TRAVERSE CITY — There’s no question about what team is the clear cut favorite in the Northwest Conference.
The Lakers return a solid nucleus from a team that went 9-2, won the league and advanced to the district finals.
“We don’t want to be one of those teams up one year, down the next,” Lakers coach Jerry Angers said. “We want to carry on that success year to year.”
With a cast that includes quarterback Carter Lee, running back-linebacker Trevor Apsey, tackle Wade Peplinski and receiver-defensive back Thomas Waning, it’s no wonder the Lakers are excited about the upcoming season.
“They’re probably as loaded as they’ve been in a long time,” Suttons Bay coach Joe Trudeau said.
Lee starts his third season at quarterback. He rushed for 416 yards and passed for 359, accounting for eight touchdowns, in the nine-game 2012 regular season.
“He’s the senior,” Angers said. “This is his team. He’s the leader.”
Apsey, a 6-foot, 205-pound senior, was the team’s top rusher a year ago, averaging 11 yards a carry in gaining 672 yards before breaking an ankle in Week 9. The Lakers will utilize him in a number of ways, including a wideout.
Waning, a 6-2, 180-pound senior, gives Lee a nice target on the outside.
Peplinski anchors a line that also includes tight end Logan LaCross, who is best remembered for his tip-in with one second remaining that forced overtime in Glen Lake’s Class C regional basketball championship win over Shelby, the same school that knocked the Lakers out of the football playoffs.
Glen Lake averaged 31 points a game last season.
It’s on defense, though, where the Lakers have earned their reputation. They limited foes to under 12 points a game last fall.
That defense is led by Apsey at middle linebacker.