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Novi — For the first time since 1975, there was a new face leading the first day of football practice at Detroit Catholic Central on Monday morning.

Dan Anderson finally took the field as the head man in place of legendary Catholic Central coach Tom Mach, who retired following the 2016 season after 40 years at the helm and 10 state championships.

Though the change will take some getting used to for all of those involved in Catholic Central football, Anderson, who spent 18 years under Mach, has a good blueprint to follow.

“We’re updating a few things because I’ve got to make it my own,” Anderson said. “But the traditional stuff is still there.”

One thing to keep an eye on is the quarterback competition after last season’s signal caller, Austin Brown, transferred to Madison Heights Madison over the summer.

Anderson isn’t quite sure who will be ready to take the torch, but he knows what he wants to see early.

“Everyone needs to compete,” he said. “Practice is going to be fast-paced, and we’re going to be moving. I want to see who’s ready to compete. No one has a position yet.”

Senior Jake Hinshaw and junior Marco Genrich are in competition for that starting spot under center, and this year there’s a new wrinkle.

Anderson brought over Dave Sofran, who spent the last two years as head coach at Birmingham Brother Rice before being relieved of his duties last December. Sofran is the now the quarterbacks coach at Catholic Central, meaning he’ll play a big role in deciding the fate of his former rival’s season.

“It’s exciting,” Sofran said. “I’m getting to know the quarterbacks and they’re getting to know me. I have two guys that are going to be able to do the job, but it’s going to come down to who’s ready to lead this team.”

Sofran got to work with both Hinshaw and Genrich right from the get-go, putting both through drills where he simulated pressure by throwing beanbags their way.

So while it’s hard to picture anyone other than Mach running the show at Catholic Central, Anderson appears to have the knowledge and support in place to hit the ground running.

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.

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