CARSON CITY — The Carson City-Crystal football team has had just one winning record in the past 10 years. That was a 5-4 mark in 2004. Their last postseason appearance was in 1999.
Eagles’ second year coach Jason Gray expects to change all that this season. In his first year, Gray’s Eagles improved from 1-8 in 2009 to 3-6 last year.
This year, Gray has set to goal of winning the Central Michigan Athletic Conference (final year in league before a move to the Mid-State Activities Conference) and qualifying for the postseason, goals that would guarantee a winning record.
“We expect to compete with all our opponents. We have taken the step forward from just hoping to compete to where we expect to compete,” Gray said. “Our goal is to make the playoffs and win the CMAC.”
Gray believes hard work is about to pay off for his team.
“With the hard work we have put in and the great job our coaches have done with teaching the kids, we feel it is within our reach to be CMAC champs,” he said. “The CMAC is a great conference with great players and coaches. It will be a challenge to win the league, but we are excited for that challenge.”
Prior to taking the Eagles coaching job Gray spent nine years with the Owosso Trojans. With him came three keys to success.
A solid strength training and conditioning program, recruitment and retention and running schemes that adapt to personnel are those keys.
“We have four kids out for our varsity team that never played football before,” Gray said. “That proves we are running a program that kids want to be a part of.”
Gray also brings confidence and a winning mentality to the Eagles.
“I will never say we will lose X amount of games. I have to carry the confidence that we want our players to have,” he said. “I understand the strength of our conference, but if I feel we will lose a specific game than I wouldn’t be able to expect our kids to feel any other way.”
The Eagles will be tested right away with a road game Friday against Pewamo-Westphalia. Pewamo went 7-3 in 2010 and second in the CMAC.