MAPLE CITY — Coronavirus quarantine typically doesn’t allow one to be a part of a postgame celebration.
Not with Boyne City.
Down three starters — including its quarterback — Boyne City upset Glen Lake 29-28 in overtime on the road. The Lakers had a game-winning field goal fall short to end regulation and ended the game on a botched fake kick that would have been a two-point conversion for the win.
Glen Lake senior backup quarterback Jon Popp was stopped a yard shy of the endzone on the final play of the game, prompting a theatric Rambler celebration that included its trio of quarantined players via FaceTime.
“It’s just exciting,” an emotional senior offensive lineman Brayton Ager said amid the celebration.
The result ends the Lakers season in the second round of the playoffs after making a trip to last year’s state finals, but also gives the Ramblers a chance to host Grayling — who completed an upset at 5-2 Manistee — in a Division 6 district final with each of the three players it was without Friday night.
Boyne City coach Dave Suttle didn’t even know how to put the game into words.
“Our kids just fought. Holy cow,” Suttle said. “Bobby Hoth is amazing.”
Hoth rushed for 180 yards with four touchdowns in a dominant night for the Ramblers ground game, adding 90 yards on special teams for 270 all-purpose yards. He joined Kaden Jewett and Aaron Bess to combine for 249 rushing yards on 41 attempts.
“Everybody in the place knew he (Hoth) was getting the ball. There were no secrets about it,” Suttle said. “We had a sophomore play some reps at tackle, we had sophomore quarterback step in and play quarterback for us tonight. Our senior stepped up.”
The Ramblers got on the scoreboard first after a first quarter where neither team could finish off a drive. Glen Lake’s Finn Hogan fumbled a completed pass, which was recovered by the Ramblers and run back by Hoth for a 47-yard score.
Popp attempted a pass on the fourth play of the ensuing drive that was intended for sophomore Ethan Stefke and almost intercepted by Jewett, but Stefke bobbled the ball and somehow came down with the completion. Hogan caught another long pass to get to the red zone, and Popp found Brody Allen for the last score of the half.
Boyne City attempted and missed a field goal on their first drive of the second half, then later blocked Popp’s punt after the Lakers’ went three-and-out, returning it to the 3-yard line. The Lakers had a goal-line stand through three plays, but Hoth punched in the go-ahead touchdown.
Stefke continued to make jaw-dropping catches on the next drive.
He brought in a deep pass for 23 yards and caught a pass through double coverage for the Lakers second touchdown to go up 15-14.
Popp kicked the ball off to the 20, but even that wasn’t enough to throw off the Ramblers ground game and special teams. Jewett took the kickoff 60 yards to the Laker 29-yard line, and Hoth ran the ball in for the score two plays later.
Popp came back firing.
He completed long tosses to Hogan, Henry Lerchen and then Jackson Ciolek in the endzone with Ciolek surrounded by the defense. Ciolek grabbed the football over the defenders shoulder and came down with what would be the game-tying touchdown.
Popp finished the game with 338 yards on 25-38 passing. Hogan had nine catches for 102 yards, and Stefke caught nine for 96.
“It’s the cliche saying, ‘Next man up,’” said Glen Lake coach Nate Sneed, who coached Popp when he was a middle school quarterback. “He embodied that better than anyone could ask ... I love that kid to death.”
The Ramblers had an unsuccessful drive that took the game tied into the fourth quarter, then both teams traded three-and-out drives — one where Popp managed a punt past midfield facing 4th and 51 while standing in the Lakers own endzone. Popp’s kick at the end of regulation was tipped by Boyne’s defensive line and fell short.
“Somebody came through the middle and jumped up there and got hand on it,” Hogan said.
Hoth easily scored on the Ramblers first possession of overtime, as did Popp on the quarterback sneak.
Popp attempted a fake kick to finish the game with a 2-point conversion, but the pass wasn’t there. He ran the ball to the right and was stopped short of the goalline.
“We were going to snap it to Jon and Jon was going to pass it back to Brody Allen,” Hogan said. “Brody ended up getting covered, so Jon made a smart decision to run it in and there wasn’t anywhere to go with it.”
Suttle and Hoth credited the offensive line — Riley Ditmar, Noah Vondra and Ager — for creating gaps on double pulls and defensive line for getting the stops when the Ramblers needed them to.
“I have a lot of trust for those big boys up front, I guess that’s all it is, brothership,” Hoth said.
The Ramblers avenge a Week One loss to Glen Lake, one Suttle said he knew at the time there’d likely be a rematch in districts.
“We were all kind of hoping this would happen and it did,” Ager said.
“We told them this week we get our chance to go back,” Suttle said. “We got a surprise on Monday that we had three of our starters had been contact traced, but our kids didn’t care. They wanted this game.”
Friday was the Ramblers’ third win over the Lakers in the last nine meetings, winning their first playoff game against them in the program’s history.
Now Boyne hosts a district final against a league foe it did not play this year. The Ramblers beat the Vikings 43-7 last year.
“That’s amazing,” Hoth said. “This is my first ever playoff run and man, it’s a thrill.”
Boyne’s Sean Little and Glen Lake’s Luke Daniels each came up with interceptions.