STANTON — Central Montcalm’s football team came close to making a playoff run.
But the record was 4-5, which fell two games short of automatic qualification.
Still, coach Marty James was pleased with the way the season went, he said.
“I was pleased, not just because we improved in the win-loss category, but the kids exceeded our expectations,” James said. “They were a fun group to coach, tried hard for the most part, coachable. It was a fun year to coach.”
James said there were so many games where they could have turned a loss into a win.
“I think four of those five losses were to playoff teams,” he said. “The other loss, the quarterback went down in the third quarter and we had to go into emergency mode and we didn’t have a backup quarterback. But it’s tough when those kind of things happen and you don’t prepare for them. So I don’t think it was any one thing. We had a young football team. We got better as the season went along.”
If anything, it was untimely errors that cost the Green Hornets this season, according to James.
“If I could put my finger on one thing we made too many mental mistakes at the wrong times,” he said. “We’d have a drive going and we’d jump offside or have an illegal formation. When you face good teams week in and week out you’re not going to be successful.”
Central was led by quarterback Keagan James, who thew for 704 yards and ran for another 1,147. They also got a big contribution from Trenton Braman, who had 704 yards on the ground.
One player that flew under the radar, but made a big impact on the season was a senior, James noted.
“One kid that stands out was Doug Litwiller,” he said. “Doug was a kid that basically played for us for the first time as a junior. He didn’t play very much last year. He was new to our program and new to our school. He made up his mind that he was going to work hard in the offseason and he started both ways for us on the offensive and defensive line. You’re glad he could have success because he worked hard. We had a potent rushing attack and he helped on the offensive line.”
James said next season won’t be much different than 2013, except the Hornets will be in a newly-configured Central State Activities Association with two divisions.
“We’re going to be in the upper division which will be the bigger schools. We’re going to be the smallest school in the bigger division,” he said. “So we’re going to be in a fight. We’re still going to play Lakeview and they will be tough. We’re going to play Morley Stanwood and they are tough. The other day we picked up Clio in week two and they play in a tough conference. So we’re not going to be able to use the excuse we’re young. We’re going to have to make up the difference in the offseason. They’re going to have to buy into the program. We’ve had a lot of success in my tenure to buy into the offseason program and I expect that to continue.”