By John Raffel
The single-wing offense is a unique weapon that Menominee High School has used for two-straight Division 5 Michigan state football championships and a 28-game winning streak.
Despite heavy losses, the Upper Peninsula school and coach Ken Hofer is going to be gunning for a third-straight 14-0 season. Last season, Menominee beat Jackson Lumen Christi 21-7 in the title game.
“It's a group of young people who aren't afraid to make a commitment and then go out getting the job done. That's what it comes down to,” Hofer said, adding that duplicating last season what his team did in 2006 was a pleasant surprise of sorts. “We had a lot of apprehension. Fortunately, we had a group of offensive linemen come through for us. That made a significant difference. We had to move some people around like taking our backup tailback and making him a defensive tackle, and taking a tight end and making him an outside linebacker.
“Our offensive line grew in stature as the season went along.”
The season starts on Aug. 28 and 29 around the state and Hofer is cautiously optimistic.
“I would say this is a team that has a good turnout of young people, 46 of them juniors and seniors,” Hofer said. “We don't have a lot of experience on defense. We don't have one experienced offensive back. We have a lot of work to do in developing an offensive structure in the backfield. Defensively, we're almost starting from scratch.”
The single-wing has been Hofer's offense since 1966. He's been coaching for 41 years at the school.
“I enjoy the challenge of it. It makes me feel a great deal younger when you're with young people,” Hofer said. “You think young and as a result, it makes for a very nice experience.
"In my estimation (this team) has one of the most difficult schedules we've ever had,” Hofer said. “We play two Wisconsin schools who are among the top five in Wisconsin, and that's Homestead and Marshfield. We have our own conference with Kingsford and Escanaba, which are two very good teams. The other schools are also very competitive.”
Menominee also has another Wisconsin team on the schedule, with neighboring Marinette in the well known M&M game.
“They're on the way back and look to have a very good team this year,” Hofer said. “When I look at our schedule and the size of our school, we have our work cut out for us and it will take a great effort among our young people to be successful.”
Key players for Menominee will be tight ends Jacob Pedersen and Justin Salzman.
Menominee High School
2101 18th Street
2101 18th Street
Menominee, MI 49858