LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Haslett and Williamston have a lot of similarities entering the 2022 football season. Both sat atop the CAAC Red in 2021. Both return their starting quarterback and starting running back.

And the two are the latest stops on the ‘6 Sports Two-A-Days’ train.

Haslett enters year two under Brad Thomas after going 8-3 and having its best season since 2018. Sophomore running back Nakai Amachree was the focal point for the Vikings on offense and is also expected to take on a bigger role on defense as a defensive back. He returns for his junior year with a familiar face besides him.

His younger brother, Kory, joins the varsity team as a freshman and just last week the ‘6 Sports’ team saw both of them at Planet Fitness after their two-a-days workouts were completed.

“Me and my brother always like to get some extra work in because we believe extra work will take us further than everyone else,” Nakai said. “After all of our two-a-days, we always either hit our backyard for a field workout or go to Planet Fitness and get some weights in.”

“They have high goals for themselves,” Thomas said. “They have some high goals that we’ve discussed of where they want to be. Not only this season but beyond. A couple years from now, for one of them (Kory) and two years for the other one (Nakai), they’d like to be playing after high school. They have high goals for themselves and they know what it takes.”

Senior Isaac Pavona is back behind center for Haslett after an All-League quarterback performance in 2021.

“That’s huge for us to have that leadership back,” Thomas said. “It’s been nice having those two (Nakai and Pavona) back there, who really know what’s going on and are able to help out and say ‘this is what it should look like.'”

As for Williamston, Steve Kersten enters his 22nd year leading the Hornets and also has his starting quarterback back.

Senior Alex Petersburg helped the Hornets to a 6-4 record last season, including a 4-1 record in league play.

Petersburg returns with skilled players such as junior running back Noah Dunckel and senior wide receiver Joey Mahaney. The Hornets are a quite group, but very intelligent.

However, that doesn’t exactly make Kersten’s job easier.

“I think it’s making it harder,” Kersten said. “As coaches, we have to go the next day and say ‘How do we take it to the next level?’ They know the basics from day one, all summer long. So, now we can teach Intricacies that we’d teach in a game week.”

“Our drills have seemed a little more advanced,” Mahaney said. “They’re not as broken down. We have a new coach for weight training, and he’s our running backs and linebackers coach. He’s helping a lot.”

The Williamston community saw a lot of success from the Hornets last school year. The boys basketball team and girls soccer team each captured MHSAA state titles.

Having seen their classmates enjoy that kind of success has motivated the football squad to do the same thing.

“It just shows that at Williamston we have what it takes to be state champions, and if we put in the work that’ll be us,” Dunckel said. “Seeming them so excited after winning, it builds that energy in you to really want to be in that position.”

Kersten said,” Hey, our community expects victories, they expect champions, and we love it. Let’s set the standard up there. Let’s go.”