SHELBY – The Shelby Coyotes football team is coming off an 8-4 season and a runner-up finish in the team’s first Class B championship appearance since 1988. But this year brings new challenges, playing against new teams and a shorter field. This season the school will be shifting down to the 8-man ranks. But so far that transition has been easier than the team originally thought.
“I think it’s been going well. We went through a couple camps this summer and we’ve been out here practicing, plus we’ve had the field prepped for a while,” said head coach Mike White. “I don’t know how much it’ll change offensively or defensively for us. We’ll just be taking three guys out of the box. We’ll still use same terminology and a lot of the stuff we’ve had in the past. We’ll just play with a little shorter of a field and a few less players.”
“It’s actually been pretty exciting, I’ve enjoyed it personally. To me, it’s fun that we get to play all these new teams and do all this new stuff,” said Coyotes senior defensive end Ryan Van Tine. “We’ve kind of been around this, our j.v. team played 8-man last year so we have a little bit of experience with it. I think it’ll be fun, I’m looking forward to it.”
The Coyotes lost a very strong senior class last year and will look a little younger on the field this go round. Plus the north division is always tough in 8-man. But even with different competition, the goal remains the same, Shelby looks to compete and make a name for itself in its new alignment.
“I think it’s going to be really interesting this year because in years past it’s been seniors and juniors playing,” said Coyotes senior quarterback Damon Irvin. “This year we’re going to have a mix of possibly freshman on up to seniors which will be interesting as one of the leaders on the team. I think it will be a lot of fun.”
“We’re hoping to be competitive. We know the Northern division is tough. Anything up in the north, whether you’re class A, B, or C, you’re going to find good teams, good athletes, and good coaches,” said White. “We’re just going to come out and put our helmets on and get after it. We’re going to look to compete and build off the last few years, even though we’ve dropped down a class, the expectations are still the same.”
The winning tradition has been building at Shelby for the last two seasons. This scrappy team hopes to keep that trend rolling this year, and surprise some people along the way.
“We’ve had a tradition the past few years. We’ve had really great leadership. The biggest thing has been keeping everybody together,” said Irvin. “Staying as a team throughout the entire summer, getting better throughout the summer. Then the season is where you show it all off at.”
“You look at us out there, we’re not all the biggest guys but we have some pretty good speed on us, said Van Tine. “I feel like we all like to hit people so that’ll be fun.”
Shelby kicks off its 8-man season on the road against Chinook on Saturday, August 25 at 7 pm.