MUNISING - Time will be of the essence on the Munising High School football team this fall.
Not because of the clock on the scoreboard, though the Mustangs must pay attention to that like any other team.
It's the MHS offensive line that needs to provide enough time to give junior quarterback Austin Kelto a chance to find one of a flock of receivers Munising has available this season.
The Munising football team will attempt to reach the playoffs for the second time in three years this fall. Team members are, front row from left, Chris DeCocker, Jared Baij, Alex Hill, Garrett Elore, David Harris, Brent Brock and Henry Cobb. Middle row from left, assistant coach Beau Boden, Tyler Tweedale, Noah Ackerman, Colin Immel, Ryan Wood, Garrett Blank, Austin Kelto, Cody Hayes and head coach Jeff Seaberg. Top row from left, Ian McInnis, Brett Johnson, Jason Lindbeck, Andy Cooper, Ben Stasewich, Chase Nebel, Shaun Brock and assistant coach Matt Mattson. Missing is Alec LeVeque. (Photo courtesy Munising News)
That line is built around sophomore Ian McInnis, a 6-foot-1, 265-pound guard who was named an All-Mid-Eastern Football Conference defensive lineman as a freshman.
"He's our best lineman on both sides of the ball," said head coach Jeff Seaberg, who is entering his ninth season with the Mustangs. "A lot of things this year are going to be geared toward him."
Seaberg has been involved in two of the three playoff appearances in the history of the program, coaching Munising to its first berth in 21 years in 2011 and playing as a member of the 1980 state championship team.
(2-7 overall, 0-5 Mid-Eastern)
Munising 62, Traverse City Christian 0
North Central 36, Munising 12
North Dickinson 48, Munising 6
Newberry 29, Munising 12
Manistique 53, Munising 6
Munising 36, Ontonagon 0
Bark River-Harris 28, Munising 22
Stephenson 49, Munising 6
L'Anse 47, Munising 6
Aug. 30: West Iron County, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6: North Central, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13: at North Dickinson, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: at Newberry, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: at Manistique, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4: at Ontonagon, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11: Bark River-Harris, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: at Stephenson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25: L'Anse, 7 p.m.
The coach hopes to avoid the injury bug that left the Mustangs with just 13 players by the end of last season. This year, he has 22 players, though only six are seniors.
"We have 12 juniors, and that's probably where we get the most skill position players with the most experience," Seaberg said.
Kelto (5-10, 170) also started at QB last season, but missed about half the season with a broken leg. Senior Noah Ackerman (6-0, 140) backs him up.
"Austin throws the ball well and has good wheels," Seaberg said.
His golden arm has a number of options, including junior transfer Andy Cooper (6-3, 175), new-to-the-team senior Jared Baij (6-0, 155) and a quartet of juniors with varsity experience - Garrett Blank (6-0, 185), David Harris (5-11, 155), Alex Hill (6-0, 160) and Colin Immel (5-8, 140).
"We'll spread the field so we can spread the wealth," Seaberg said about this corps, adding that the team has worked on multiple formations, some that may include up to four of these receivers at a time.
An effective rushing attack can open up the passing game, and that's led by senior returning starter Cody Hayes (5-8, 182).
"He's shifty," Seaberg said. "He hits the hole well playing in a one-back set."
Also on the depth chart are Blank and sophomore Brent Block (6-2, 195).
Most likely joining McInnis on the O-line are junior center Tyler Tweedale (5-11, 260), junior tackle Jason Lindbeck (6-7, 240), sophomore tackle Brett Johnson (6-0, 210) and sophomore guard Garrett Elore (5-11, 210).
Top reserves will be senior Shaun Brock (6-0, 230), who earned significant playing time last season, senior Chase Nebel (6-3, 190) and junior Ryan Wood (5-7, 195).
In the Mustangs' base 4-3 defense, McInnis is set to return to the line where he played last year, though the coach said he might move to linebacker depending on how the personnel shakes out.
Also looking at time on the line is Shaun Brock and at end are Johnson, Elore and junior Ben Stasewich (6-6, 230).
Linebackers will be Hayes, Blank and Brent Brock, while in the secondary are Cooper and Harris at safety and Kelto and Immel at cornerback.
Cooper is set to handle punting and kicking duties, while kick returners could be Hill, Blank and Immel.