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Elk Rapids had life, some extra pep in its step and optimism. Twelve minutes later, it was gone. The Elks scored first with an impressive six-play drive to open the game against Traverse City St. Francis in Saturday afternoon's Division 6 pre-district playoff game at Thirlby Field. Then the Gladiators turned the tide, pulling away for a 56-17 victory.

Glen Lake didn't make it easy on itself. The Lakers faced a myriad of factors Friday in an important Northern Michigan Football League contest against Elk Rapids. The Elks, coming in at 4-1, not only had momentum and home-field advantage, but were playing their homecoming game. The Lakers, scuffling along at 2-3 and on the verge of playoff elimination, had leading receiver Drew Peterson on the sidelines in street clothes. All that changed quickly.