Tradition comes back to HCHS

One of the toughest things in any sport is rebuilding a tradition.

Now, tradition is one of those things that can’t be borrowed or stolen. It can only be achieved through hard work and by winning.

Hancock High football coach Ted Holmstrom is currently achieving just that with a co-op program featuring athletes from Chassell, Jeffers, Dollar Bay and HCHS.

School spirit at Hancock is at the highest it has been for the Crimson and Gold in a very long time. There are signs promoting the Bulldogs in front of many residences in town.

Even cheerleaders, absent for many years in the past decade or so, are back in numbers.

There was a time when the football — and the overall sports tradition — at Hancock was as strong as anywhere in the Copper Country.

And the Salani family played a big role in that success. Starting with the late Robert Salani in the late 1940s, there has usually been a member of the Salani clan playing a key role.

Richard Salani is perhaps the best-known, having gained all-state notice in 1970 and later playing football at Michigan State.

His four sons also starred for the Bulldogs, and one of those, Chris, duplicated his father’s feat by playing football at MSU.

It’s not surprising that this year’s 5-1 team is led by flashy sophomore quarterback Colton Salani, who is the son of Chris.

But a lot of credit for the resurgence has to go to Holmstrom.

A tireless promoter and a very innovative coach, Holmstrom has installed a very effective no-huddle offense that has been referred to as a fast-break and NASCAR variety.

With a full roster (some 30 players) the Bulldogs substitute in droves, and leave opponents gasping for air by the time the second half arrives.

Hancock has been able to outscore foes by a wide margin in the second half of most contests.

Because of its co-op program, HCHS will be moved up to a higher designation for the playoffs. That will no doubt lead them to meeting powerhouses Menominee, Kingsford or Gladstone down the road.

But I don’t believe the Bulldogs will be an easy out for any team because of their offensive prowess.

Still, this year’s team has restored tradition after a lengthy absence. And that, in itself, is noteworthy.