2017-09-07 / Sports

Glads run past Lakers

Next up: Watervliet
By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor


ST. FRANCIS running back Joey Muzlajakovich runs through the Glen Lake defense on Friday in the second half of a 35-9 road victory. The Gladiators rushed for 289 rushing yards in the win, their fifth straight against Glen Lake. ST. FRANCIS running back Joey Muzlajakovich runs through the Glen Lake defense on Friday in the second half of a 35-9 road victory. The Gladiators rushed for 289 rushing yards in the win, their fifth straight against Glen Lake. The scene at Glen Lake on Friday hardly resembled that of a Division 6 program’s home opener. Parking lots, bleacher seats and prime standing areas were at capacity as more than 1,056 of Glen Lake and St. Francis fans gathered to catch a glimpse of game No. 1 on Glen Lake’s new turf.

Glen Lake coach Jerry Angers, the 2016 Division 6 Coach of the Year, was thrilled with the turnout.

“It’s awesome,” Angers said after the game. “We went through a lot of stuff to get the new field right. Our fans are supporting us, and I hope they continue to support us. What a great venue and what a great site. It’s just gorgeous out here — just as long as you don’t look at the scoreboard.”


DROVES OF fans were on hand for Friday night’s affair between Glen Lake and visiting St. Francis. DROVES OF fans were on hand for Friday night’s affair between Glen Lake and visiting St. Francis. A 21-point first quarter, a relentless rushing attack and three interceptions gave the visiting Gladiators all they needed to spoil Glen Lake’s home opener with a 35-9 win, their fifth straight in the head-to-head series.

St. Francis quarterback Danny Passinault, who scored the first-ever touchdown on the turf with a 58-yard run on a fake jet sweep at the 7:58 mark of the first quarter, said St. Francis came in with a chip on its shoulder.

“Our coaches all week were saying we were the underdog, and that’s what the papers were saying,” said Passinault, a junior. “Glen Lake’s a very, very good football team — much respect to them — but we didn’t get much respect.”

Fresh off back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 2015 and 2016, the Gladiators (2-0) wasted little time in proving they still have the upper hand against Glen Lake.

A 1-yard Teddy Pritchard touchdown run at the 3:37 mark and a 67-yard connection from Passinault to Evan McGee up the right sideline with 2.6 seconds left in the opening quarter left little doubt about it early.

The trio of unanswered scores took the Glen Lake crowd out of the game.

“Everything went wrong,” Angers said of the opening stanza. “In a game like this, you don’t have to play perfect but you have to play pretty good. They beat us in all three phases. That was the difference, and that’s on me.”

The Lakers tightened up in the second quarter, however, and ended the first half in emphatic fashion. Nick Apsey slung Passinault down in the end zone for a safety as the half expired, giving Glen Lake its first-ever points on home turf.

St. Francis continued to run downhill in the second half.

Touchdown runs from Joey Muzljakovich and Aaron Simon sandwiched Glen Lake’s first-ever turf touchdown, a 24-yard scamper from quarterback Cade Peterson in the fourth quarter, allowing coach Josh Sellers to send in his second team with about three minutes to play.

The Glads rushed for 289 yards in the win and finished with 381 total yards; Glen Lake had 112 and 237.

“They have a new field and are coming off a state-championship run,” said St. Francis senior linebacker Ryan Lints. “We felt we deserved to be in a state championship, too, and we wanted to prove ourselves.”

Defensively, the Glads did just that by picking off a trio of Peterson passes and limiting big plays from the get-go.

Glen Lake’s longest play from scrimmage was a 28-yard completion from Peterson to Apsey. Lints said the Glads tried to force Peterson into making mistakes with deep throws.

“We knew he was going to be slippery and throw a couple bombs, so we ran some stunts and put a lot of pressure on him,” Lints said.

Penalties were also part of the reason Glen Lake struggled to make and prevent big plays. The Lakers were flagged 12 times for 122 yards while their rivals took six penalties for 41 yards.

Angers said his Lakers will have to clean up the mistakes if they hope to win next week.

“It’s all on me,” he said. “I didn’t have the kids ready to play this game.”

Pickens anything but slim for Watervliet QB


GLEN LAKE safety Joey Fosmore provided one of the few defensive highlights against the Glads on Friday with a first-half interception near the 50-yard line. GLEN LAKE safety Joey Fosmore provided one of the few defensive highlights against the Glads on Friday with a first-half interception near the 50-yard line.Glen Lake will have its hands full when it heads to Watervliet tomorrow.

That’s because the Lakers (1-1) will be up against quarterback Zackery Pickens and a high-powered Panthers offense that has put up 122 points in two games (2-0).

Pickens, a senior, posted impressive stat lines in the team’s 50-7 thumping of Lawton in Week 1 and 72-36 win over Buchanan in Week 2. The 6-foot-0 gunslinger completed 25-of-38 attempts (66 percent) for 641 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception in those victories — while rushing for 285 yards and five touchdowns on just 33 carries (8.6 average).

“If you shut down the pass, he’s going to run,” Glen Lake coach Jerry Angers said, “and if you shut down the run, he’s going to pass.”

The matchup with Watervliet’s spread offense doesn’t exactly come at a great time for the Lakers, who brought back just three starters from last year’s vaunted defense. Glen Lake has already given up 56 points this season — eight more than it did in its first five games a year ago.

Angers said run fits and shortcomings of the coaching staff have been the primary problems through two games.

“There’s some (hesitation),” he said. “Defensively, we’ve got eight new starters, and that means sophomores and juniors have to step up and make big plays. With our schedule, we’re thrown into the fire immediately, but we have to fix that situation and understand some of the concepts and the game of football.

“That’s on us as a coaching staff. We can’t assume. We have to make sure they know exactly what’s going on.”

If the defense struggles, or if the team gives away more than 120 penalty yards for a third straight game, the Lakers will likely lean heavily on senior quarterback Cade Peterson.

Peterson has completed 22-of-37 throws (59 percent) for 287 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in 2017. The 6-foot-5 signal caller has been more effective on the ground through two games, as evidenced by his 285 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 32 attempts (11.2 average).

The Lakers will also look to senior running back and wide receiver Nick Apsey, who has been used more as a pass catcher so far this season. Apsey, who scored 24 offensive touchdowns as a junior, has racked up 164 total yards from scrimmage this fall (58 on the ground and 106 through the air) to go with one receiving touchdown.

The Panthers line up mostly in a 40-front, Angers said.

“They love to blitz,” he said.

Though separated by nearly four hours, Glen Lake and Watervliet have at least one thing in common: Both lost to Jackson Lumen Christi in the playoffs last season. The Titans began their state-title run with a 55-28 pre-district win over the Panthers and ended it with a 26-14 win over Glen Lake at Ford Field in the Division 6 final.

Kickoff tomorrow is set for 7 p.m.

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