By Ben Murphy
When the 2014 football season begins, Farwell High School will be on its third head coach in four seasons. Newly named head man Ben Bryant is hoping to stanch the bleeding caused from three straight losing seasons and get the Eagles back into Jack Pine Conference and playoff contention.
“It feels great, I’m very excited to do big things,” Bryant, who has been an assistant with the Farwell program the last two years said. “I like the thought of taking a program that has been down the last few years and being able to turn it around and make it something we can all be proud of.”
Bryant graduated from Evart High School in 2006 and graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in physical education and math. He is also currently a math teacher at Farwell and is an assistant wrestling coach.
For Farwell athletic director Jason Dykstra, Bryant was a logical fit for the program.
“Coach Bryant’s expertise includes very structured weight training routines, motivation of players and building strong relationships with the student athletes here at Farwell,” he said. “He has the potential to do great things with the football program. He is very dedicated and puts the time, energy and passion into everything he does. His focus has been vertically aligning the youth football program with the high school, increasing number of players on the team and leading our student athletes in the weight room.”
The Eagles last made the playoffs in 2010, under head coach Scott Barnhardt, who resigned after the 2011 season. In 2012 and 2013 the Eagles, under Alan Esterline, went 2-7 and 1-8 and went a combined 0-14 in JPC play. Those numbers don’t sit well with Bryant.
“Any school can be a consistent winner if the kids put in the hard work and do the right things,” Bryant said. “It’s all about how much work you put in… You work hard and you’ll be good at anything you do.”
The Eagles averaged under 10 points a game of offense a year ago and gave up 30 points a game to opposing teams; more numbers that Bryant feel are in need of a change.
“Defensively, we are going to run a 4-3 and some 3-4,” Bryant said. “Offensively, we will be much different then last year. We’re going to run a version of the pistol (shallow shotgun). It lets us do a variety of things, run option, down-hill power ‘I’ packages and we can run spread out of it. It opens us up to run anything.”
Farwell opens up the season Aug. 29 against Coleman, when it looks to end an eight game losing streak. Though that date is still over five months away, the coach knows that if they expect to win the work begins now.
“I’m very excited for it to start, can’t wait to get things going,” Bryant said. “Winning games in the fall is done by hard work in the off-season, hitting the weight room, doing your agility drills and just staying busy all year long.”