2016-10-27 / Sports

Lakers to host first playoff game since 2013

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

GLEN LAKE wideouts Jared Jackson (9) and Nick Rice (2) battle for a jump ball during a passing drill Tuesday. GLEN LAKE wideouts Jared Jackson (9) and Nick Rice (2) battle for a jump ball during a passing drill Tuesday. It’s a brisk autumn day on the Glen Lake practice field and the man beneath the bucket hat is all smiles, cracking jokes and making players laugh when given the opportunity.

It wasn’t clear whether the eighth-year coach was trying to create a relaxed atmosphere for his players — or if he was just excited for playoff football.

Regardless, Jerry Angers and his Lakers have much to be excited about.

Glen Lake will be gunning for its first home playoff win since 2013 on Friday when the sixth-ranked Lakers (7-2, 5-1 NMFL) take on Tawas (6-2).

“They’re 6-2 for a reason,” Angers said. “They’re very physical up front on both sides of the ball and have some really good athletes at linebacker and safety as well as their running backs. No. 12 is a really good football player. We’ll have to contain him.”

The Lakers, who closed out the regular season by winning the annual Cherry Bucket game against Suttons Bay via forfeit last week, spent Friday night watching Traverse City St. Francis beat Boyne City 22-0.

The bye week gave Glen Lake players like running back Nick Apsey time to heal up for the playoffs.

Apsey has been a touchdown machine for the Lakers this season, crossing the plane 22 times. He has 10 scores on the ground, nine through the air, one on a punt return, one on a kick return and one on a fumble recovery.

Additionally, he’s rushed for 478 yards on just 47 carries (10.2 average) behind an experienced offensive line.

“It comes down to the trenches,” Angers said. “Our offensive line has done such a great job this year, as well as our defensive line. I talk to them before every game — that’s the group that wins football games for you.”

The play of Brandon Tremble, Zach Gushurst, Tommy Kendall, Ryan Nadlicki and Jake Palmer has been key for an offense that put up 41.8 points per game in the regular season.

Palmer, a tackle, has blocked next to guard Ryan Nadlicki for three seasons.

“As a unit, we’ve grown together,” Palmer said. “Our offensive line is a really close group of guys. We’ve really been able to take that kind of chemistry through this season.”

The Braves have also lit up the scoreboard this season, however, scoring 37 points per game. They closed out the regular season with a 62-0 win over Oscoda in Week 9.

Glen Lake linebacker Duke Angers said trust and gap responsibility will help slow the Tawas ground game.

“They like the outside runs, kind of remind me of Kingsley,” Duke Angers said. “They’re coached very well.”

The same could be said for Glen Lake on the defensive side of the ball.

The Lakers gave up just 12.5 points per game this season.

“We’ve given up some scores on some blown coverages, but that’s part of the game,” Jerry Angers said. “But each week they learn from it and it doesn’t happen a second time. That’s one of the best things about these guys. They learn from their mistakes.”

Despite a second-place finish in league play, the Lakers still have high hopes for a deep playoff push.

And their coach is confident.

“The only team that can beat us is us,” Jerry Angers said.

Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m.

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