When Fredonia's varsity football team takes the field on Sept. 6 for their opener at Silver Creek, there will be a new head coach patrolling the sidelines. Mike Marshall has taken over the program and is looking to continue the winning tradition that has come to be expected from Fredonia athletics.
Marshall is taking over for Bob Ball who led the Hillbillies to an overall record of 7-3 last season. The team eventually lost to Cleveland Hill at Ralph Wilson Stadium by a score of 22-20. Marshall has big shoes to fill and wisely won't be changing much from last season.
"(Our coaching philosophy) is pretty much the same," Marshall said when asked how his philosophy differs from coach Ball's. "We will be running a similar offense with the spread, but with a few little twists to it. I think we have the athletes to do it. It looks like we're going to have pretty good team speed but time will tell. We'll see what happens when we get up against somebody."
OBSERVER Photo by Jeremy Izzio
New Fredonia varsity football head coach Mike Marshall talks to one of his players during Thursday’s afternoon practice.
As far as his coaching personality is concerned, Marshall believes that discipline is key to running a good program and will be emphasizing it to his players.
"I'm fair, but firm with the boys," Marshall said. "I like discipline and as long as we have good discipline I think we'll be ok."
Coach Marshall has many years of experience working the sidelines. His coaching career began at Livonia where he got his start coaching midgets before moving up to the school's jayvee squad for two years. In 1999 Marshall became a member of Ball's coaching staff and has been working with Fredonia's program ever since. First, he took over the Fredonia jayvee team and for the past four seasons he has been assisting the varsity program.
Marshall is familiar with the importance of having good assistant coaches and is excited about the group he has entering the 2013 season.
"I'm really proud of these guys who applied to be assistant coaches," Marshall said. "I have two coaches with college experience and I have two coaches coming back from coach Ball's coaching staff who I'm familiar with and know their style. The coaching staff I have is either going to be the make or break difference this year. Right now they're 100 percent behind the system.
They see the same vision I see and they see how to get there the same way I do."
Section 6 teams will be facing a new challenge with the recent realignment of the divisions for the 2013 season. Unfortunately for Marshall, there will be no chance for his team to have an off week.
"We've been at the north for two years and this year we are down in the south division," Marshall said. "We have a team like Silver Creek who just joined the C Division and they're always a tough squad. With Southwestern, Salamanca and Alleghany-Limestone you just can't take a break with that type of competition."
Fredonia opens the season on the road versus Silver Creek. After losing 14 seniors from last season's team, and with the recent realignment of the division, that game will be a major test for Marshall's team and should be a good measure of how his team will perform during the upcoming season.
"Silver Creek is traditionally and continually in the top of the D Division and I don't expect them to lose much coming up to C," Marshall said. "They have an excellent coaching staff and they merged with Forestville so that's going to give them extra talent. That's going to be our big test for the season. If we can do well against them then we can hold our own in the league I think."