MANISTIQUE - The Manistique Emeralds turned a rocky start into a successful season in 2012, and they look to continue building on that success this year.
The Emeralds finished the regular season at 6-3, leading the stacked Mid-Peninsula Conference in both passing yards (Tyler Kangas, 1,060) and rushing yards (Kenner Broullire, 1,247).
The receiving corps also had three players in the conference's top 10 in Zach Lindemuth, Max Nelson, and Zach Lambert. Together, the trio combined for a season total of 972 yards, and both Broullire and Nelson were All-Upper Peninsula selections.
The 2013 Manistique Emeralds include, front row, from left, Tyler Kangas, Tony Floyd, Travis Bolm, Austin Miller and Cole Potvin. Middle row, Zach Schunner, Chris Shiner, Nick Knudson, Logan Hayward, Tyler Baker, Clarence Brock and Cameron Page. Top row, assistant coach Ed Marietti, Landen Burton, Perry Tatrow, Alec Bloom, Jake Zellar, Coby Ryan, Mike Brock, Kaden Pelletier, head coach Todd Kangas and assistant coach Tom Tereshinski. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Keith Shelton)
The only player from that group returning to the roster this season is Kangas. However, Emeralds coach Todd Kangas said there are plenty of other pieces that can shape them into a contender.
"We have a lot of returning lettermen, so that makes it kind of easy to pick up some things and incorporate a few new concepts," he said. "The kids have been working hard and things have been going pretty good so far."
Some of the players on last year's roster include Logan Hayward, Kaden Pelletier, Colby Ryan, Chris Shiner, Austin Miller, Clarence Brock, Jake Zeller, Tyler Baker, Cameron Page, Nick Knudson and Perry Therow.
Big Bay de Noc co-op Cole Potvin also returns to the Emeralds after suffering an ankle injury that kept him off of the field for much of last season.
"I think he's going to be a key asset for us at wide receiver and defensive back," Kangas said. "He's very athletic, and he's got good speed and good hands."
Tony Floyd was also on last year's roster. He'll take over the work load at tailback for the departed Broullire.
"Tony might not have the size or speed that Kenner had," Kangas said, "but he's much more elusive of a runner than Kenner was.
"That's something we're looking forward to, and interested to see how it goes this year. He's a little more of a step-back runner.
"I don't think there's going to be a major drop-off," Kangas added. "I think he's ready to go, and he's going to have a great year for us."
Kangas added the Emeralds plan to try a few small things out this season, but there really won't be any significant changes to the landscape of their team.
"We will continue to emphasize being balanced with the run and pass," he said. "We had a good and effective passing attack last year, and we want to continue with that this year.
"It helps us open up the run game."
Although they lost the three receivers that helped build that passing attack last year, Kangas said the team has some key personnel that should be able to catch the ball.
"Ryan and Floyd will help us produce, and we think we're pretty solid at the quarterback spot, so we should be able to throw the ball a little bit," the coach said.
He added the Emeralds will need that production, because they will face formidable competition each time they take the field in the M-PC.
"Ishpeming and Negaunee are going to be solid," Kangas said. "There's not going to be a bad team.
"Gwinn and Norway are going to be better than they were last year. There's no weak team in there, and you've got to prepare each and every week."
The Emeralds will kick off the season on the road against Negaunee at 7 p.m. Friday, then host Ishpeming in week two.
"It's a tough start for us, but we'll be ready to go," he said.