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Young Mt. Pleasant team ready to get going, aiming high in 2014

By: Jeff Dullack, August 25, 2014, 11:45 am

MT. PLEASANT – A season ago, Mt. Pleasant bounced back from a 2012 season, where it missed the playoffs, with an impressive 10-2 mark led by a large group of seniors.

This season, the Oilers will look to put together similar success, but will be one of the younger teams the state has to offer in 2014.

Mt. Pleasant lost 26 seniors off of last year’s squad and will have over 30 juniors on this year’s team.

Mt. Pleasant head coach Jason McIntyre said that there is excitement within his team because of the young players coming up, but knows that his team still needs work on making sure his team’s execution in on par to where Mt. Pleasant football has been in years past.

“We’ve got young kids, so we’re excited,” he said. “Our biggest issue is that we lost 26 seniors last year off of our 10-2 team and we’ve got a good tradition. We have a young team, but they’re excited and everyone’s competing for positions, so right now, there’s a lot of energy and we just need to get focused and put something together. Our schedule is brutal, so we’re just trying to get our execution to where it needs to be.”

Among the key returners for the Oilers this fall will be seniors Nick Burkholder and Will Berry along with juniors, Kalebb Perry and Hunter Buczkowski.

Perry, one of the top receivers in the class of 2016, said that with a strong junior class followed by a strong JV team, led by the sophomore class, he expects Mt. Pleasant to be in good shape for the coming years.

“I think it’ll be good for us,” he said. “We have a lot of juniors and we have a good JV team and that’s a strong class of 2017, so I think we’ll be good for the next few years.”

Three years ago, Mt. Pleasant advanced to the Division 2 state championship game for the first time in school history and the Oilers continue to build the program each year.

McIntyre said that over the course of his time at Mt. Pleasant, the Oilers have been building a program and is looking to continue the consistency the Oilers have had in recent years.

“We take a lot of pride in the success that we’ve had here,” he said. “In 2006 when I took over, the goal was to build a program. We’ve always had good players in Mt. Pleasant and we’ve had some good teams, but we haven’t had consistency as a program and my goal was to develop a program where kids knew what to expect from everybody and once we were able to establish that, I think it’s made a big difference.”

Perry said that while the Oilers are young this year, he and his teammates have high expectations for themselves and believe that they could have plenty of success this fall with a little work put in to help get them there.

“For us as a team and amongst ourselves, our expectations are pretty high,” he said. “I think we could be a good team as long as we work hard.”

Mt. Pleasant will get the season underway as it travels to Midland Dow on August 28th.