LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The third stop on our tour around Mid-Michigan takes us to Haslett where the Vikings have introduced a new motto for the season.
After making back-to-back appearances in the postseason and finishing in the top two of the CAAC Red in the last two years, Haslett knows they have to be ‘All In’ beginning now if they want to find themselves still standing in late November.
“As coaches when we sit down we look at what their goals are and they said these are the things we want to achieve and we try and map our season out that way,” Brad Thomas, Haslett’s Football Coach said. “We let our seniors and our leadership drive the bus and they said all in is what they want from everyone, what they want from all of the coaches and the players so it really fits us.”
“We see what it takes and how hard we work and still come short,” Brody Quinn said. “We have learned a lot of things from the older guys and I think this is the year we just want to put all of our chips in and go all the way for a state title.”
Along with a new motto, the Vikings are introducing a new quarterback for the upcoming season. Erik Lardie has earned the starting job and although this will be the first year on varsity football for the junior, he still brings in some hefty varsity-level experience across two other sports. Not to mention, he measures in at a whopping 6-foot-6 inches, which his teammates are already finding out will be a problem for opponents.
“I will tell you he is hard to take down,” Brayden Stellard said. “I mean at practice it is rough when I have to take him down and thankfully he is the quarterback so that isn’t very often.”
“He is a very smart kid,” Quinn said. “He picks up things very quickly and I think he is going to do great. He makes his reads, he is patient and he is not scared of contact either.”
“He is a good runner and really just a great leader,” Thomas said. “He throws a good ball as well but I think the biggest thing is that he has got command of the offense and respect of his teammates.”
So, what team has beat the Vikings out for the top spot in the conference as of late?
Well, that would be the Mason Bulldogs.
In fact, Gary Houghton and his crew have won the CAAC Red outright in three out of the last four years, and the conference domination doesn’t appear to be ending soon with team returning all but three starters from last year’s squad.
Signal caller Cason Carswell is one of the many returners and you could say the junior QB used his summer wisely.
“Gaining height, putting on weight, and then just working with the team, travel team, 7on7 team, all of the quarterback stuff,” Cason Carswell said. “Specifically footwork and speed I have been working on a lot more and then obviously accuracy comes with it.”
“He has done a lot being more explosive, he has done a lot of film study and we have done a lot with him,” Gary Houghton said. “Even during 7on7 we allowed him to even call some of the plays and he did a great job doing that and reading the defenses. So having that opens up some things for us and gives us some little nuances to the game that we didn’t have before.”
After taking an undefeated season all the way to the state semifinals, the expectations surrounding the Bulldogs are naturally sky high.
“The chemistry was great last year but I think it is even stronger this year because it is almost the whole same team,” Houghton said. “We lost three starters off of the 2022 team and having the same guys back the chemistry is very strong.”
“We do all the outside activities together since about the sixth grade,” Grant Gilchrist said. “We have been together for so long thinking about state championships. It is in our locker room and we put in all the work together that is where our chemistry comes from. We are up on the hill together and we just put in all the work together.”