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(Stanton) -- The Stanton-Essex football team is likely to look a bit different this season. With the loss of several of their most productive players, Coach Jeff Grebin is intrigued with who will step up.

Adding to the challenge of replacing a four-year player like Keygan Day and his top receiving threat Colton Thornburg, the pandemic hardly allowed for the kind of offseason seasoning originally expected.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Coach Grebin told KMA Sports. “We came up with an online meeting to set up a workout, and some participated and some didn’t. That was your fear. It was tough.”

Of course, Grebin admits everybody was going through the same thing. And the good news is that this year’s team actually appears to be a bit deeper than last.

“We’ve got some kids stepping up,” he said. “With the Essex program, I believe we had three kids that came over last year. This year, we have nine, so we gained some numbers there. They’re fitting in well, and everyone is working hard.”

Coach Grebin and his team will open the year at home on Friday evening when they host an East Union team that returns plenty of talent. At the same token, they’re also under the tutelage of a new head coach, Tony Neubauer.

“It’s an unknown with a new coach,” Grebin said. “You don’t know what to expect. You hope they will look a lot similar, but it could change dramatically. We’ve got to prepare for a lot of things. That first game is nice to work out the kinks, but we don’t know what to anticipate.”

In any event, Coach Grebin says the first week of the season is going to be more about focusing on his own team than trying to solve the East Union riddle.

“We can’t control what they bring over on the bus,” Grebin said, “but we can control ourselves. That’s been our focus is to make the Viking program as strong as they can be in understanding the game of football.”

Ryan Hart will have reports from Stanton on Friday evening during our full-scale KMAland football coverage. Listen to Coach Grebin’s complete interview linked below.

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