MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — Just how far can the Michigan City High School Football team go this season?
Last year’s historic playoff run was memorable as the Wolves posted a school record 9-4 mark en route to claiming its first ever sectional and regional championships before ending with a heartbreaking 21-14 loss at Kokomo for the Class 5A Semistate title.
Sights are set for more as third year coach Phil Mason readies his Wolves to embark on its 2018 journey aiming for a third straight winning season and even deeper postseason run.
The team slogan for this season “Relentless In Our Hunt To Be Champions” exemplifies the turnaround of the Michigan City program that had gone 10 straight years of one and done in the playoffs prior to Mason’s arrival in 2016.
“It’s a process of developing a culture of our kids believing in what we’re doing and becoming a team.” Mason said. “That where the change has come. When the team hasn’t been successful for a long period of time, kids based what they’re doing on individual accolades. We’re teaching them it’s all about our team now.”
But at hand will be replacing key contributors of last year’s prolific offense due to the graduation losses of quarterback Michael McCullough, wide receiver Keyshawn McGill and running back Daelon Wren.
They were the main statistical leaders from an offense that put up nearly 30 points a game, including three 56 point outings. However, Mason doesn’t anticipate missing a beat.
“We did specific things with (McCullough and McGill) because of the style of play that we had with them,” Mason said.
Senior Bryce Hayman replaces McCullough at starting quarterback. Seniors Kameron Muhammad returns to the backfield where he will be joined by senior Detrick Merriweather and sophomore Michael Bradford. The top returning receivers are seniors Zennon Wilhelm and Justin Wozniak.
“We”re going to be explosive on offense there’s no doubt about it,” Mason said “We’ll just adapt our offenses based on their style of play. Everything stays within the system but we have adaptations focusing on what their skill set is and build off of their skill sets.”
Defensively, the Wolves also promises to be force not to be reckoned with.
Purdue University commit Chase Triplett and Wozniak lead a solid defensive front which includes junior Ernest Frierson and senior Royce Robinson.
Junior Nathan Ware and senior Robert Jefferson will handle linebacker duties with junior Marquan Hurt and senior Lyric McFarrin returning experience in the secondary.
“We’re in great shape for the most part,” Mason said following the controlled scrimmage at New Prairie. “We’re healthy and we’re ready to go. It’s just time to get going.”
Michigan City travel to Griffith Friday for its season opener before hosting Homewood-Flossmoor and former coach Craig Buzea in the August 24 home opener.