Mishawaka football eager to come home to Steele Stadium
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - With all the work being done to Steele Stadium at Mishawaka High School, there is still plenty of work to be done for the team itself.
First-year head coach Keith Kinder says the Cavemen will certainly play the style they’re known for – a run-first offense and solid, physical defense – but after 12 practices, it’s still not entirely clear what this team will look like under the lights.
“I’m really impressed with our kids. They’re playing hard. Defensively, we’re running to the football and playing with some excitement, which we stressed in the offseason,” Kinder said. “It’s hard to tell if you’re any good playing against yourself every day, and as coaches I think you tend to focus more on the flaws.”
That’s where Friday comes in. Like other teams around Indiana, the Cavemen will have a chance to scrimmage against another team (their matchup is Concord) and compete with someone other than themselves.
But no matter how they fare in that matchup, Kinder and his squad know they’ve taken some definite steps forward.
“We played a lot of young kids last year,” he said, “and the maturity level of kids from their sophomore to junior year is always so vastly different.”
“I feel like we’re kind of taking off from where we were last year,” senior Chris Harness added. “We’re going to be a lot better this year. Everyone’s getting bigger, everyone’s a little older and more experienced so I’m really excited to see what we can do.”
There is still plenty of excitement surrounding the stadium, though.
For the first two weeks of fall practices, the Cavemen have been on the field at John Young Middle School just a few miles away while finishing touches are put on Steele Stadium.
They’ll have to wait a little longer than that for their first home game, which comes in Week Two against Valparaiso on August 24.
But still, the team will have a chance to get back into their home stadium later this week – before that scrimmage.
“The coaches and the kids are most excited to be coming home,” said Kinder. “We’ve been here all summer, so just the opportunity to be in our locker room which we’ll move into this Friday, and being able to practice at the high school. Those are the things we’re looking forward to more than the scoreboard and the fancy stuff. Just feeling like we’re back where we belong.”
Mishawaka will open the 2018 season on the road against Portage.