LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The first week of the 2021 6 Sports Two-A-Days is officially in the books, after stops at Waverly and East Lansing, thus completing the coverage of the CAAC Blue.
The first stop of the day came bright and early Friday morning at the home of the Warriors, who put the running shoes to good use during the team’s first fully-padded practice. Ron Pizzo enters his fourth season in charge, and in year three the Warriors were able to make school history.
The Black and Yellow went 4-4 last season, with one of those wins coming in the playoffs. A 39-7 win over St. Johns in the first round of the playoffs marked the program’s first-ever playoff win.
Waverly brings back 12 starters from last year’s team, but if you ask the team, they’re making sure the past stays in the past.
“Last year was a good time, they enjoyed it, but they’re not going to settle for it,” Pizzo said. “They won’t even let me wear my shirt that says ‘Playoff Win.’ A couple of them said ‘Coach, don’t wear that. That’s old news. We’re going to give you something new this year.'”
Senior slot receiver James Tolbert looks at last year as a milestone, that hasn’t reached its limit, “You set the bar. Now, set the bar higher. The attitude, the work ethic, like coach Pizzo said, keep working and encouraging. That’s pretty much all you can do is keep working.”
The Warriors will be built on their senior leadership and work ethic this season, and their first chance to showcase it will be at home against Lansing Catholic, on Aug. 27.
Over at East Lansing, the Trojans know a thing, or two, about winning in the postseason. Last year, EL won two playoff games before falling in the regional to Muskegon Mona Shores.
Some of the key pieces that graduated from last year’s team feature the state’s top wide receiver Andrel Anthony, who is playing for Jim Harbaugh now at Michigan, lineman Ethan Boyd, who kept his talents close to home at Michigan State, and Connor Long, who will be playing at Kentucky this fall.
Despite those losses, Bill Feraco brings back plenty of fire-power to help East Lansing contend in the Blue. Quarterback and Central Michigan commit Ambrose Wilson returns under center, as well as a number of wide receivers in Mason Woods, Evan Boyd, Evan Sundermann, and Jaden Patterson, to name a few, who all learned first-hand from Anthony last season.
Also back for another year in the Blue and White is senior running back Asher Gregory, who should have plenty of holes to run through this season because the offensive line has a certain skill that you can’t teach.
“They’re big. I like running right behind them,” Gregory said. “Sometimes I just stick myself behind them and the defense can’t see me. So, it’s a good advantage.”
“From a physiological standpoint, I guess that’s correct,” Feraco said jokingly. “We need to get off the ball and play fast and allow our skill people to show their skill.”
“In my opinion, he’s the No. 1 running back in the state,” Long said. “I’ve played with Asher since I’ve been eight, nine, and I’ve just seen everything he’s done from then all the way up until now. He’s a very humble kid.”
East Lansing will open the season against Grand Blanc in the Vehicle City Gridiron Classic at Atwood Stadium in Flint, on Aug. 27.
6 Sports will be at ten more schools starting on Monday, Aug. 16.