Glen Lake Plays for Weekends Like This

November 15, 2019

By Chris Dobrowolski
Special for Second Half

There’s nothing that could spoil Jerry Angers’ mood right now.

When you love coaching football as much as Maple City Glen Lake’s varsity leader, being able to continue preparing your team deep into the playoffs trumps any tough situations that might come along.

That’s why an early-season snowstorm that hammered Leelanau County and shut down a number of schools in the area hardly registered as problematic for Angers, who is guiding his Lakers into a Division 6 Regional championship game against Calumet on Saturday — a clash of 10-1 squads aiming to advance to the Semifinal round.

“It’s totally awesome,” said Angers, in his 11th year in charge of the Lakers. “We’re getting pounded with snow up here, and we’ve got guys plowing our field off. We practiced in the gym today because it was snowing so bad. We were told we had to go home early. I wouldn’t trade that adversity for anything.”

This will be the second time in the last four years Glen Lake has ventured to the Upper Peninsula to face the Copper Kings. In 2016 the two teams met in the same round of the postseason, with the Lakers pulling out a 14-0 win on the way to reaching the Division 6 Final against Jackson Lumen Christi, which won the title with a 26-14 victory. Nearly all of the 16 seniors on Glen Lake’s roster were freshmen on the 2016 team and have the experience of an eight-hour bus trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula under their belts.

“That’s a really cool similarity because those kids have experienced this trip,” said Angers. “They weren’t playing, but they experienced what it took to get there.”

Angers makes the experience more than just playing the game. Getting in a practice on the way to Calumet, the team meals, the hotel stay — each aspect becomes part of the joy of the journey.

“It’s fun getting on the bus and basically spending two days with the kids and experience all the different things,” said Angers. “It’s like college football life on the high school level.”

There’s little doubt this is a business trip for the Lakers, though.

“When we got into film session on Sunday, Coach just told us it’s college football 101,” said senior running back/linebacker Johnathan Wright. “Long bus ride. We’ve got to stay focused.

“(They are) definitely a typical U.P. power team. They want to run downhill and run the clock out and just keep smashing you in the mouth.”

Angers admits to being superstitious enough that he’s trying to mimic as much of the trip this time to the one in 2016 in hopes that it can lead to a similar outcome. Just maybe not an exact mirror, however.

Right as the Lakers were getting ready to head from the hotel to the field in that Regional contest in 2016, they realized they had been locked out of their bus. Without panicking, players had to file into parents’ vehicles to transport them to the game in time. The Lakers managed to overcome that moment of turmoil by winning the game.

“So, if that’s what goes wrong and you still get to play a game? I was laughing about it,” said Angers. “How many other people are playing football right now?”

The seeds for this season were sown during an up-and-down 5-5 campaign a year ago that included a first-round playoff loss to Beaverton. The senior class — which showed its potential when it got significant playing time and performed well in a postseason victory against Roscommon as freshmen — wanted to leave its own legacy with a deep playoff run like the one the Lakers experienced three years ago.

“That was a huge motivation,” said senior lineman Ben Kroll. “We hated how we exited last year. We did not like the way we played. We do a boot camp every summer before the season starts. It was definitely the best boot camp I’ve been to, how close we all were and how we get along. We’ll fight for each other every day.”

Glen Lake has good athletes at the skill positions. Wright is in his second year starting on offense — he’s also been a three-year starter at linebacker — and is the leading rusher. Quarterback Reece Hazelton, at 6-foot-7, has a greater stature than a typical high school quarterback, though his best sport is basketball. He signed his letter of intent Wednesday to play hoops for Ferris State. His favorite target is junior receiver Finn Hogan.

The line, a position group near and dear to Angers’ heart, is the heartbeat of the team, with seniors Garrett Tremble, Dylan Kilinski, River Dallas and Kroll, and junior tackle Sam Keys.

“Without them nothing would happen,” said Wright.

Angers makes sure everyone on the roster knows they have key roles, whether it’s starting on offense, defense or special teams. Guys who make up the scout team are held in high value. Angers can go down the line and name off kids on his team and big plays they’ve been able to make at some point this season.

“There’s 31 kids I can turn to at any time, and I feel very comfortable and confident that they’re going to go in and get the job done,” said Angers. “Next man up. You’re one play away from being a starter. I think these kids also understand that.”

The Lakers have gone through a brutal schedule nearly unscathed. Five of the nine teams on the schedule qualified for the playoffs, and four of those teams won at least one postseason game. The schedule is specifically created that way for Glen Lake to be properly prepared to handle tough teams during the playoffs.

The one slip up came in the seventh week when Kingsley — which remains undefeated and is playing for a Regional crown in Division 5 — handed the Lakers a 53-14 loss. Angers shoulders the blame, saying he didn’t have the Lakers ready for a game of that magnitude and Glen Lake was uncharacteristically sloppy.

“That was a real wake-up call, and I think that was really good for our team because now in these playoff runs we know we can’t take any days off, any moments off,” said Kroll.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to win the Division 6 championship at Ford Field. Two more wins and Glen Lake will be back in the position it was in three years ago, playing in Detroit with a title on the line. Glen Lake’s last football championship came in 1994 when the Lakers won the Class DD crown with a 20-10 victory against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.

“There’s nothing like it,” said Wright. “All the lights are on you. You’re at the center of a huge dome, and it feels amazing. I just want to get back to that.”

The memory of being in Detroit for Thanksgiving weekend is still fresh in Angers’ mind — arriving at the stadium and feeling the electricity in the air as an earlier game unfolded.

“One of the coolest experiences was when we were all walking in from the bus into the tunnel and there was a big play made in the game before us,” said Angers. “The crowd just erupted, and it just ran down that tunnel. My kids, they were just starry eyed and they looked at me and I went, ‘You’re in the big time boys.’”

And nothing could be better than that.

Chris Dobrowolski has covered northern Lower Peninsula sports since 1999 at the Ogemaw County Herald, Alpena News, Traverse City Record-Eagle and currently as sports editor at the Antrim Kalkaska Review since 2016. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTO: Maple City Glen Lake quarterback Reece Hazelton breaks free from Lake City defenders during a 30-19 Pre-District win. (Photo courtesy of the Traverse City Record-Eagle.)

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.