Q&A with two Ranger football players as they look ahead to Traverse City Central


Ali Czarnecki, Sports Report

Talented players Cam Deines and Will Kuiper are excited to call themselves District Champs. The varsity football team clinched a title with a 28-21 win on Friday against Mona Shores. They now look ahead to their next victim, the Traverse City Central Trojans, who they will play this week Friday. The Trojans have an 8-3 record and the Rangers have a superior 11-0 record so far this season.

Ali: What was the overall feeling in the locker room after the win against Mona Shores last Friday?

Will: The team was ecstatic after this win. It showed the steps that our program has taken in order to get to the place we are. When I was a freshman, the varsity was 2-7. Our varsity team has now won 2 district championships in back to back years. Mona Shores is a great team and one of the best in the state, so winning a district title game against that caliber of team is a big deal and great feeling for our team and program.

Cam: Winning last Friday was a great feeling. It was great for this team and for the program. Beating a team like Mona was a huge win for the community.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for this Friday?

Will: Our program is looking forward to two things this Friday. The first is making history. None of the students at this school were alive when FHC had its last regional championship, so this is an opportunity to go down in the Ranger history books. The second reason is an opportunity to prove ourselves to the rest of the state. There has been a lot of adversity surrounding our program this week and this is an opportunity to prove that we are a program who responds to and thrives through hardships like guys being out due to injury, etc. This game is a great showcase game for the type of team and program that we are.

Cam: This upcoming game should be a good one. It will be the first regional championship in a long time. It’ll be a great way to go out in our last home game for all the seniors. Definitely looking forward to the outcome and how the whole game plays out.

Q: How are you and your team preparing for Friday?

Will: This Friday we have a “next man up” mentality. We have guys who need to recover from injuries and who are out. We want to attack this game and gain an early lead so that we can get valuable starters valuable rest. This allows great teammates and players who don’t always get a chance to see live game action an opportunity to play. These guys grind every day on the scout team and do a great job, so we hope we can get them an opportunity to play.

Cam: We’re just treating this game like any other, it’s a game to go to the State Semifinal. We’re working hard at practice to make sure we lock-in a solid win.

Q: Do you know anything about Traverse City Central?

Will: TCC is a great team. They are 8-3 and have played against good teams, such as their crosstown rival Traverse City West and Portage Central. They are battle-tested and are a great team in front of us.

Cam: Winning this game would be amazing because TCC is a well-rounded team who likes to pass the ball. They should be coming out strong against us. So we will have to manage their offense throughout the game.

Q: What do you need to fix from last game that you struggled with?

Will: As a team, we felt good about our performance last week. We’d obviously like to get off to a better start and jump on this team early. This week is more about players stepping up into new roles as our injured players get healthy and staying focused through 12-14 weeks of football practice to improve. That is the only way we can get better this week and hopefully continue to prove ourselves in the state and contend for a state title.

Cam: This game we need come out strong in the first half and not keep it close for TCC. We have to put them away quickly and let some people that don’t play as much get a chance to play.