Rebuilding Grandville football: ‘A long way to go’


GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grandville High School football team has had a rough go of it lately, but the Bulldogs are off to a fast start this season.

Grandville is 2-0 so far. Friday, they play the Muskegon Big Reds — a powerhouse team. It could be a defining test.

The Bulldogs last made the playoffs eight seasons ago. They’ve had seven straight losing seasons since then. In the last three seasons combined, they have won only six games.

Coach Eric Steigel is trying to rebuild the once-proud Grandville program.

“I’ve only been here for a few months, so I really don’t know what the culture has been,” he said. “All I know is there’s a process to being successful at anything, and there’s a process to building a successful football program.”

In Steigel’s first head coaching position in the Detroit area, he took over a Taylor Truman High School team that had won only one game the previous season. By his third season there, the team’s record was 9-2.

He brought to Grandville a plan for a Straight T offense.

“It’s a speed offense as much as it is a power offense,” Steigel explained. “We have to have running backs that can hit the hole fast, but at the same time be physical, and offensive linemen who are both physical but also athletic in space, so it fits our kids really well.”

The Bulldogs beat Jenison and Okemos in their first two games. To put that in perspective, those two wins match their average win total for each of the past three seasons — and they still have seven games to go in this regular season.

“It’s always good to start 2-0,” Steigel said. “We know we have a long ways to go in terms of not just wins, but in terms of getting the program where we want it to go.”

To get there, Grandville will have to go through an incredibly difficult schedule including the O-K Red powers and arguably the best team in the state: Muskegon.

“We play one of the toughest schedules in the state,” Steigel said. “We’re going to find out where we are at as a program very quick and what kind of adjustments we need to do to get to the levels we ultimately want to get to.”

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