By MIKE ECKERT
GLEN LAKE — When the fourth quarter started on Friday, Glen Lake was 12 minutes away from seeing its perfect season spoiled.
The Lakers, though, answered the call.
Glen Lake capitalized on a couple of turnovers and scored 14 points in the final stanza for a 26-20 victory over St. Francis.
"It's a huge win for us," Angers said. "The biggest thing is there were a lot of doubters in the area about how good we were. (They said) we didn't beat any good teams, but we beat football teams. (St. Francis) was a great football team. Greg Vaughan does a phenomenal job. We just did a great job at off-setting some of their power."
The Lakers (8-0) can wrap up its first 9-0 regular season since 2001 next week at North Muskegon.
"Glen Lake, their build is playing aggressive, and they certainly did," Vaughan said. "They brought it to us on offense and defense. We were in it, playing hard and made some big mistakes, but you have to give them credit for stripping the ball out and hitting our guys hard. Glen Lake was 7-0 going into the game because they're pretty darn good, and they showed that tonight."
St. Francis (4-4) led 20-12 after three quarters and had the ball in Glen Lake territory, but fumbled on the second play of the fourth quarter and Curtis Bunek returned it 37 yards.
"I was sitting back, so if one of my defenders missed, I'd hit him," Bunek said. "But we hit him hard, the ball popped out and I just ran."
Four plays later, Trevor Apsey scored to make it 20-18 Glads. Glen Lake originally made the two-point conversion, but had to try again after a penalty. The second attempt was also good, as Carter Lee hit Mike O'Brien on a pass to tie the game at 20-20.
St. Francis had another fumble on its next possession and Logan LaCross picked it up to give the Lakers the ball.
"Logan was having a rough day," Angers said. "They were double-teaming him. He kept fighting and clawing and finally picked up a loose ball, which was a huge play for us."
The teams traded series and Glen Lake got the ball back with just over 3 minutes to play in the game. Tyler Stachnik rolled off a 32-yard run to get the ball to the goal-line before Apsey punched it in for the 26-20 advantage.
"They're resilient," Angers said. "They believe in what they're doing and they know what they're doing. They know that they're not going to quit. We had a couple of time-outs. They looked me in the eye and I said 'would you guys just relax and play football.' And they did."
Apsey finished with 13 carries for 120 yards and three touchdowns.
"Trevor Apsey, as people are starting to see, is a great football player," Angers said. "He's a junior, he's big, he can take it to the house and run you over."
Lee ran nine times for 61 yards and a score while Stachnik had 58 yards on five carries.
St. Francis trailed 12-7 at the half, but took a 20-12 lead in the third quarter thanks to touchdowns from Jimmy Brady and Byron Bullough. Brady finished with 20 carries for 91 yards while Bullough ran 13 times for 50 yards. Jake Khoury also had seven rushes for 44 yards.
"I think a couple of our backs had a nice game," Vaughan said. "I know there were some fumbles there, but they came along. And a couple of our tight ends we had in there did a very nice job of blocking. They've come a long way and this was the first game I felt like our tight ends were being very aggressive and blocking guys."
In the first quarter, St. Francis scored on a 63-yard interception return from Joe Studzinski. The sophomore cornerback, who was recently called up to varsity, added another interception in the second half.
"Joe was a kid we looked at bringing before the season," Vaughan said. "But we figured he'd get more snaps on JV, so we kept him down there for awhile. But, we had an injury, so we had to bring him up. He's certainly capable of playing that position. He's a natural athlete and just played the corner very well tonight."
At 4-4, St. Francis can't guarantee a playoff spot. However, there is still a possibility the Glads could get in at 5-4 with a win over Muskegon Catholic next week.
"It's a rivalry game for us," Vaughan said. "We played them when I went to St. Francis. We've always had great games against them. As I told the boys, we're not guaranteed anything at this point, other than one game next week. It's a home game, so we'd like to end the season on a W. Then, who knows what will happen, but the first thing is we've got to win a game next week.—¨