Traverse City St. Francis @ Maple City Glen Lake
Going for an unbeaten regular season with just two games left, 7-0 Maple City Glen Lake hasn’t played in a game like this since 2001. 4-3 Traverse City St. Francis is trying to maintain a streak of playoff appearances that dates back to the 1980s. Despite their proximity, these schools haven’t played since that 2001 season, when Glen Lake beat St. Francis in the regular season then again in the playoffs, which the Gladiators sneaked into with a 5-4 mark.
St. Francis could conceivably take the five-win rout again, but why leave it up to computers when you can take care of it between the lines? That’s what the Glads did last week, with what they hope was a season-changing 13-6 win over favored Saginaw Nouvel (whose only other L is to loaded Flint Powers). Prior to beating Nouvel, TCSF endured losses to schools they don’t usually lose to, Kingsley, Grayling and Boyne City. St. Francis’ main problem on the field is a lack of team speed. But this is still a team that will hit you hard with a strong front seven, led by junior Big Ten recruits Byron Bullough and Jake Khoury, and two other tough juniosr up front in Jake Brodeur and Eric Coggon. Their power running game is built perfectly for winning on the Leelanau Peninsula in mid October.
The Lakers clinched the Northwest Conference title last week with a 15-12 defeat of Frankfort. Prior to that, they’d blown out teams. Now in coach Jerry Angers third season, Glen Lake has been building towards this since getting a five-win bid in 2010. It’s been an even longer path for five fourth-year seniors: Curtis Bunek, Mike O’Brien, Matt Omerza, Dale Pleva and Tyler Stachnik. O’Brien, a 6-3, 210 linbebacker and tight end, and Omerza, a 6-2, 290 lineman, have the strength to bang heads with the Gladiators. Stachnik is a playmaker in the defensive backfield.
When they have the ball, like St. Francis, Glen Lake will look to run, with junior QB Carter Lee, senior Anthony Czapek and junior Trevor Apsey the primary threats. Apsey, a 5-11, 185 junior, could be the game-changer here, as he’s a special teams threat and faster than anyone St. Francis has.