MUSKEGON, MI – In his third season on the helm, Reeths-Puffer soccer coach Matt Bird continues to see development in his program.
Ironically, one of many Rockets’ foundational items is shrinking. For Marco Fields, that’s a superb factor. One time tipping the scales at 360 kilos, the senior two-way sort out is now a imply and lean(er) 6-foot-4 ½, 282 kilos.
That ought to bode nicely for R-P, which appears to rebound from a 2-5 marketing campaign in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic altered all people’s season and means of doing issues.
“Marco has achieved an incredible job, a four-year varsity child, going into his fourth 12 months,” Bird stated. “He’s trimmed means down, he’s shifting quicker. He’s actually achieved some issues. He’s made big enhancements within the classroom. I’m actually pleased with him.”
Reeths-Puffer went 5-4 in 2019, Bird’s first season with the Rockets after an extended and profitable run at Grand Ledge.
The uncommon nature of the 2020 season interrupted continuity in some methods, however Bird feels as if the Rockets are making progress. Participation numbers proceed to be on the rise and Bird can sense a distinction within the weight room, along with his teaching workers and the way issues are being structured how.
At the identical time, a program isn’t the place the pinnacle coach needs it to be. Meanwhile, the OK Green Conference is sort of unforgiving with the likes of two-time Division 2 defending state champ Mona Shores, perennial energy Muskegon and the 2 Zeeland groups, for starters.
“It’s going to be fascinating. There’s little doubt, it’s the hardest convention within the state of Michigan so far as I’m involved,” Bird stated. “And then you definately throw the teaching expertise that’s in there with Carlton Brewster coming into Wyoming, that provides one other dimension to issues.
“And then the Zeelands and Shores and (Don) Fellows with what he’s doing at Union, there may be going to be nice soccer on this space day in and day trip on Friday. It undoubtedly makes you propose totally different as you lay out the season.”
Reeths-Puffer ought to be in good arms on the quarterback spot. Senior Ben Veihl confirmed some promise at factors final season earlier than he fractured his non-throwing hand in Week 5 towards East Kentwood and missed the ultimate two video games.
The 6-3, 180-pounder is wholesome and his targets are fairly easy this season: “Win video games.”
Veihl stated he feels good concerning the state of the Reeths-Puffer program. He’s liking the seniors’ effort and he’s inspired by the best way quite a lot of youthful gamers are stepping up.
Of course, having a constructing block up entrance like Fields by no means hurts.
“It’s big to have a man like Marco on the road — D-line, too. That security blanket, understanding he’s in entrance of you, serving to you out,” Veihl stated. “Great playmaker for us and he’s going to be good for us this 12 months.”
Fields has ridden the curler coaster of well being, however now he’s in an excellent spot.
When he received as much as his heaviest close to the top of his sophomore 12 months, Fields was making an attempt to bulk up however took it too far. At that point, he stated he feasted on donuts and truffles.
Now, proteins are common gadgets in his weight loss program, particularly rooster and eggs. He nonetheless enjoys truffles every now and then, however it’s all about steadiness. Fields additionally tried fasting for some time, however he stated he took that too far. All his power was gone as a result of he was not weight-reduction plan correctly or figuring out.
Moving iron within the weight room has by no means actually been a problem for Fields. He’s all the time been very robust. Currently, his most lifts are about 700 kilos in squat, 330 in bench press and 500 in deadlift.
“It was exhausting,” Fields stated concerning the way of life modifications, notably in his weight loss program. “I’m used to it now, however at first I didn’t know the way to do it so I finished consuming for 2 weeks after which it received unhealthy and I began consuming higher.”
Fields is seeing his dedication to well being repay. He now holds Division II gives from Ferris State and Saginaw Valley State, in addition to a roster spot from Division III Alma College.
He’s hoping to place all of it collectively in his senior season.
“Now that I’m again in my previous form, fine condition, mentally I do know I’m going to be so much quicker, stronger, after which clearly I’m going to look higher,” stated Fields, whose important crew purpose is for the Rockets to return to the playoffs. They made it final season, however all people did within the COVID 12 months.
Fields’ face lit up with a smile when requested about new Reeths-Puffer defensive coordinator Jari Brown, a former defensive lineman and crew captain at Eastern Michigan University, who brings a number of years of teaching expertise to the west facet of the state.
Fields additionally has a lot respect for Bird, who coached Brown throughout Brown’s taking part in days at Lansing Eastern High School.
“I feel (Bird is) doing a extremely good job. He’s like modified this system,” Fields stated. “He’s modified the best way I take a look at soccer and the best way I work, and I feel he has quite a lot of love for the crew, which is excellent.”
Head coach: Matt Bird (third season at Reeths-Puffer)
2020 file: 2-5 (2-3 OK Green)
Players to observe: Marco Fields (Sr., OL/DL); Ben Veihl (Sr., QB); Jacob Udell (Sr., OL/DL), Jarren Vanderberg (Sr., WR/DB); Tayte VanderLeest (Jr., WR/DB); Travis Ambrose (So., TE/DE)
Notable: Reeths-Puffer may have a superb check out of the gates, because the Rockets open the season towards a Grand Haven program that seems to be on the rise. The Buccaneers will function two Division I prospects on the road of scrimmage in Michigan State commit Ashton Lepo and fellow senior Dayne Arnett. The OK Green slate appears fairly unforgiving for the Rockets, particularly the three-game stretch of Zeeland East, Zeeland West and Mona Shores back-to-back-to-back. The Rockets will get their first take a look at different opponents Wednesday, Aug. 18, once they head to East Grand Rapids for a scrimmage with the host Pioneers in addition to Grand Rapids Union and Jenison.
REETHS-PUFFER 2021 SCHEDULE
Aug. 26: at Grand Haven
Sept. 2: ST. JOHNS
Sept. 10: WYOMING*
Sept. 17: at Zeeland East*
Sept. 24: ZEELAND WEST*
Oct. 1: at Mona Shores*
Oct. 8: HOLLAND*
Oct. 15: MUSKEGON*
Oct. 22: at Grand Rapids Union*
*OK Green Conference