CARSON CITY — Jason Gray is entering his third season as head coach of the Carson City-Crystal football program. He continues to develop and promote success both on and off the football field.
The Eagles went 1-8 a year ago, its final season in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference (CMAC), but had a level of success not defined by their record.
“No doubt the win-loss record is ultimately how a season is measured and we will never accept defeat,” Gray said. “But we also worked hard to teach our players how to define goals and measure the process to get those goals.
“We want to win every single game on the scoreboard, but our kids are also going to understand that success in life is measured by the process you take and how hard you work to be successful,” he added.
CC-C recorded the third highest point total in school history last year and battled some top teams closely. Those facts are something the team has turned into positives during the summer workout schedule.
“This off-season has been the best in terms of production since I came to CC-C. Not only have we had great participation in terms of number of kids coming to workouts, but the quality of our work has been exceptional,” Gray said. “We have always had great participation since I came to CC-C. But, this off-season has had a different feel to it. The kids just have that look that they are ready to take that next step forward and their work ethic has resembled that as well.”
In addition to strength conditioning where the focus is on acceleration and deceleration the Eagles participated at passing camps from Michigan State University to Greenville.
“Competing against teams like Williamston and Greenville certainly prepares us for the best teams on our schedule,” Gray said.
With the start of the new season on Aug. 24 the Eagles will be competing in the Mid-State Activities Conference (MSAC).
“We are excited about participating in the MSAC this fall. It is a great conference with great coaches and communities and we are looking forward to the challenge that this conference will present us,” Gray said. “Our players have understood and respect the fact that we have to work extremely hard in order to be one of the better teams in this conference.”
The Eagles will be facing eight new opponents this season. The lone holdover is now a non conference game in week nine against Potterville. Gray said it will present certain challenges in facing so many new teams, but the challenge is the same for the opponent facing them.
As opposed to the CMAC, the Eagles will actually play non conference games. The CMAC was a 10 team league, which meant nine conference games.
“Non-conference games are great in helping to establish rivalries between different opponents and to allow a team to tailor their schedule based on what their needs are for a specific season, more specifically prepare for the playoffs,” Gray said.
A new, rather old, rivalry will be in conference and against the Vestaburg Wolverines. The two teams played each other 25 straight seasons through the 1980s.
“Vestaburg has some great coaches and players and we respect the challenge that it is going to be for us,” Gray said. “But I think it is going to be a lot of fun as well for both communities because of the proximity of our districts.”
The Eagles schedule includes opening the season with two road trips to Saginaw and Traverse City. The Eagles will spend the night prior to the game in Traverse City, which will be a nice opportunity for the team.
Their season begins on Aug. 24 at Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Gray has been ready for the season for some time.
“I have been looking forward to this season since October 22. The moment one season ends I get excited about the next season,” he said. “The kids have added to that excitement because I have seen the work they have put in to become better and I look forward to seeing them showcase that this fall.”
2012 Football Schedule
8/24 at Michigan Lutheran Seminary
8/30 at Traverse City Christian
9/7 vs. BR Crossroads Academy
9/14 vs. Vestaburg
9/21 at Coleman
9/28 vs. Montabella (HC)
10/5 vs. Mount PleasantSacred Heart
10/12 at Ashley
10/19 vs. Potterville
NOTE: All games are scheduled for 7 p.m.