2016-11-17 / Sports

Defense dazzles as G-L advances

Next up: Pine River
By Bryce Derouin
Of The Daily Mining Gazette

GLEN LAKE’S Cade Peterson (4) and Duke Angers (13) celebrate after Peterson connected with Angers for a 2-point conversion in the second quarter to put Glen Lake ahead of Calumet 14-0 Saturday at Agassiz field. 
Photo: Bryce Derouin/Daily Mining Gazette GLEN LAKE’S Cade Peterson (4) and Duke Angers (13) celebrate after Peterson connected with Angers for a 2-point conversion in the second quarter to put Glen Lake ahead of Calumet 14-0 Saturday at Agassiz field. Photo: Bryce Derouin/Daily Mining Gazette Maple City Glen Lake’s high-flying offense may garner the most attention thanks to its gaudy stats. But it was the other side of the ball for the Lakers that earned the latest glory, all while reinforcing one of the oldest adages in sports: Defense wins championships.

Three times the Calumet Copper Kings drove inside the Glen Lake 20, and three times the stout Lakers defense remained impenetrable, forcing a turnover on downs. Glen Lake held Calumet to just 146 yards and kept the Copper Kings scoreless for the first time this season, as the Lakers earned a 14-0 win for a Division 6 regional championship Saturday at Agassiz Field.

“Our kids were tired of being second-guessed that our team is all about our offense,” Glen Lake head coach Jerry Angers said. “The big thing is we always focus on red zone defense and third downs… We just have an unbelievable defense.”

The Calumet faithful came out in droves and early on, optimism and cheers filled Agassiz Field right from the opening drive. Senior Rory Anderson took an option pitch from senior Russ Bjorn up the left side for a 22-yard gain to the Glen Lake 17 for Calumet’s longest play of the day. But three plays later, facing a fourth-and-3 from the Glen Lake 10, Bjorn’s pass across the middle for junior end Cooper Twardzik fell incomplete for Glen Lake’s first stand of the day.

“Defensively, the key was our D-line. The D-line played probably the best game they had all year,” senior linebacker Duke Angers said. “We’re definitely mentally tough. When something happens to us, we have a good short-term memory, which is key in playoffs.”

After an interception by Glen Lake junior Josh Sterzer and a three-and-out, Calumet (10-2) methodically drove down to the Glen Lake 13 before Bjorn’s fourth-and-7 pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage with just over two minutes remaining in the first half.

The Copper Kings’ final attempt to break its scoring drought came in the fourth quarter. Calumet let everything fly, including a halfback pass from senior David Kaipio to senior Victor Avillaneda for a gain of 21 down to the Glen Lake 38.

“We knew that with the wind in our face, they were probably playing up. Kaipio can wing that ball out quite a ways, so we were just giving it a shot,” Calumet head coach John Croze said about the play.

Bjorn gained 9 on a quarterback sweep to get down to the Glen Lake 6. However, Calumet would gain just 1 yard over the next six plays, concluding with an incomplete pass from Bjorn on fourth-and-goal from the 5.

The Lakers took over with just 2:23 remaining in the game. Glen Lake senior Josh Zientek ran for gains of 4 and 6 to ensure the Lakers could take a few knees before igniting the victory celebration.

“At this level, you have to capitalize on your opportunities, and we just didn’t get that done,” Croze said. “It was just two heavyweights getting after each other. They made some plays in key situations, and we didn’t make the plays.”

Glen Lake junior quarterback Cade Peterson entered Saturday with 3,478 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. But with winds gusting as hard as 25 miles per hour on a sunny day, passing and punting was an arduous task if you were headed towards the south end zone.

So Glen Lake did its work on the ground, gaining 278 yards rushing while averaging 7.13 yards per carry. Peterson, despite completing just 4 of 11 passes for 20 yards, led Glen Lake with 106 yards rushing and one touchdown on 11 carries. Junior Nick Apsey ran for 61 yards and one score on four attempts.

“We showed people we could run the football,” Jerry Angers said. “The key is we have no way you can key us when we’re on offense. We’ll throw the ball, run the ball and we can run inside or outside. It puts a lot of strain on defenses. I’m glad my defense doesn’t have to stop my offense.”

The Lakers excelled in short yardage situations.

On third-and-1 from the Calumet 27, Apsey ran off left tackle before bouncing it outside for a gain of 25. On the next play, Peterson snuck in for the 2-yard score to make it 6-0.

Glen Lake kept it rolling on its next drive facing fourth-and-1. Again, it was Apsey, who sped through the interior of the Calumet defense untouched for a 26-yard touchdown. A 2-point conversion pass from Peterson to Duke Angers put the Lakers ahead 14-0.

“I had good blocking in front of me from my whole line,” Apsey said. “It’s just smash-mouth (football). We’re just gritting our teeth. Our line is physical, our backs are physical and we just outmuscled them.”

Up next, Glen Lake will face Leroy Pine River in the semifinals. Leroy Pine River defeated Ravenna 42-14.

“I know that our seven-and-a-half, eight-hour bus ride is not going to be as long on the way home,” Jerry Angers said of the feeling of winning. “I know that these kids worked so hard to get to this situation.”

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