and two year starter at quarterback. Nick Robinette, James Bailey, Mitchell Duke, Cole Thurlow and Erik Seebeck will all be missed.
Randy Pyrzweski and Noah Miller, both hard-nosed players according to Jarstfer, will see plenty of playing time. Nick Wheeler and Aaron Kozlow will be battling it out to replace Kroening at quarterback. Wheeler was the quarterback on the junior varsity team that was 9-0 last year. Kozlow is a transfer from Skeels. Logan Kokotovich and Kaden McDonald were brought up to the varsity team last year as freshman and will again have big roles. Kokotovich is a developing leader especially on the defensive side of the ball. Sophomores Earl Esiline and Lincoln McKinnon should also get significant playing time.
In addition to Jarstfer who is also the offensive coordinator, this years coaching staff will include; Defensive coordinator Kody Emeott, Jeff Goodwin varsity assistant primarily working with receivers and defensive backs, Eric Morgan special teams coordinator along with defensive line and running backs, Jeremiah McDonald varsity assistant, Shawn McDonald receivers and defensive backs, and Mike Bailey varsity assistant.
The Flying G’s open their season at Remus Chippewa Hills on August 27. The Warriors were 4-5 last season and finished fifth in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division with a 4-3 record.