Peterson: Change on the way

I’ve never claimed to a be a seer of the future. Or even a modern day Nostradamus.

But I do believe that there are changes coming on the sports scene in 2020.

High school football figures to be the most obvious area for changes.

Shrinking enrollment at many Michigan schools has led to the increasing number of programs adopting 8-man football.

Munising, for one, has already opted to go that route this coming season.

And it seems almost certain that Lake Linden-Hubbell will have to take a very close look at doing the same. The Lakes were the smallest school in the state to sponsor 11-man football last season.

Both schools in question have proud traditions on the gridiron. The Lakes, in particular, traditionally operated a competitive program without a great number of players.

Former coach Ron Warner molded a Hall of Fame career with usually under 20 players on his roster.

Current LLHS skipper Andy Crouch has had to get by with even fewer numbers in keeping the program in the upper echelon of small schools.

This past season saw the Lakes reach the second round of the playoffs with a senior-dominated squad. I can’t see a freshmen-sophomore team — and I could be wrong — be able to play varsity ball.

A lack of opponents is an obvious problem, for one.

The rest of our local schools with 11-man football appear to be healthy, although Houghton is going to need stability in the coaching ranks.

I believe Finlandia University also faces decisions in keeping its 16-sport program alive and kicking

With an enrollment of barely 700 students, the Lions are facing teams in every sport with enrollment numbers five or six times larger.

That’s especially true in football, where the numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of the opponents.

Becoming affiliated with the MIAA two years ago will likely help in the near future. But FU is facing league teams with traditions going back at least 70 or 80 years. That’s a large factor to overcome.

The basketball situation at Michigan Tech could also change, but in a positive way.

It’s possible that former Tech player Jake Witt may return to school in the near future.

MTU fans can envision a scenario with Witt joining Houghton High star Brad Simonsen in the lineup. Simonsen, who has already committed to Tech, is a top shelf talent.

Personally, I can see a lineup with those two joining Dawson Bilski, the sharp-shooting guard from North Central High’s great program.

But as I said, predicting the future has never been my forte.


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