Mott-Regent, New England co-op ready to hit the field

New England athletes will team up with Mott-Regent to play football this year. New England had previously been co-oping with Dickinson Trinity.
(Herald File Photo)

The official beginning of a new era in Hettinger County sports starts Aug. 18, 2017, when the newly formed New England, Mott-Regent football co-op opens their 2017 season at home in Mott against Tioga.
But the blending has already begun.
Officially entering the co-op after the commencement of the 2016 season, the two schools met throughout the offseason to work out the details. Then it was time for the players to get to know each other.
“We’ve had a great summer, [we’ve] been getting in the weight room,” said Nate Zachmann, co-head coach. “It’s just been a good process of [Mott-Regent] kids meeting [New England] kids.”
Zachmann said the initial player meeting came when the Mott-Regent Touchdown Club sponsored a day-camp for the two schools to hit the field. On June 19, players from both schools got together and started to get to know each one another.
“It was just so fun to see the kids meet each other and be on the field,” Zachmann said.
The coach said that before the camp started the players were mingling with their own peers, but by the time they had hit the field for a few hours, it was one big group.
“It was just a really, really good first step,” Zachmann said.
They worked on basics and experimented with players at different positions. It’s the new dynamic with the two schools that has been conducive to competition battles.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m trying to make that clear to everybody, it’s good to compete for the position that you’re playing at, that way you won’t get comfortable.”
The added New England athletes almost doubled the team size Mott-Regent could have been facing had they not joined with their counterparts to the west. They would have had a roster of just 16, now that number sits between 25-30. Zachmann said that they will have a better idea of numbers after the first official practice on Aug. 7.
He also said that there are not volunteers or coaches from the New England area yet, but that he’d like to see that happen at some point in the future. The co-op will also practice in Regent once a week.
“We’re so excited for this opportunity,” he said. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to be connected with the New England community and also to be working with (New England Athetic Director) Daryl Jung and (New England Superintendent) Kelly Koppinger, they’re class-acts to work with. [We’re] just really looking forward to making this relationship work.”
Jung said the process has been good, and the two schools communicate well.
“Real good, they’re real good guys to work with,” Jung said. “They’re good to work with, [and] the kids are excited.”
Jung thinks that excitement is derived form the fact that the athletes feel they have a better opportunity for greater playing time.
“I think they feel that they have a better shot at playing in 9-man, than they ever did in AA,” Jung said. “That’s pretty big football.”
The community seems to be getting excited too, even prepping their own field behind the school in New England, with the hopes of hosting some football in the future. The preparation includes installing a new scoreboard, and possibly a new sound system.

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