2016-11-03 / Sports

Defense delivers as Lakers take down Tawas

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

GLEN LAKE safety Tony Duperon (6) and cornerback Peter Macke (34) take down a Tawas ball carrier in the first quarter of Friday night’s game. GLEN LAKE safety Tony Duperon (6) and cornerback Peter Macke (34) take down a Tawas ball carrier in the first quarter of Friday night’s game. A lively Glen Lake crowd went silent in the second half of Friday’s first-round playoff game after cornerback Josh Sterzer was flattened by a much bigger Tawas ball carrier.

With players on both teams taking a knee, Glen Lake coach Jerry Angers promptly jogged to the far sideline to check on his injured player.

A little comedic relief from the junior jokester put Angers at ease.

“Sterz is laying on his back and goes, ‘That was a pretty good hit, huh?’” Angers recalled with a laugh.

Clearly, Sterzer and the Lakers are no strangers to smash-mouth football — and they proved it on Friday.

Big hits, key stops and timely takeaways helped Glen Lake limit the visiting Braves to 145 yards of total offense and post a 22-0 win, the program’s first playoff victory since 2013.

“We got after it, didn’t we?” Angers said. “The boys just played the game well and worked their tails off. Everybody’s fighting for each other and it’s just fun to see. I can’t express how proud I am to say that I’m coaching this football team.”

The team will need to bring a similar brand of physicality to Roscommon tomorrow as the No. 6 Lakers (8-2) and No. 8 Bucks (9-1) battle in round two of the Division 6 playoffs.

The Bucks, who are scoring 35 points per game this season, handed Houghton Lake a 36-28 loss last week.

“They’re a power team with a good fullback,” Angers said. “The kids block well and run well. They line up, go toe-to-toe and say let’s play football.”

Sterzer and other members of the secondary will have their hands full breaking up quick slants and fade routes to 6-foot- 6 Roscommon receiver Kaleb Keipert while the front seven tries to tackle a bowling ball of a running back, Trey Lewandowski, on toss sweeps out of the power-I.

The Lakers focused on gap responsibility this week after doing a nice job containing Tawas ball carriers on Friday. The Braves rushed for 97 yards on 30 carries (3.2 average).

Glen Lake senior free safety Tony Duperon credited Angers for the shutdown performance.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Duperon said after the game. “Everyone’s bought in. Everyone trusts him and everyone trusts each other.”

Both defenses stood tall early on Friday as windy conditions limited quarterbacks in the first quarter.

Junior tailback Nick Apsey put the Lakers on the board with 6:58 left in the second quarter after slicing his way through Tawas defenders, reversing fields and crossing the goal line for the 23rd time this season. Apsey followed up the 20-yard touchdown scamper by picking off an Owen Irvin pass with 1:08 remaining in the half.

Senior cornerback Peter Macke forced another Tawas turnover at the 9:21 mark of the third quarter, recovering a fumble after a long catch-and-run. Later in the third, Duperon capped a Glen Lake drive by hauling in a 3-yard pass from quarterback Cade Peterson, putting the Lakers up 14-0.

Apsey picked off another Irvin pass with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter before putting the game out of reach by trotting in a 3-yard touchdown run — untouched — with 2:38 remaining.

A high snap over the head of Glen Lake’s punter gave Tawas great field position midway through the fourth quarter, but the Lakers stood tall.

“Our communication has gotten a lot better,” said Glen Lake senior defensive tackle Jake Kalis. “We’re together all the time — during school, after school, during weekends, pretty much every day.”

Senior linebacker Duke Angers anchored the defense with a team-high 10 tackles, including one for loss, while Apsey led the offense with 124 yards on 14 carries (8.6 average).

Peterson added 50 yards on the ground and 67 through the air.

All three Glen Lake leaders will need to be at their best Friday as the Lakers look to keep their season alive.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Jerry Angers said. “We have a spec bus going, which is great. Hopefully we get Leelanau County there supporting us.”

Players on both sides of the ball should be healthy enough to suit up, Angers said, including Sterzer.

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