Really good summary. I do want to add a point to your comment about the JH teams. At ML, every kid plays I believe every game. Both 7th and 8th grade. Maybe not an equal amount, but close enough to not have bunches of kids quit in frustration. There is a lot to be said for that, especially when the coaches usually have enough kids in each grade for 2+ teams. Coming up with multiple personnel sets with that many kids and making sure they know what they are doing says a lot about their effort towards the betterment of the kids and overall program. Wins in JH mean very little, but feeling involved in the program means a ton.
OK. So I didn't add this earlier because my post was so long but since you brought it up I will add it now. Marion Local's 8th grade has a running back who looks like an absolute stud, The kid looks crazy fast. So I watched the first Marion Local 8th grade game and the kid had several touchdowns and long runs where he made the rest of the kids look like they were moving in slow motion.
Then I watched the next Marion Local 8th grade game and the same kid hardly got any offensive snaps at all. He played safety a lot and had a few carries but didn't play offense most of the game. That game ended in with Marion Local losing right at the end of the game. The thing that amazed me about watching that game was at no point did I hear any fans from Marion Local yelling at the coaches to put #xx in the game. The parents just cheered for the team and they cheered for everyone on the team.
That does not happen everywhere. There would be some crazy fans screaming at coaches at a lot of places if a kid as talented as this kid was not playing every snap on offense and the team lost.
After watching that game, I wondered if Marion Local does some type of rotation where kids play mostly offense one game and mostly defense in the next game.