By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal
SPRING LAKE — Sloppy weather and vastly-improved Orchard View did not affect the Spring Lake Lakers in their first game of their Lakes conference title defense.
The weather conditions seemed to be a factor for the Cardinals as they turned the ball over four times in the game.
“The weather was definitely a factor today,” said Cardinals coach Joe Tanis. “We are a team that likes to stretch the field and we had a lot of balls slide through our hands.”
The Lakers took advantage of an early turnover at the Cardinals 10-yard line with seven minutes left in the first. Mark Williamson picked the ball up from the 8-yard line and ran it in for a quick 7-0 lead for Lakers.
Offensively, the Lakers used multiple weapons to keep the pressure on the Cardinals. Jake Frederick would give the Lakers a 14-0 lead late in the first with a 32-yard touchdown run. Frederick would end up with 13 carries for 100 yards.
With 9:32 left in the second quarter Nate Batts added to the Laker lead with a 21-yard touchdown run. Batts would also catch the two point conversion giving the Lakers a commanding 22-0 lead halfway through the second quarter.
“It was one of our goals to jump on OV as fast as we can to kill their confidence,” said Lakers coach Jerry Rabideau. “Allowing them to grow their early season confidence was very scary to me.”
The conditions would finally affect the Lakers as quarterback Williamson would fumble to give the Cardinals great field position. The Cardinals would get on the scoreboard on an 18-yard touchdown run by Bobby Clanton cutting the Lakers lead to 22-6.
Clanton rushed for 135 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
The change of momentum would not last for the Cardinals as the Lakers would go on a 24-0 run. Noah Kovakoski scored on a 50-yard run and kicker Kaden Kendall would add a 44-yard field goal to give the Lakers a 32-6 halftime lead.
Williamson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard touchdown run early in the third. Batts would also get his second score of the night early in the third on a 13-yard touchdown run completing a 24-0 run and giving the Lakers a 46-6 lead late in the third.
Despite being down 40, Clanton would finish the game strong with a pair of late touchdowns to cut the deficit to 46-22.
The Lakers backup quarterback Hunter Moe closed the scoring on a 52-yard touchdown run.
“We are not there yet.” said Tanis.
The Cardinals, who are a young team, are led by freshmen quarterback Jayden Day. Day struggled in the weather, completing 4-of18 passes with one touchdown for 56 yards.
As for the Lakers, they will now focus on defending state champion Muskegon Catholic Central next week.
“We are going to need every weapon next week against MCC,” said Rabideau. “They have a strong tradition but they still need to play us.”
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