Belding football coach happy with first season


By Chip Burch • Last Updated 10:01 am on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Belding quarterback Kole Hart takes a snap from his center during a home game against Comstock Park this season. The Redskins finished the season 2-7 overall.

BELDING — The 2012 season was one of transition for Belding’s football team.

The Redskins had a new coach in Joe Schwander, who installed new offensive and defensive systems.

“I thought everything went well overall,” Schwander said. “Getting the schemes in place and getting the programs in place and getting the mindset of what we wanted to stand for, it was how we planned. You don’t want to start 2-7, but we had a couple of games where we went toe-to-toe with teams that had a combined two losses. I thought it was a great year.”

The two wins Belding had were Grand Rapids Creston, which is slated to close before next school year, and Lake Odessa Lakewood, who had only one win all season.

The fact that everything was new to everyone had a lot to do with the record, Schwander said.

“I think in general whenever you do something new you’re going to have more mistakes in games,” he said. “You’re going to have poor execution in doing different things.

“We also had some injuries. We started the year with 34 and the last game we dressed 20. Practicing was tough. Good teams don’t seem to have a bunch of injuries. It’s when you’re down a man or trying to do extra is when injuries crop up.”

In fact, Belding started Brady Badder at quarterback but he was lost for the season with a concussion. Kole Hart came in and took over.

Belding defensive back Garrett Strotheide goes for an interception in the end zone against Comstock Park.

Schwander said he really couldn’t say there was one or two players who came out of nowhere to step up for the team.

“They all kind of came out of nowhere with me,” he said. “Even from last year’s team I don’t think a lot of guys in the skill positions that didn’t play a major role on the teams. Neil McCully and Brendan Zuver, very talented. Both our quarterbacks played well. Our offensive line, we had a senior tackle (Michael Steffen) that didn’t play last year due to injury and had a great year. Defensively we’re a work in progress.”

The one year of experience in Schwander’s system will help out next season, but there is still some work to do, he noted.

“Like any school, it just depends on how much work they put in between now and August,” he said. “We have talented kids but all schools have talented kids. You ask the guys this year did they work hard? Yeah, they worked hard but they came up short. So it’s going to be the guys doing a little bit more that will separate them from the rest of the teams. Right now, I think a lot of it is on the kids and the efforts they put in during the offseason.”

Results (2-7, 1-5)

at Greenville    L 43-12
vs. Lakewood    W 63-42
at Coopersville    L 44-12
vs. GR Creston    W 26-6
vs. Comstock Park    L 38-31
at Allendale    L 47-36
vs. Hopkins    L 41-11
vs. Sparta    L 42-41
at Wyoming    L 50-14

Final O-K Blue Standings

Comstock Park*    6-0    11-1
Allendale    5-1    8-2
Coopersville    4-2    4-4
Wyoming    3-3    5-4
Sparta    2-4    2-7
Belding    1-5    2-7
GR Creston    0-6    0-9

* Comstock Park defeated Ogemaw Heights at home on Friday in a Division 4 regional final.

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