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Friday Football Feature  – A kickoff for your weekend high school football 

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(November 11, 2022 10:04 AM) After injuring his knee during the 2021 football season, Napoleon High School running back Bart Laretz hit the weight room to gain weight and improve his overall speed.

Oh, to be young again.

The proof that strategy worked out showed up this season as Laretz has ran for 1,789 yards and 13 touchdowns through 11 games.

His rushing total breaks the school record held by Troy Allen from 1994 with 1,765 yards. 

In 2021 Laretz rushed for more than 700 yards on half of the carries.

“I gained 40 pounds and got quicker … which helps tremendously,” Laretz said. “As a team we hit the weight room a lot.”

But something happened in those weight room workouts … the team became closer and set goals to become better.

“We came from being a young group to one that wants to win badly,” Laretz said. “We came from being 2-7, 1-6, and 6-3 (the three previous seasons).”

NHS Coach Derek Shell said Laretz will be the first one to talk about his line.

“We have come a long way on line play,” Shell said. “As a team we are averaging 300 yards per game.”

Napoleon finished the 2021 season with a 6-3 record, but missed the playoffs because of a fairly new points system. That fueled the Pirates according to Laretz.

“We played with a chip on our shoulder this season,” Laretz said. “I think we are making a statement that we deserved to be in the playoffs last year.”

The Pirates had a simple solution for the playoff misfortune … win every game. Napoleon set a school record with 11 wins as they enter the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 regionals with a perfect record. 

Napoleon will travel to Monroe St. Mary tonight for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“If we play good football, we have a chance to make it to Ford Field,” Laretz said. “When we go out and do our job, we get things done.”

Laretz plans to wrestle at Henry Ford College next year. He was a state qualifier in wrestling a year ago.

He would like to study in the trades program to become an electrician. Laretz currently is enrolled in the construction program at the Jackson Area Career Center. 


Division 7 Regionals

Nov. 11 Lawton at Lumen Christi 7 p.m.

Napoleon at Monroe St. Mary 7 p.m. 

*The winners will face one another in a yet-to-be-determined location in the Division 7 state semifinal with a chance to go to Ford Field for the football finals on Nov. 26. 

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