BELDING — The Belding Redskins and Tri County Vikings are coming off dramatically different seasons in 2013.
The Redskins are coming off a 7-4 season, which included it first playoff appearance since 2007. The Vikings went 1-8, a year ago, following two consecutive winless seasons.
On Thursday, the two teams got together in preparation for the upcoming season with a 7-on-7 passing camp.
This was Tri County’s sixth passing camp this summer.
“We had a great summer. The numbers have been great and the kids are working real hard,” Butler said. “It’s time for change. It’s time for us to start winning and get back on track. The kids have bought into it and have done everything we have asked them to do.”
Butler, in his third season as head coach, was both pleased and disappointed with Thursday’s camp.
“I was a little disappointed. Belding is where we want to be and that’s why I wanted to bring them over here,” he said. “Coach (Joe) Schwander is doing a great job. We talked about mental toughness afterward. We’re good enough, we just have to believe we are good enough. That’s the difference right now. We have to believe we can win.”
It wasn’t all bad according to Butler.
“We did a lot of good things,” he said. “Defensively, we are getting into position. Offensively, we did some good things tempo-wise. We are a team that will feed off of our tempo. We’re going to be OK.”
Tri County hosts the Lakeview Wildcats (7-3 in 2013) to start the season on Aug. 28. The two teams last met in 2007 (a 34-6 win by the Wildcats).
For the Redskins, this was their fourth passing camp.
“It’s been a slow progression, but our guys are picking it up,” Schwander said. “Now, we are limiting what we are doing so the kids can play fast with what their doing. Every day we throw a little more at them and by game one, hopefully it’s all in.”
Schwander, in his third season as Belding coach, saw his team’s win total increase from two to seven last year.
On Thursday, Schwander was specifically looking for energy.
“I think at this time of the year, any coach is looking to see if their kids are flying around the field, energetic and are they playing aggressive,” he said. “This (7-on-7) is kind of its own sport, in a way. A lot of things will happen here that won’t happen in a game. You can’t always evaluate these, but you can look at hustle, are kids playing confident and so on.”
Aaden Quinn was throwing the ball for the Redskins.
“I thought he did a good job,” Schwander said. “He got a lot of reps. Unfortunately, Gunnar (Bach) wasn’t able to go today, but Aaden had a good opportunity today. He throws the ball well.”
The Redskins will compete in another passing camp today at Rockford (with Shelby and Forest Hills Eastern also participating).
Belding opens the season on Aug. 28 at longtime rival Greenville. The Redskins defeated the Yellow Jackets 47-14 a year ago.