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Key Napoleon High School varsity football players include, from left, Joey Hamlin, Michael Humphreys, Trent Jester, head Coach Derek Shell, Grant Bradley, Max Gamez, and Bart Laretz. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Last year: 6-3

Despite posting a 6-3 record in 2021, the Napoleon High School varsity football team missed the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs. 

A new points’ system replaced the six-and-you’re-in rule last year.

The Pirates were on the outside looking in after week nine. 

Coach Derek Shell says the Pirates have to “take the next step from good to great.”

“Our motto is to be the hammer,” Shell wrote in his season preview for JTV Media Days. “Don’t be the nail … attack the situation and take control.”

Key returnees for the Pirates are four-year player Max Gamez (lineman), Michael Humphreys (lineman), Grant Bradley (quarterback/defensive back), Bart Laretz (running back/lineman), Trent Jester (end/linebacker), Brendan Helfrich (receiver/defensive back), and Holden VanPoppel (receiver/defensive back).

“We saw a lot of guys in the weight room this summer … not just doing the bare minimum,” senior Laretz said. 

Newcomers include Ben Baker (lineman/linebacker), Kayden Fowler (receiver/defensive back), Aiden Booth (lineman), Dallas Smith (lineman), Joey Hamlin (running back/linebacker), and Cooper Wyers (receiver/defensive back). 

The Pirates have six returnees on offense and eight on the defensive side of the football. 

Napoleon expects 24 on the varsity team and at least 20 on the junior varsity squad. 

The Pirates have made the MHSAA playoffs four times since 2016. 

Napoleon High School

Football Schedule 2022

Aug. 25 Columbia Central at Napoleon 7 p.m.

Sept. 1 Napoleon at East Jackson 7 p.m.

Sept. 9 Napoleon at Manchester 7 p.m. 

Sept. 16 Springport at Napoleon 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 Hanover-Horton at Napoleon (Homecoming) 7 p.m.

Sept. 30 Napoleon at Grass Lake 7 p.m. 

Oct. 7 Michigan Center at Napoleon 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 Napoleon at Addison 7 p.m. 

Oct. 21 Cascades/Big 8 Crossover 7 p.m. 

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