LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The tenth and final day of our 6 Sports Two-A-Days coverage is already upon us and after 18 stops around town, it’s time for the final two stops before the season gets started.

We visited two Jackson area schools, Jackson and Jackson Northwest, where both programs are starting a new year with a new head coach.

Starting with Jackson High School, Antonio Paker is a Jackson grad and after serving as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator for the past five seasons he takes over for Scott Farley.

He has a ton of experience returning on his roster with close to 19 starters coming back from last year’s squad and they can tell the difference in Parker’s approach to coaching.

“The first goal when I took over was to get the kids to buy into what I was selling, you know, and that’s to be better young people, you know not to be good football players but to be great young people first,” said Coach Parker.

“Our practices have been a lot more funner like we get to know each other now,” said Jackson senior running back/wide receiver Tavion Tanner. “It’s not just we sit in the corner dark space. You know we all talk to each other, listen to music, goof around, get pumped up for practice.”

So far this season the Vikings have gotten adjusted to the difference in Coach Parker’s approach to making practices more upbeat.

“The intensity has gone up a lot and he’s holding everybody accountable and it either made a lot of people quit or a lot of people stay,” said senior quarterback Gibson Drummond.

“I feel like coach Parker was fit for the job right off the get-go. When we found out that he accepted to be the coach and he a pretty chill dude,” said Tanner.

“The seniors have made me feel great, you know they’ve really bought into what I’m saying and I really have trust in them to hold each other accountable and so the pillars of our program are faith, accountability loyalty, and love, and ultimately those seniors have bought into that,” said Coach Parker.

Jackson opens the season at Monroe High School (Bunkleman Field) on August 25 at 7 p.m.

Over at Jackson Northwest, the Mounties have adjusted really well to their new head coach also in his first year, Stafford Newsome.

After coaching at Napoleon High School for three years Newsome took last year off because he and his wife had twins, babies number four and five. The proud dad is excited for his football children to start a brand new season and his positive energy is part of what’s made things feel different for the Mounties going into the 2022 campaign.

“I think the biggest change is the kids feel valued they really do, I mean everybody wants to be in a relationship where you’re wanted by your spouse and our kids feel the same way,” said Coach Newsome.

“With Newsome’s positive attitude it just makes football fun there’s no ‘why are we here, why are we at practice, why are we playing them’ it’s ‘yeah we have a chance…no we’re gonna go play some football,'” said senior offensive/defensive lineman Easton Craig. “We’re changing the culture and it makes me excited you can tell cause I’m smiling a little bit.”

“There’s just been a big culture change around the program, I think that’s just been good for me and a lot of the guys around just make our senior year a good one,” said senior quarterback J.R. Murrow.

Being a former offensive lineman, Coach Newsome is excited to implement his offense which as you might have guessed is focused on dominating in the trenches.

“Our guys like the saying we’re gonna move bodies and they’re all about it and you know when your linemen start buying in to being linemen and they get loved up by their quarterbacks and receivers and running backs it’s really easy to do that role at that point,” said Coach Newsome.

“You know you walk around bigger cause you’re like yeah I’m a lineman for the Team now I’m one of the main guys I’m gonna move people our offense is gonna work,” said Craig.

“I think changing the way our offense is gonna work this year I think it’s really gonna help us move the ball more and put more points on the board than we did in the past we’re gonna be tough and we’re just gonna shove it down your guys’ throats,” said Murrow.

The Mountains open the season on the road against Eaton Rapids on Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m.