LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Within the Lansing Catholic football program, there’s a saying that gets past on year after year.
“Tradition never graduates,” Lansing Catholic senior offensive and defensive lineman, Bo Poljan said.
That motto started under former coach Jim Ahern and has continued with first-year coach Jim Baker. This past Saturday, the Cougars defeated Millington, 28-8, to claim their third straight district title.
“It’s an expectation, but it doesn’t mean it’s given to you,” Baker said. “We really preach the idea that it’s expected to be here, but it’s also expected to do hard work.
Senior quarterback and son of Baker, Joey Baker said, “We come in every day like it could be our last because you never know. Next week’s not guaranteed so we have to play our hearts out.”
When it comes to this 2021 team, there is no lack of playoff experience among the upperclassmen. A handful of seniors on the team were on the Lansing Catholic team that won a state championship in 2019 and were around last season when the Cougars reached the state semifinals. If you mix that experience with the team chemistry, it’s no wonder Lansing Catholic continues to see another week in November.
“It’s helped the seniors because the seniors know what we need to do to win and we know what success in the postseason looks like,” Poljan said.
“Those guys having that experience, it helps when the game happens and they don’t try to make the moment too big,” Jim Baker said.
Baker has made sure his team doesn’t make the moment too big by connecting with his players both on and off the field.
“He talks to everybody like their his own, and we’re really fortunate to have him in the locker room,” Joey Baker said.
Poljan said, “He always has people over for burgers and to go over there and swim in the summer. So, we’re pretty tight with coach.”
Lansing Catholic will host Montague in the Division 6 regional finals, on Saturday at 1 p.m.