Matt Tjapkes 2017-09-27 23:33:06
When Joe Nelson was named head coach of the Buccaneer football team last winter, one of the first things on his checklist was to find the best athletes in the school. As a former three-sport athlete during his time in high school, Nelson could rely on his own experience to show the benefits. “There’s lots of reasons,” he said. “Being in shape and staying active. I always did better in classes when I was in season. When I was between seasons is when I would slack, because you don’t have to discipline your time and you’re not as structured. And I love being with my friends and competing with my friends, whether it was practice or game competition.” The Buccaneer football team is full of multi-sport athletes, with players who participate in basketball, wrestling, baseball, track, soccer and even rugby, a club sport at the school. Senior Brandon Diaz is one of those players. Last year, Diaz was a part of the Bucs wrestling and lacrosse teams. “I think it’s great to play multiple sports,” Diaz said. “I think all sports go hand in hand and you can’t just focus on one. For example, wrestling helped me a lot with football and that’s why I did it.” “Each sport is going to help build on your other sports,” added Charlie Young, a senior who also participates in track. “It’s going to get you more competitive. It’s going to get you in shape. There’s not anything that’s going to hurt you playing multiple sports. If anything, it’s going to help you a ton.” In addition to the physical benefits, the multi-sport Buccaneers also said that they can see the benefits in the classroom and in life in general. “I feel like sports helps with managing your time,” said senior Malic Love, who also plays on the Bucs basketball team. “In any future occupation or with kids or anything, you’re going to have to manage your time. This just sets you up for the future.” “It’s helped me a lot,” Diaz said. “Playing sports right now is going to help me out for college later on to help me manage my time.” “it can be tricky at times,” Young added. “You try and balance your school work and athetics, but at the end of the day, your academics comes first. There will always be time for track, but you have to make time for academics. Time management is key.” “It’s not as hard as a lot of people think,” said senior Ryan Mattson, who is also on the Buccaneer baseball team. “You’ve got to make time for it. But we get done with football at a reasonable time, so you still have time to get work done.” With a school as big as Grand Haven is, playing multiple sports also gives the student athletes one more benefit - making new friends. “There’s not a lot of guys that play baseball and football,” Mattson said, “so it’s nice to get to know everyone through the two sports.” And if a young Buccaneer is considering trying multiple sports, coach Nelson and his staff are ready to help those willing to put the work in. “A lot of people don’t want to give up their own time,” Love said, “If we’re willing to give them our time, they (the coaches) are willing to reward us.” “We, as coaches, can teach kids how to do it,” Nelson concluded. “We can teach kids technique, we can teach all the schemes and all that stuff on where you’re supposed to align. We need athletes if we’re going to be good. I love the kids that we have this year, but we just don’t have enough of the athletes in each spot. There’s 11 guys on offense, 11 guys on defense plus all the special teams and really every position is a unique skill. To have a wide variety of talent and skill level, you need to have those guys that can do that.” Tonight the Grand Haven Buccaneers wrap up the home portion of their schedule by welcoming the Caledonia Fighting Scots to Buccaneer Stadium and Gene Rothi Field for Homecoming. Before the start of tonight’s game, Grand Haven is going to recognize all former players in attendance at the game. Former players are invite to meet at the south en entrance of the track at 6:25, and the former players will walk the track and be announced by the decade they played in. After the ceremony, the former Buccaneers will make a tunnel for the current players to run through to take the field. Last week, the Bucs lost at Rockford 39-10 to drop to 0-5 on the season and 0-3 in O-K Red action. The Bucs first score came in the first quarter, as Jake Thayer nailed a 39-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game in the first quarter. Grand Haven’s lone touchdown came in the 3rd quarter, when Adam Nelson hit Kellum Bridgeforth on a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it a 24-10 game. The Bucs offense and defense both showed big improvements, as the Grand Haven offense totaled 204 yards, while limiting the Rams to just 281. Grand Haven’s defense finished with 2 sacks and 5 tackles for loss in the game. Caledonia comes into tonight’s game with a 2-3 record, including an 0-2 mark in O-K Red play. The Fighting Scots are coming off a convincing 35-8 victory at home over Kenowa Hills last week. Last season, Caledonia held on for a 22-14 win at home over the Buccaneers. “The seniors are going to be really motivated to have a great showing this time against Caledonia,” Grand Haven coach Joe Nelson said. “After last year, we felt like we let that one get away. They want to make sure their last time on our field and in our stadium that they are going to show everyone in the stands that we can play and we are getting better. Our seniors are the beginning of what we’re trying to set up here as something special for Grand Haven football.” Be sure to tune in to WGHN 92.1 FM after the game to hear Coach Nelson’s thoughts and stop by the Stable Inn on Monday from 7-8 as Coach Nelson and WGHN’s Matt Tjapkes get you caught up on all the things happening with the Buccaneers.
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