Glen Lake enters Championship Weekend with a 12-1 record, finishing first in the NMFL-Leaders divison with a 4-0 mark. We last saw the Lakers in a thrilling OT Semi-final contest, defeating Montague 31-30. Glen Lake has qualified for the playoffs 8 of the last 10 seasons. In total the Lakers have won 6 district titles, 6 Regional titles, 4 Finals appearances and 1 State title in 1994. Glen Lake has an overall playoff record of 26-16. In his 11th season, Jerry Angers will roam the sidelines as the front man for the Black, White and Gold. SMCC comes into week 14 with an 11-1 record, finishing 2nd in the Huron League with a 6-1 conference mark. We last saw the Falcons defeat Onsted, on a thrilling last second field goal, by the score of 17-14. The Falcons have qualified for the playoffs 17 of the last 20 seasons, won 12 District titles, 12 Regional Crowns, 7 Final appearances and won State Titles in 1969, 1991, 2014. The Falcons hold an overall playoff record of 50-21. In his 5th season leading the Green and Gold, SMCC is fronted by Coach Adam Kipf. 

Glen Lake Lakers (12-1, 4-0 NMFL-Leaders)

The Lakers run a very balanced attack out of varied formations led by QB Reece Hazelton(6’6″ 190lbs). The lanky gunslinger has a 59% completion percentage with 1,237 yards and 16 TD’s on the season. Hazelton gets it done on the ground as well with 476 yards on 113 carries and 6 scores. The leading rusher for Glen lake is Jonathon Wright(6’1″ 195lbs). Wright has 1,112 yards on 130 carries with 17 TD’s. Balancing out the potent running game for the Lakers is Isaac Sterzer(6’0″ 190lbs). Isaac has 848 yards on the season, on 102 carries with 7 trips to pay dirt. The #1 option in the passing game is 6’4″ 190lb Finn Hogan. Hogan has 660 yards for the year, on 37 receptions, 12 of those for scores.

Maple City Glen Lake celebrates with the regional championship trophy after defeating Calumet 15-14 in a MHSAA Division 6 state quarterfinal on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Calumet, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

Clearing the way up front for a Laker offense that amassed 4,408 total yards on the season are Dylan Kilinski C (6’3″280), Ben Kroll T (6’3″ 270), River Dallas G (5’9″ 200), Sam Keys T (6’1″ 240), Garret Tremble G (6’0″ 230).

Lakers defense bottles up St. Francis in week 2 play.

Defensively Glen Lake is led by Jacob Pleva LB(5’11” 190) 117 tkls, Wright 68 tkls, Hogan 63 tkls and Kroll 58 tkls, 8 of those for loss.

The Lakers average 33.9 points per game while giving up 16.9

Comment from Coach Angers: “Our biggest challenge will be overcoming adversity, such as distractions and extra travel time. In addition, we will be facing the best team we have played all year.”

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons (11-1, 6-1 Huron League)

The Falcons once again will showcase their usual punishing ground attack out of the Full House T offense. Relying heavily on their talented senior running back quartet of Sam Cousino( 98 carries, 724 yards, 11 TD), Wyatt Bergmoser(136 carries, 939 yards, 10 TD) Alex Morgan(125 carries, 1,680 yards, 16 TD) and Jace Worrell(41 carries 183 yards, 2 TD).  Caden Smith and Cole Jondro may also see time in the backfield. The aforementioned average an outstanding 9.04 yards per carry on the season.

Alex Morgan (26) sidesteps the sideline.  Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Hawkins.

As always, the foundation of any ground attack is the Offensive Line. The Falcons have bullied their way to 4,296 yards rushing on the season for an average of 358 yards per game . Up front for the Falcons are Connor Bogdanski T (6’3″ 285lbs), Luke Bilan T (6’1″ 230lbs), James Hawkins G (5’7″ 235lbs), Brendan Sloan TE (5’10” 205lbs), Zach Patterson G (6’3″ 235 lbs), Mason Gullen TE (6’3″ 235 lbs), Gus Flint TE (5’11” 190 lbs), Jackson Strube TE (6’1″ 205), Nieko Castiglione TE (6’0″ 200 lbs), Gavin Witaszek T (6’1″ 270lbs).

SMCC’s Gus Flint (20) celebrates with Sam Cousino (28) after Flint’s third-down stop of Onsted. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Hawkins.

Names to watch on defense are Flint(46 tkls) and Gullen at DE;  Witaszek, Hawkins, Bilan, Bogdanski at DT; Cousino(98 tkls), Castiglione(69 tkls), Morgan, Strube at LB; and Bergmoser(79 tkls), Ezra McLaughlin, Worrell and Smith at DB.

The Falcons average 34.1 points per game while giving up 14.8.

Comment from Coach Kipf: “We are facing many challenges this week.  We need to get everyone as healthy as possible right now. We also need to stay focused on the task at hand.Glen Lake is an excellent football team.  They do many things very well. I am impressed with the way their lines play on both sides of the ball.  They play very physical and create problems up front for their opponents. Hazelton is great athlete who can make plays all over the field. They certainly have a dynamic offense with weapons everwhere.  We have our work cut out for us this week.

FNV Thoughts: 16 teams remain on Championship Weekend at Ford Field. What an accomplishment for all 16! Over 500 teams put the pads on back in August, and in Division 6, we are down to just 2. Both teams are obviously playing great football, weaving their way through a difficult playoff run, consisting of sound victories and last second heroics. Being on the big stage, I would imagine jitters and nerves can come into play. Whoever settles down and executes the game plan the quickest, will have an early edge. I do expect however, that once you get that first hit in or that first time being hit, the jitters will subside for both teams and the players will get down to business. This is a great experience for everyone involved, from the players, to the coaches, to the parents and fans. My hope is that everyone enjoys to the fullest the experience of playing for a State Championship. I am looking forward to a fantastic High School football game and may the team who plays best, come away victorious. Good luck to both Glen Lake and SMCC!

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