LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The fourth day of our 6 Sports Two-A-Days coverage, much like the third day, features a pair of teams from the CAAC Blue – in Holt and Lansing Everett.
Coming off a 4-4 season, Holt brings back a team that features speed, chemistry, and ten players on the defense that return from last year.
One of those returning players includes 6’5 senior defensive end Malachi Davis, who is committed to Syracuse, and made the transition to DE last season. Also leading the defense will be senior middle linebacker Fletcher Smith, who received the most captain votes this season.
Chad Fulk is preparing for his seventh season in charge of the Rams’ program and said this year’s defense could be the best Holt has ever seen. On top of the talent on the field, Fulk feels this is one of the best well-connected teams he’s been a part of.
“With no COVID, we can get back to our weekly team dinners and going out to eat after practice,” Davis said. “I definitely think that’s going to build the chemistry for sure.”
“You just like being around them. We invite them over to the house, play Madden, have hot dogs, and you always don’t want them to leave. My kids are all crying when they all leave because they love this group so much.”
“Last year, especially being with COVID, we all had to be together every single day and we couldn’t really go anywhere else because of football,” Smith said. “It really has helped us bond and get close, and being bonded and more close is helping us thrive on the field.”
To give you a better feel for the type of fun the Rams expect to have this season, Smith decided to do something he’s always wanted to do, even if his parents disagree, and that’s growing out a mullet for his senior season.
Holt and Smith’s mullet will open the season at home against Caledonia, on Aug. 26.
As for Lansing Everett, Jaleel Canty and Company are gearing up for its first official game since the 2019 season. Due to the pandemic, the Lansing School District canceled all fall sports in 2020, thus taking away the Vikings’ chance to play last season.
The lost season means players lost an opportunity to put a highlight tape together to send out to college football programs. But for Canty, who played college football at Eastern Michigan and Ferris State, he’s making sure his guys get the exposure he got when he played at Everett. Especially for guys like senior lineman Juleyn Rogers, who stands around 6’5 and 300 lbs.
“Just reaching out to various people and getting their film together, making sure they’re all on course to graduate, and things of that nature,” Canty said. “I’m just doing what I can, using my resources to people I know, trying to get our guys exposed. A lot of our guys went to camps this summer and did a lot of good things.”
“Ever since coach has been our head coach, we’ve been getting a lot of new opportunities with 7-on-7s and college scouts,” Everett senior running back and linebacker, Jaquai Carter said. “It’s been really good having him here with us.”
The past 12 months haven’t been easy for the Everett football program. On top of having no season last year, the Vikings are morning the loss of two players, Marshawn Beard and Damon Johnson, who died this summer and would have been seniors this season.
“All our guys really love the kids that passed away, as well as the coaches,” Carter said. “It’s something they think about every day. It’s something they hold in their hearts and in their spirits, and I think they’ll continue to be with us.”
“I was really close with them and now we just got to play for them. That’s what I plan on doing,” Carter said. “Before we go to kickoff, I go into the endzone and pray for my deceased family members and, of course, my teammates. So that will help me focus in the game.”
Everett will open the season on the road against Lansing Sexton, on Aug. 27.