CALUMET — The slimmest of margins can make the largest of differences in the playoffs.
On Saturday, tied at halftime, Jerry Angers knew a slim margin was all his team needed.
Glen Lake edged Calumet 15-14 in a MHSAA Division 6 state quarterfinal on Saturday at Calumet.
During halftime and tied 8-8, Angers gave a simple talk to the team.
“I told the kids after halftime, I said we’re gonna go down and score, we’re gonna kick the extra point and we’re gonna beat ‘em 15-14 just like Iron Mountain did,” Angers said of the Mountaineers’ win at Agassiz Field on Sept. 7. “That’s one of those things you do and again, our kids, they stepped up to the table and won the line of scrimmage and came down and hit people.”
The Lakers (11-1) play Montague (10-2) in the state semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday in Clare.
Glen Lake junior receiver Finn Hogan caught a 54-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-10 with 9:51 remaining in the third quarter to tie the game. A Brady McDonough extra point put the Lakers in front.
Glen Lake thwarted Calumet in a back-and-forth fourth quarter in which Calumet turned the ball over on downs twice after failed fourth-down attempts. The Copper Kings also coughed up an interception by Hogan with two minutes left in the game.
“This game comes down to a handful of plays and it seemed like every time there was a play that’d determine it, they won those plays,” Calumet head coach John Croze said. “That’s why they won.”
Calumet had taken a couple timeouts during Glen Lake’s possession before Calumet threw the interception. Angers challenged the 13 seniors on his team to take charge.
“The funny thing is I talked to one of the seniors during one of the timeouts and said you guys are seniors,” Angers said. “Do you want the season to end, or do we wanna meet on Sunday and watch film and get yelled at? They chose to watch film on Sunday and get yelled at. I’m just so proud of my seniors, especially my senior D-linemen that have been with me. I’ve got three or four of them that started for me as a sophomore and they went in and just made some huge plays.”
The Lakers took possession after the interception, secured a first down and kneeled to run out the clock.
The loss was a heartbreaking close for Calumet’s season. Saturday was the Copper Kings’ second loss of the year. They lost both games by a combined two points. Calumet lost to Glen Lake 14-0 in a 2016 state quarterfinal.
“Great job by our kids giving us a chance to win a tough game,” Croze said. “That’s an outstanding team across from us. They’ve got great size, great athletes in their backfield and they’re well coached. I wish them luck as they move forward. I think they’re gonna be a tough out.”
The Lakers broke the scoreless tie with 9:48 in the second quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Wright. He broke down at the line and bounced outside along the left side for the score.
Calumet (10-2) answered eight minutes later when Dean Loukus caught a 34-yard pass from Scott Loukus on a first-and-10. Dean Loukus caught the pass along the right sideline and won a foot race for the pylon with a defender around his waist.
Calumet forced a three-and-out for the Lakers to start the second half and started at Glen Lake’s 26. The Copper Kings’ only fourth-down conversion came when Dryden Nelson scored on a 6-yard run on fourth-and-1 with 7:37 in the third quarter. His two-point conversion attempt failed by a yard.
The Lakers’ winning drive came on their ensuing possession.
Hazelton completed 8 of 10 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Hogan caught five passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Wright led the Lakers’ rushing attack with 38 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Hazelton ran 19 yards on eight attempts.
Glen Lake had 240 yards of offense, including 101 rushing and 139 passing.
Calumet had 219 yards of total offense, including 149 rushing and 70 passing.
Glen Lake was 6 of 12 on third downs and 0 for 3 on fourth downs.
Calumet was held to 1 of 6 on fourth-down conversions. The Copper Kings were also 3 of 12 on third downs.
Croze said his linemen performed well despite being outsized.
“We did a great job. We were giving away so much size up front,” he said. “Our guys did a great job handling the pressure. We had a chance to win it in the end and just didn’t make a couple of the key plays that were required for that win.”
Glen Lake seemed loose throughout the day, as though the seven-hour trip to the Copper Country had no lasting effect. Angers wore khaki shorts in 35-degree weather Saturday, with 14 mph winds.
“We drove in (Friday). We practiced at the Superior Dome. We got here, did walkthroughs,” Angers said. “We went on this trip in ‘16 so that really helped us. Those seniors have been there. We stayed focused on the bus and off the bus this morning. I told them this is the reason I’m doing it — you’re gonna be loose and ready to go.”