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Setting the foundation for a winning tradition

GWINN – Staying healthy is important for most high school football teams.

For Gwinn High School, it’s crucial this season.

“I’m very optimistic, but we don’t have too many (players),” second-year Modeltowners head coach Dion Brown said in discussing his team’s 2015 prospects.

“Avoiding injuries is important.

“We have 18 or 19 kids now and it’s all a matter of staying healthy.”

Gwinn went 1-8 overall last season and 0-6 in the Mid-Peninsula Conference. Brown is looking for more.

“Our goal is to finish with a winning season. Gwinn hasn’t had one for 15 years,” he said. “We have the talent. We just need everyone to stay eligible to play.”

Brown said his team had “great” offseason workouts.

“The kids paid attention and I could see a better maturity level,” he said.

“They know the defensive part of our system, but we changed the offense a little.

“So far, so good.”

Offensively, Brown said Gwinn will use a flex attack, with some power, some spread formations and more option plays than before.

“We have so many great athletes, we want to get them into space on the field (and) take advantage of our speed,” he said.

Kevin Roberts, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior, will be at quarterback.

“He knows the offense, works extremely hard and has a very good arm,” the GHS coach said.

Senior wing back Devin Dachs (5-6, 180) will head the backfield.

An M-PC First Team pick last season, he ran for 730 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and scored 54 points with the help of seven touchdowns.

“I told him if he continues to work hard, he could be one of the best in the U.P.,” Brown said. “He’s fast, shifty and has some power.”

Junior Chris Bosworth (5-11, 175) will also be at wing back.

“Pound for pound, he’s the best player on our team,” the coach said. “He’s a gifted athlete.”

At fullback, junior Hunter Bachman (5-11, 180) will play after being sidelined last season with a shoulder injury.

“We’re extremely happy to have him,” Brown said.

Juniors Jalen Skinner (6-1, 170) and DJ Poland (6-4, 185) are penciled in at wide receiver-flanker for the Modeltowners.

“Skinner is an explosive athlete, while Poland has good size and loves to block,” the GHS coach said.

Up front, the Modeltowners will sport sophomore Daniel Johnson (5-11, 200) at center; junior Carter Ghiringhelli (5-9, 200) at right guard and senior Nathan Hill (5-9, 225) at left guard; with freshman Logan Kruhlik (6-0, 200) at right tackle and junior Ryan Johnson (6-1, 250) at left tackle.

“We have some great size there, but the kids will have to learn to stay low off the ball,” Brown said.

Defensively, the Modeltowners will feature a 5-2 or a 5-3 alignment.

“We’re faster and more athletic on defense than last year,” Brown noted.

“But the defensive line will have to stay home and the linebackers will have to flock to the ball.”

At nose tackle will be senior Jacob Potvin (5-8, 140); at the tackles, junior Austyn Hollingshed (6-2, 250) and Ryan Johnson; and at end Daniel Johnson and senior Trevor Kirkpatrick-Bray (6-3, 245).

“Trevor and Ryan started last year,” Brown noted.

“It’s a big line, but not too athletic. They’ll have to stay in the gaps.”

Ghiringhelli and Bachman will be at linebacker, while Skinner and Bosworth are set to play at cornerback.

They’ll be joined by Dachs at safety.

“All are tremendous athletes who will be aggressive to the ball,” the coach said.

Hollingshed is penciled in as the team’s kicker and Bachman the punter.

Brown said the M-PC is “always competitive.”

“Ishpeming will be there, Westwood will be stronger, Negaunee is always there and Iron Mountain is good,” he said.

The Modeltowners will open the season by hosting Gladstone at 7 p.m. Friday in a nonconference contest.

“The first game, there will always be some surprises,” Brown said.

“We’ll have to just play our game and handle what we can control.”

Assisting Brown are Jim Morris and Ben Olsen.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.