Performance: Bay Reps' Jake Stevenson

February 15, 2019

Jake Stevenson
Traverse City St. Francis senior – Hockey

Stevenson had three goals including two straight during the third period to send Saturday’s game against Petoskey to overtime, as his Traverse City Bay Reps co-op team went on to win 5-4 and clinch the Northern Michigan Hockey League championship. Stevenson, in his fourth season in the program, is the team’s leading scorer and has scored five goals over his last three games in earning the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

The Bay Reps are made up of players from Stevenson’s St. Francis High School as well as Bear Lake, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska and Kingsley. They’ve won nine of their last 10 games to move to 17-5 and earn the No. 11 ranking in Division 1. The hat trick was Stevenson’s second this season, and after Thursday’s win over Manistee he has 22 goals and 20 assists in 22 games this winter. Petoskey led Saturday’s game 2-0 before Stevenson scored his first goal, and he added his second on a power play and his third from just outside the circle.

Stevenson is playing this season for his third high school head coach; his dad Mark was the coach Jake’s freshman year, followed by Ryan Fedorinchik the last two and now former assistant – and NHL defenseman – Mike Matteucci. Jake Stevenson also played soccer at St. Francis and golf earlier in high school, and he’s hoping to continue playing hockey at the junior level and then collegiately after graduating this spring. He carries a 3.0 GPA and eventually would like to study drone piloting.

Coach Mike Matteucci said: “This will be Jake's fourth year playing high school hockey, and each year his game has improved. Jake has always wanted to move on to the next level after high school, so the last couple of years he has really taken ownership in his game. As a coach, it is a pleasure to come to the rink every day and have players like Jake who are coachable and who make others around them better. This year more than others, Jake has embraced the ‘team’ game, which as increased our statistical output as well as helped us win more games. What separates Jake from others is his tenacity. He is a very competitive person who is hard to play against. He is definitely an impact player on our team!”

Performance Point: “It's senior year and you don't want to go down without a fight. All the boys started the pick it up in the third period, and we all brought it together,” Stevenson said of his team’s comeback against Petoskey. “We just weren’t connecting our passes. Everyone was getting too nervous with the puck, not really calm. We weren't really playing our game. I think just being one of the leaders on the team, you need to show that even when we're down, it’s no excuse to stop playing. Someone had to step up and take control a little bit.”

Together as a team: “It's fun just knowing there's all these guys (from Bay Reps’ schools) out there, and being able to play with them and meet them and become new friends. I think when we're at the rink we make the most of it, every time we're there from the second we walk in to the second we leave. Usually no one just leaves right after practice – we kinda hang out for a little bit and talk, and catch up and mess around see how everyone's day is going. We hang out every now and then in the summer times. We do some summer hockey together. ... We try to stay close.”

Valuable input: “We've brought in Mike Matteucci as our head coach and Kyle Jean, Mikey Wittersheim and of course Coach (Eric) Videan. I think all the coaching staff has helped a lot, helped bring everyone together. They've taken different looks at kids and helping them out. Coach Jean has helped me out tremendously on offense, just helping me realize when to shoot the puck, when to make the pass, how to make the plays. Coach Matteucci has been helping me a lot in the defensive zone, and so has Coach Videan. And Mikey's our goalie coach, and he's been helping me out with tips on where to shoot.”

Dad knows: “It was great having him as a coach because he played in the high-level juniors and he knows a lot about the game, and he’s coached a lot of kids so that helped a lot. Every now and then he still gives me advice from what he sees and tries to help me out still.”

Game on: “Everybody in my family has played hockey, even my mom did; she played on a girls club team when she was younger. (I have) three sisters and three brothers … I'm the second youngest. We used to build a rink in our back yard, and so we'd all go out there and play, and we got a little competitive because obviously we all want to be the best from the family. But it's fun. I'd say I'm the best, but ... my brother thinks he is. I don't know about that.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard recognizes a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Past 2018-19 honorees

February 7: Molly Davis, Midland Dow basketball - Read
January 31:
Chris DeRocher, Alpena basketball - Read
January 24:
Imari Blond, Flint Kearsley bowling - Read
January 17: William Dunn, Quincy basketball - Read
November 29:
Dequan Finn, Detroit Martin Luther King football - Read
November 22: Paige Briggs, Lake Orion volleyball - Read
November 15:
Hunter Nowak, Morrice football - Read
November 8:
Jon Dougherty, Detroit Country Day soccer - Read
November 1:
Jordan Stump, Camden-Frontier volleyball - Read
October 25:
Danielle Staskowski, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep golf - Read
October 18:
Adam Bruce, Gladstone cross country - Read
October 11: Ericka VanderLende, Rockford cross country - Read
October 4:
Kobe Clark, Schoolcraft football - Read
September 27: Jonathan Kliewer, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern soccer - Read
September 20: Kiera Lasky, Bronson volleyball - Read
September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) The Bay Reps' Jake Stevenson (5) battles for the puck during a November game against Big Rapids. (Middle) Stevenson brings the puck forward against Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central. (Photos courtesy of the Traverse City Bay Reps hockey program.)

Hockey Players Transferring Winter Puck Skills to Spring Golf Swings

By Tom Lang
Special for

May 26, 2023

When the Michigan seasons shift from winter to spring, some high school golf teams are a little more eager than others for the hockey season to officially end.

This is especially true for the school golf programs in Brighton, Hartland and Muskegon Mona Shores – examples of boys teams that love having hockey players transition from the indoor frozen ice to play golf outdoors on the lush green grass.

“I would take a golf team full of hockey players any day,” said Hartland golf coach Nathan Oake. “I love them.”

We can tell, because his program is full of them.

Hartland and Brighton each have eight hockey players on their 16-golfer varsity and JV rosters.

Mona Shores has three hockey players this year, but usually has more. In 2023 it’s Oliver MacDonald (all-state honorable mention in hockey), Nathan McNarland and Nicholas Taylor, who was voted Division 1 all-state golf last spring, then leading his team to fifth place at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. Brighton golfer Winston Lerch was also Division 1 all-state last year in golf and an assistant captain on the hockey team this winter that finished Division 1 runner-up to Detroit Catholic Central. Here in 2023, he shot a 65 to open the season at Oakland University for medalist and has committed to Grand Valley State for golf with his 72-stroke average.

Joining Lerch in the Bulldogs boys golf program are hockey players like Levi Pennala, winner of hockey’s Wall Award sponsored by State Champs as the top high school goalie. Pennala – who recently shot 72 at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship tournament, his career low for high school golf – finished in the top 30 last year at the LPD1 Final. Then early this spring when he was away at a high-level junior hockey tournament, freshman hockey player Adam Forcier stepped in and shot a school record 18-hole round for a freshman at 73. Jacob Daavetilla also works into the starting lineup at times.

Forcier tied the record of Davis Codd – who, as a pro hockey player on leave from the Saginaw Spirit OHL hockey team when COVID-19 shut down the league, won the LPD1 Final in 2021 for Brighton.

Brighton golf coach Jimmy Dewling said Codd was one of the earliest to prove to others you can play both hockey and golf and excel. In fact, that June in 2021, Codd went to an NHL scouting camp in Pennsylvania before the Golf Finals, drove overnight back to Forest Akers to play the two championship rounds, won the title, then immediately returned to Pennsylvania to resume the hockey camp.

“On our team, we believe, and TBone (Codd) was a perfect example of it, if there’s any time you have the opportunity to be competitive, it is going to make you a more well-rounded competitor and therefore better at your particular sport,” Dewling said.

“We like hockey players. In the winter, they have to think to where the puck is going, be smart enough to react, and understand how that emotion is going to carry over from one play to the next. When it’s your shift you have to forget about the last shift, or take something from the last shift and put it into the next shift, to have consistent play.

“It’s the same on the golf course,” Dewling continued. “It’s one hole to the next, one shot at a time, being tough, and that’s only going to come from competition reps. We love the athletic ability more so than anything; the toughness and competitiveness all year.”

In addition to Lerch and Pennala starting on varsity golf, they are joined by traditional golfers Matt Doyle, Riley Morton and Andrew Daily, who is committed to Wayne State and finished LPD1 runner-up last spring.

Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. Going into the 2023 golf postseason, Brighton is ranked No. 2 in Division 1. The Bulldogs have won the Next Tee Invite at Oakland Hills, the North Star Invite at Plum Hollow and the KLAA Conference Championship – earning Brighton’s first conference title since 2007. The Bulldogs also were runners-up at The Meadows Invite at Grand Valley State University. The team is averaging 297 for 18 holes.

Oake admitted this is a rebuilding year for Hartland’s golf program. The varsity lineup has only two returning players with varsity golf experience – Keller King and Brady Betteley.

“So, we opted to keep a group of tough competitors with a solid combination of speed and strength – and who are not concerned about the cold conditions that we play in,” Oake quipped.

Five others rotate into the Eagles’ golf starting lineup with King and Betteley: Isaac Frantti is an all-state hockey defensemen playing his first season of golf but shot a career-low 79 at American Dunes recently. He just signed a United State Premier Hockey League tender to play in Connecticut next year. Ian Kastamo scored the winning goal in Hartland’s Division 2 hockey championship victory in 2022, and LJ Sabala is a varsity hockey player as well.

Then there are two non-hockey freshmen getting shots to start occasionally – Dallas Korponic, who finished third at his weight at the Individual Wrestling Finals, and Michael Maurin. Five more sophomores and juniors are hockey players on the JV golf team.

We hope to be competitive with (Brighton) again soon, but they have the talent to make a big splash this year,” Oake said. “I also play golf at the same club as many Brighton players, so I see them quite a bit and we are friendly. When the Brighton team walked by our team on a recent Monday and all said hello to me and our guys, one of my players looked at me and said that this was the biggest difference between hockey and golf. In hockey, the small talk would be (traded) for the ice, and it would not be very nice out there.

“Either way, I believe both sports are filled with fierce competitors and respect, but when the game is over a handshake and a golf hat tip are offered to the victor.”

This story was updated and reposted with permission of

PHOTOS (Top) Brighton takes a team photo after finishing third at last season’s LPD1 Final, and all five golfers are back this season including hockey players Levi Pennala (second from left) and Winston Lerch (second from right.) (Middle) Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. (Below) Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. (Photos courtesy of High School Sports Scene, Sapshots Photography and Mona Shores’ athletic department, respectively.)