(Photo Provided: Jason Baker, Potterville High School new football coach.)
The winds of change have been blowing in the Potterville football program. That is because the team will have a new head coach this season in Jason Baker. If things go according to his plan, the Vikings will see plenty of good things happen under the new regime.
“It is exciting,” Baker said. “We have a great group of young men and there is a lot of potential here. I think the school district is growing and changing and improving quite a bit. We have a great support staff with the administration. The superintendent and the athletic director are huge supporters of the football program. The boys are working really hard, so it is really exciting.”
Baker played high school football at Bentley and went on to play at the next level at Grand Valley State University and also played some in an arena league. While official practices don’t start until next month, things have been going well in the off-season.
“(Summer workouts) have been good, we have had a good turnout,” Baker said. “We did some (scrimmages) with other schools last week and that went really well. We are changing everything about the program here, starting with the culture. We are also putting in a new offense and defense and the boys are already picking that up. It is going well, we have a lot of things to improve on but I think we are going to get there.”
The Vikings finished last season 1-8 overall. With the program not expecting many upperclassmen this fall, they have opted to play a hybrid schedule of JV and varsity contests. At the moment they have three varsity games scheduled.
“We will maybe have one senior and only have two juniors,” Baker said. “It should be really interesting and a great launching point for us as a team.”
Potterville’s last above .500 record came in 2009. That is something the coach would like to see changed rather quickly.
“Our goal for this season is to have a winning record, that would bring a lot of excitement,” Baker said. “When I interviewed for this position, I said I wanted to bring back a lot of tradition to Potterville football. We are putting the Viking horn on the helmet and singing the fight song after the game with the band, and we want to get the community involved and more interested in the game.”
And while they will not be eligible for the post-season this fall, Baker knows that in due time they’ll be eying a playoff berth.
“We have a great group of kids that are going to be sophomores this year,” he said. “I’m really excited for our eighth grade too. I think year two we should be making a good run into the playoffs and building a program that everyone can be proud of.”
Baker, who added a thank you to the supportive community and his coaching staff, added that about 25 athletes have been coming to summer workouts. Flash forward a year or two and he can’t wait to see what happens.
“If we get to where I think we are going, it is going to be great,” Baker said. “Potterville deserves a winning team. The boys are working hard for that, and we are excited to bring that to the community.”