ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Last season wasn’t how Kenowa Hills football coach Sam Becker wanted things to go.
The Knights finished last year with a record of 2-7 and the program hasn’t seen a winning season since finishing 5-4 in 2014.
Kenowa simply wasn’t finishing games last fall, so Becker made changes and now they’re coming into full effect.
“We wanted to get to a position defensively where we are more sound and force teams to drive on us,” Becker said. “We talked about vision development with our defensive staff. We want to trust each other, swarm and then tackle. It’s those three things with a high school football team you have a chance to be successful.
“We’ve done a lot of good things this summer to put our kids in a position to succeed.”
This isn’t the first time Becker has been faced with turning a program around in his career. Before being hired by Kenowa in June 2017, he spent two seasons as Wyoming’s coach. He took over a program that was a combined 1-17 in the two years prior to his tenure. In his time with Wyoming, Becker managed his team’s 3-6 in 2015 and 5-4 in 2016. He’s hoping his changes can bring similar results.
Becker’s “bend don’t break” philosophy comes from the Chicago Bears, a team he grew up watching, and Iowa, the school he graduated from.
The Knights offense is still growing, but while that is happening, he wants his defense to be strength.
“We need to be the kind of team that can hold on and make a 17-year-old quarterback beat us,” Becker said. “Offensively, everyone thinks we just throw jabs. We’re going to be able to throw counterpunches.”
Both playing both sides at tight end and defensive end, Bodey DeVries and Ethan Anderson are being counted on to anchor the offensive and defensive units. They were both around to feel the pain of a 2-7 season along with other returning players.
The goal is to finish everything they do and the hope is for positive results to follow.
“This summer, the theme was theme of six,” Becker said. “Whether that’s get six points; in the military, get six is I’ve got your back; and six wins gets you in the playoffs. Last year we did four quarters of fury to end conditioning, we’ve upped that to six quarters because we need to finish. We need to finish everything we do.”