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Edwardsburg football begins quest towards a return to state finals

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. - The high school football season is now upon the state of Michigan.

Teams across the mitten state began their football practices this week, including the Edwardsburg Eddies coming off a historic season.

The fans at Edwardsburg had plenty to cheer about in the stands last year as the Eddies turned in a one-loss regular season and a took a trip to the state finals where they ultimately fell to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

“The kids were obviously disappointed in the loss,” head coach Kevin Bartz remembered. “The kids I had returning though were ready to go. We met that next Monday and talked about our goals for the following year.”

Now they return for the 2018 season with the start of fall practices – and their goals haven’t changed.

Bartz welcomes back a good portion of the squad that earned the school’s first state championship appearance, and his staff wasted no time in diagnosing what could be the strengths of the 2018 version.

“I feel like we’ve got better team speed this year. Defensively, we’re going to be able to fly to the ball better than last year. Our biggest spot of concern will be the offensive line. We got a lot to replace up there. But we’ve got athletic kids.”

Bartz mentioned that beyond the athleticism, this year’s team is full of smart players who can take their experience from last year’s deep run and translate it to the coming slate.

“We look like we’ve got lots of talent and we’ve got kids who can play multiple positions. We can have 11 good players out on the field and several behind them as well.”

Just nine months removed from the title game heartbreak, the Eddies know just what they want and how to get it.

“This is what we waited for since Thanksgiving," said Bartz. "We did all the conditioning all summer and we were together lifting weights. They kind of see what the pinnacle is and see where you want to get to and the work it takes to get there. They know it’s not automatic and it’s a process to get there and they’re willing to put forth the time and effort to do it.”

The Eddies will put on the pads for the first time on Wednesday, taking another step in the short window before their season-opener against Allegan on August 23.

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