BY DENNIS CHASE firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — MAPLE CITY — Now it’s Glen Lake’s turn.
The Lakers earned a chance to play three-time defending Division 6 state champion Ithaca by beating Lakeview 21-13 Friday in a rainy playoff opener here.
Glen Lake will take a 9-1 record into the contest. Ithaca is 10-0 and has won 52 games in a row.
“We’ve always talked about, ‘Ithaca this, Ithaca that,’” Glen Lake quarterback/safety Carter Lee said. “Coach always gets fired up (talking about the Yellowjackets). Ithaca — that’s our goal. I’m glad it’s actually happening.”
So is Lakers coach Jerry Angers.
“You win 52 straight games you’re a pretty good football team,” Angers said. “(Coach Terry Hessbrook) does a great job. He’s got it rolling. I’ve been talking for three years to these kids, telling them that we’re going to be the team to beat Ithaca. You have to beat Ithaca to get to the state finals, whether it’s in the district finals, the regional finals or the semifinals. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”
Glen Lake set up the showdown by taking care of business with Lakeview.
It was a game in which turnovers proved critical. Glen Lake lost three fumbles — all in the first half — while the Wildcats let four fumbles slip away on the wet, sloppy turf. Three of the turnovers led to touchdowns. The last fumble, recovered by Glen Lake’s Joe Jacklin at the Lakeview 21 with 3:35 to go, led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Trevor Apsey that enabled the Lakers to gain some breathing room, stretching a 14-13 lead to 21-13.
“These kids continue to do what they need to do to win,” Angers said. “We had some turnovers early in the game, a couple penalties late in the game, but our kids continued to fight and figure out how they were going to win. That’s the one thing about them — they’re relentless.”
Turnovers led to both touchdowns in the first quarter. Glen Lake fumbled a punt at its 10, setting up a 1-yard scoring run by the Wildcats’ John Zuluaga-Torres.
Lee later recovered a Lakeview fumble at the Wildcats 34. One play later, Apsey went the distance to pull the Lakers within a point, 7-6.
The Lakers took the lead for good with 3:38 left in the first half on Lee’s 13-yard keeper. Lee had called an audible on the play, opting for a read option, and it worked to perfection. His two-point pass to Duke Angers made it 14-7. That drive covered 46 yards after the Lakers stopped Lakeview on downs.
The Wildcats took the ensuing kick and marched 65 yards with quarterback Nate Shurlow scoring from four yards out just before half.
There was no scoring in the third quarter, although Lakeview had an impressive drive, aided by a Glen Lake penalty, moving the ball from its 2 to the Lakers 16 when Apsey jumped on a fumble forced by a Logan LaCross sack.
Another Wildcat fumble in the fourth quarter led to Apsey’s second score.
“They have some great athletes and they were able to execute when they needed to execute,” Lakeview coach Sean Rinehart said. “They took advantage of turnovers. They had great field position and when they had the chances they took advantage of it. We had the same opportunities, but we weren’t able to do it.
“I talked to the kids all week that playoff football is all about turnovers and being able to rise above the lows. They (Lakers) were able to do it. Hat’s off to them.”
Lakeview finished 7-3.
“These guys have never played in the playoffs before,” Rinehart said of his players. “It’s something new to them. Glen Lake has a great football program. They’re building something special here. You could tell those kids knew how to rise above those things (turnovers).”
The Lakers had Lee back at quarterback. He injured the MCL in his right knee three weeks ago, but said he’s “100 percent” now.
“Carter gives you that moxie at quarterback,” Angers said. “He makes plays.”
The Lakers finished with 175 yards rushing — Apsey had 123 — and 60 yards passing. Lakeview had 251 yards on the ground and minus-3 passing.
Glen Lake lost linebacker/running back Travis Wiltjer to an ankle injury in the game’s final seconds.