MARINE CITY – Although the setting was idyllic, the elements didn’t want to cooperate.
But the Marine City football team didn’t mind.
“It poured a little bit,” said quarterback Jeffery Heaslip. “But it didn’t really bother us. It’s Mariner weather.”
“I don’t really like the rain,” said running back Zach Tetler. “But it cooled me off because I got a little hot there. It helped bring the temperature down.”
Despite the rain, mud and humidity, the Mariners were in good spirits during Monday’s first football practice session of the 2022 season at Marine City High School.
Monday marked the first day practice was allowed for fall sports teams across Michigan.
“We’re excited,” said coach Daryn Letson. “I don’t even know if that’s a word, but it’s the ‘newness’ of the whole thing. Every trainer, every program looks forward to getting started. It is the novelty of a new school year and a new season.”
For the first time in more than nine months, the Mariners were back together on a football field.
“It feels really good (to be back),” Heaslip said. “Especially after a long summer of (weightlifting) and a few camps we’ve had. It’s great to be out here.”
“We worked hard all offseason,” said Tetler. “(Now) we can finally prove and show what we have achieved.”
The training started with tackling sessions. Offensive and defensive groups then split up to practice before the full squad came together again. Marine City’s offense ran non-contact games from the scrum against his defense. Eventually, the Mariners finished with multiple sprints.
“We tried to be pretty simple with some of the things we did today,” Letson said. “Our kids are in pretty good shape for the most part. We don’t do much training in practice. We try to do quick drills to make them playful.”
“It was a really good day,” said Tetler. “The young kids looked like they knew what they were doing. They weren’t lagging behind. So that was really good to see.”
The Mariners have had an outstanding 2021 season. They posted a 13-1 record and finished runners-up in Division 5. But that has little bearing on this year’s team.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Heaslip said. “This is a new season. We’ve finished one training session. We haven’t finished 14 games. So we need to change our mindset. We can’t get stuck in the past. That’s the most important thing we need to focus on.”
“We just stay with ourselves and don’t look too far ahead,” said Tetler. “Our first game is Armada. We are thinking of nothing but Armada at the moment.”
Marine City will host the Tigers to open the season on August 26.
“We look forward to getting the best out of everyone,” Letson said. “I know when I played in the early ’90s we chased. Now I feel like we’re the hunted. As a coach, I enjoy this position and I really think our kids enjoy this position.
“For whatever reason, our children enjoy the work that they have to put in to be in the position that we are in as a program. And we will try to keep it there.”
Contact Brenden Welper at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrendenWelper.
This article originally appeared in the Port Huron Times Herald: Marine City Football poised for “everyone’s best shot.”