By David Fleet
The 2016 Martians are going to be tested early and often.
After more than two decades Martians Head Coach Tom Alward says the 2016 schedule is by far the toughest ever.
“We have only five league games then four non-league games,” said Alward. “All we could find were Class A schools that made the playoffs last year. Honestly, it helps us and will make us better, but you need six wins to make the playoffs. The Metro League is tough—if we can do what we do well, we don’t have to reinvent anything this season. If we can block and tackle better we’ll have a great year.”
The Martians are looking to improve on a 7-3 season in 2015 after a first round loss in the playoffs to Flint Powers.
Alward who was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and will be starting his 24th season at the helm of the Martians said expect a solid group of skilled seniors. With Alward who is 131-89 with the Martians won league titles in 2004, 2008 and 2010, 2015 and is also the winningest coach in Martian football history. Coach Alward is joined on the bench by his son-in-law, offensive coordinator and former Croswell-Lexington High School coach Jason VanDer Maas. Trevor Alward, Tom’s son, will start his 14th season as the Martian defensive coordinator. In the off-season former Bentley high school co-head coach Ryan Tomaselli along with assistant Jack Chittle joined the Martians coaching staff. Chittle will coach the defensive backs and receivers while Tomaselli will lead the offensive and defensive lines for the Martians. In addition, Bruce Edwards will step in as line coach along with speed, strength and conditioning trainer. Steve Prine will now coach the defensive backs along with running backs.
“For two seasons we’ve featured the spread offense,” said Alward. “Look for us to continue scoring plenty of points this year, we’ve been executing more effectively each year—with fewer mistakes and more success.”
The spread offense is led by first year junior quarterback Ryan Alymer.
“Ryan has a strong arm, accurate with excellent skills and is very coachable,” he said. “Right now he’s getting to feel more comfortable at quarterback, this summer he’s become stronger and is a very accurate passer. It was a battle for quarterback this summer between Ryan, Joe Toporek and Mac Cox. Ryan has earned the position.”
In the backfield is Jarett Green.
“Green is a very athletic kid who can run the ball and is an outstanding receiver,” said Alward. “The offense is rounded out by receivers Carrington Wiggins, along with Goliath Mitchell both can run and go get the ball.”
The offensive line will be Jordon Reasoner, Andrew Garcia and Noah Jewell.
“They are very athletic and are really fast guards,” he said. “At tackle are Justin Lawrence and Jake Lederman, who could very well be an All State candidate. The strength of our team is our linemen. They are strong kids and tough, who can really get after you.”
The Martian defense is lead linebackers Jerrett Green, Drake Toms and Spencer King. At safety will be Cody Orcutt, Geri Sula and Zach Bearden.
“At defensive cornerback is Johnny Seelbinder and Dante Tigue, who is the best corner we have ever had—he just does not get beat,” he said. “The defensive line is Justin Lawrence and Noah Jewell. Defensive ends are Jake Lederman and Jordan Reasoner, Andrew Burt. At tackles are Jacob Krause and Jordan Reasoner.”
The kicking team is lead by Jarrod Simmonds.