2016-11-24 / Sports

Lakers run past Pine River, head to Ford Field

Division 6 final against Jackson Lumen Christi slated for Friday at 4:30 p.m.
By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

GLEN LAKE players Duke Angers (13) and Cade Peterson (4) meet up in the end zone following Peterson’s 5-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter. GLEN LAKE players Duke Angers (13) and Cade Peterson (4) meet up in the end zone following Peterson’s 5-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter. Cade Peterson rolled left, looked downfield and saw nothing but snow and white jerseys. Instead of tossing the ball out of bounds, Peterson took a chance. He ran backward, reversed fields — and picked up first down yardage.

For the second straight week, inclement weather forced the junior signal caller to lead Glen Lake’s offense with his legs rather than his arm. And for the second straight week, he did just that.

Long strides, patience and great blocks allowed Peterson to rush for a season-high 179 yards and three touchdowns at Thirlby Field on Saturday as the Lakers rolled past Pine River 34-20 and punched the peninsula’s first-ever ticket to a state final at Ford Field.

“We just adapted to the conditions,” Peterson said after a post-game celebration full of snow angels. “We didn’t know really how it was going to be, but our running game was really working.”

In a game featuring four completions and 50 passing yards, Glen Lake’s ground game had to be good. And it was.

The Lakers lined up in three- and four-receiver sets, lured defenders out of the box and leaned on the run-blocking prowess of a veteran offensive line and senior fullback Duke Angers.

There was no shortage of love for Glen Lake’s big fellas after the game.

“They love this stuff,” coach Jerry Angers said. “Jake Kalis at the beginning — we were handing out foot warmers — and he goes, ‘Give ‘em to the skinny guys ‘cause us big boys don’t need ‘em.’ And you just saw what they just did, from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side of the ball.

“Our quarterback’s running, our running back’s running — we caught a couple passes that we needed to — but we strapped it up and played basically old-school football, and that’s two weeks in a row.”

Duke Angers, Peterson and Nick Apsey all found the promised land in the first half, giving Glen Lake a 20-12 lead, before Peterson put the game out of reach with two second-half scores.

The smashmouth approach helped keep Pine River’s high- powered offense off the field in the second half.

“I think their offensive line was really a difference maker — and No. 13 (Duke Angers) behind them was a battering ram,” Pine River coach Terry Martin said. “That’s kind of what took the game from us.”

When the final whistle blew, Glen Lake ball carriers had dashed through the snow 62 times for 309 yards.

Mason Powell and the Bucks, meanwhile, found the end zone on their first two possessions of the game — but saw a different defense in the third and fourth quarters.

Among many Glen Lake playmakers was senior defensive end Wes Peplinski, who set the tone on Pine River’s first play from scrimmage in the second half. Peplinski blew up a play in the backfield for a 6-yard loss, setting up a third-and-long heave from Powell. Wind gusts nearly stopped the high-arching pass in mid-air, dropping the ball directly into the arms of junior defensive back Josh Sterzer. The interception was his third in as many games.

Then, with Glen Lake leading 28-12 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, Peplinski blocked a Pine River punt, giving Glen Lake possession on the Bucks’ 12-yard line. Peterson punched it in shortly thereafter, giving Glen Lake a 22-point lead.

Powell answered with a 20-yard touchdown run at the 9:07 mark of the fourth, but the damage was done. The Glen Lake party started when Pine River turned the ball over on downs with 1:01 left on the clock.

“We weren’t wishing to be here, we worked to be here,” said Jerry Angers, who guided the defense from the sidelines in a pair of khaki shorts. “And they deserve what they just got, and that’s going to the final at Ford Field.”

The Lakers (11-2) will play perennial power Jackson Lumen Christi (11-2) in Friday’s Division 6 final at 4:30 p.m.

Win or lose, the dream of playing at Ford Field, which dates back to peewee football for seniors like defensive end Tony Duperon, has become a reality.

“Despite everything this team’s been through, we just keep pushing,” Duperon said. “When everyone’s doubting us, we just keep pushing. I’m at a loss for words. It’s incredible.”

Longtime teammate Duke Angers echoed a similar sentiment.

“It’s just incredible,” said the middle linebacker, one of two Lakers with a team-high eight tackles. “It’s a dream of all of ours. Just to finally get the opportunity to play at Ford Field is incredible. All the adversity that we’ve gone through in the past helped us through this. We’re a tight group and we can get through anything.”

Duke Angers’ dad, Jerry Angers, was one of many proud parents celebrating on the field after the game.

The eighth-year coach was asked what it’s been like to see his son lead Glen Lake to the state championship game in his senior season.

“Unbelievable to do this with him and with everything I’ve gone through with him as a coach and … those kids I’ve known since they were little,” Jerry Angers said. “That is my boy.

“And he’s a hell of a football player and a hell of a leader.”

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