LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The CAAC Red was a competitive league in 2021 — Mason, Haslett and Williamston tied for first place in the standings.

As a result, conference play wasn’t easy of teams like St. Johns and Lansing Eastern.

The two were the latest stops on the ‘6 Sports Two-A-Days’ tour and both are ready for the upcoming season to begin.

St. Johns enters year four under alum Andy Schmitt and are coming off a pair of two win seasons. In 2020, the Redwings went 2-5, then followed it up with a 2-7 season in 2021.

“Last year was kind of a kick in the face,” senior linebacker Matthew McCastle said. “I think that team deserved a lot better and all these guys want it this year.”

In the offseason, Schmitt didn’t let his players forget about last season’s record and used it as motivation. Which resulted in an increased number of players showing up to offseason workouts.

“We’re not used to losing. Last year, that made us upset,” senior safety and running back Tyler Weber said. “We had a lot of injuries last year. I was injured most of last year. So coach is just like ‘2-7. Just remember 2-7.’ That’s basically stuck in our head.”

Schmitt made it clear that he wants his team to be tougher in the trenches, and one way of making that happen is in the ‘details.’

“We’re going to do the little things better than everybody else,” Schmitt said. “We’re going to be tough and that’s what we’ve been preaching since December. So, it’s just that mentality we’re going to have this year. The guys have bought into it and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in a couple weeks.”

Over at Lansing Eastern, Jordan Morgan enters his fifth year and fourth season (team didn’t play in 2020) as the Quakers head coach.

Last year, Lansing Eastern had its best season in 11 years by going 3-6 and captured its first league win (at St. Johns) since 2014.

“It’s been a long time since we won a certain amount of games. So, being a winning team would be excellent,” senior wide receiver Kyrea McKnight said. “I don’t like to lose. I hate losing at all costs. It’s motivation for us because I know we can do better.”

The last time Lansing Eastern had a winning record was in 1997.

With just eight varsity players returning from last year’s squad, a majority of the skilled position players return for Morgan, including senior quarterback Santiago Trainor, who will be key to ending the Quakers’ losing season streak.

“He had a big offseason after playing in the varsity quarterback role as a junior,” Morgan said. “He did some 7-on-7 stuff (in the summer) and really kind of upped his confidence. You can tell his leadership ability is a lot more vocal this year.”