Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Sports

Practice officially beings for area football teams

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor
The 2022 season couldn’t have gone any better for the Martin football team, as the Clippers claimed the 8-Player Division 1 state championship.
Martin coach Brad Blauvelt and his players began the process of defending that title on Monday, Aug. 7.
That was the opening day of practice for football—and other fall sports—under Michigan High School Athletic Association rules. And the Clippers took the opportunity to head to Baldwin for a couple teams of team building and preparation.
“Today’s practice went very well,” Blauvelt said Monday evening. “We worked hard and established some expectations which is what this first week is really all about.”
The Clippers know defending their title won’t be an easy task, particularly following the graduation of key players such as quarterback/linebacker JR Hildebrand.
But Blauvelt said this year’s team is eager to show what it’s capable of.
“We want to get back to Marquette and this group of seniors is hungry to show what they are capable of,” he said. “Our seniors from last year were tremendous and JR was a generational talent.
“This year’s group have strong ties to those guys, but they are ready to show everyone that they are just as capable of getting back to the championship.”
The Clippers start the season on Friday, Aug. 25, against a Colon team that won a state title in 2019.
Hopkins and Wayland also start on Aug. 25, as the Vikings host the Wildcats.
All other Allegan County teams open the season on Thursday, Aug. 24, highlighted by Plainwell hosting county rival Hamilton.
Allegan hosts Cassopolis; Otsego hosts Coopersville; Saugatuck hosts Buchanan; and Fennville travels to St. Joseph Our Lady of the Lake.

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