Sinking the Jets in stunning fashion: Lakes football ends Jets’ winning streak at 41

Lake Linden-Hubbell back Gabe Popko sheds a North Central defender during a game Friday in Powers, Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Megan Gervais)

POWERS — With time running out, the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes football team had a chance to do something a high school athlete would remember for the rest of their life. Seconds later, they made a lifetime memory.

Quarterback Danny Marcotte dropped back and found back Sammy Roberts with a throw. When the smoke cleared, the pair had hooked up for a 45-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 left in the contest.

The Lakes held on from there to earn a 28-25 victory, ending North Central’s 41-game winning streak.

“We made a play call,” said coach Brett Gervais. “We always give Danny the option to make an audible. So we allow him to kill the play, and depending on what he sees, we allow him to make a call.

“We were trips left, and we allowed Danny to make a check. So he did, he looked over at Sam Roberts, and made a check. They called kind of a seam pass down the middle, and it ended up being open. He hit him (Roberts) for the pass, and he ended up going the distance for it.”

Winning a game against North Central in Powers is a huge accomplishment for the Lakes.

“I told them before the game that it’s a regular season game, but it ultimately matters in the grand scheme of things,” said Gervais. “It’s a significant game for them, for their careers, and it’s a game that we’ve been working towards.”

Roberts finished with two receptions for 51 yards and the game-winning touchdown. On the ground, he had 17 carries for 85 yards.

Marcotte went 8-of-14 in the air for 184 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. In the ground game, he carried the ball 19 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

For the Lakes, the win represented a change of fortune from where they were two weeks ago, when they dropped a tough matchup with the Norway Knights at home.

“We scheduled two really competitive games, I mean it ended up in Week One and Week Two, we had two bye weeks, and we wanted to make sure that, with the athletes that we have, we wanted two really competitive weeks so that we’re geared up for the rest of the year,” said Gervais. “We beat Norway Week One, which was great. But then they game-planned us really well Week Three. Inland Lakes was able to pull out a win against us in Week Two. I think that it gave us the opportunity to say, ‘hey, who do we want to be offensively, and defensively, and what type of what type of team do we want to be?'”

Playing quality opponents from bigger schools was something that Gervais felt could help the Lakes moving forward.

“Our first four games were against Division 1 teams, so this gave us our first opportunity to play a team that was Division 2, so we knew the competition come playoff time,” he said. “It would be a little bit more realistic.”

With the back-to-back losses, Gervais felt that the Lakes still had a lot to learn.

“We were able to at least gameplan with all the things that we did wrong in those losses,” he said. “It gave us the opportunity to look at what things can we get better at, when in the last couple of years, in games where you’re not as competitive, you don’t have a lot to look at in the film. Having a competitive schedule early on, it gives us the ability to look at the film and say, ‘hey, where do we need to get better, and where can we improve?’

“I think that we’re going in the right direction.”

Back Matthew Jokela finished with three catches for 51 yards. Gabe Popko had two catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

After the game, Gervais made sure to point out that North Central is an excellent team, and his Lakes should be proud of what they have accomplished in topping them on the road in a way that no one has in multiple seasons.

“We just think one week at a time,” Gervais said. “I told the guys after the game, beating that team is a great accomplishment, and it really goes to show what North Central has really set for the bar in eight-man. I mean, I have nothing but respect for that program. It’s nothing against them, and even us beating them. It’s more of an equal, a celebration of us winning and overcoming them, but it’s equal, celebrating what they’ve been able to do as a team. That team, North Central, they’ve done a great job.”


The Lakes host Crystal Falls Forest Park at Ron Warner Athletic Field in Lake Linden Saturday with the opening kickoff set for 1:30 p.m.


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