High five: Lakers destroy Northwood 52-7 to remain unscathed

GVL / Sheila Babbitt Football game vs Michigan Tech on September 22, 2018.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt Football game vs Michigan Tech on September 22, 2018.

Brady McAtamney

After winning back-to-back GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors, quarterback Bart Williams was only allowed to throw seven passes before giving way to the second string during the No. 3 ranked Lakers’ blowout of Northwood, defeating the Timberwolves 52-7 on the road in a true team effort.

Williams made the most of his short stint on the field, completing five passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. His second completion, a 23-yard pass to Jalen Bryant, made him the school’s all-time leader in pass yardage, surpassing Cullen Finnerty. 

“At the quarterback position, Bart… he didn’t practice all week as a result of the hit that he took against Michigan Tech,” head coach Matt Mitchell said. “He warmed him up, thought he felt okay, he went out there, played, and thought he wasn’t quite 100 percent so we made the decision to let Cole Kotopka go in and I thought he was really good.”

Kotopka came on in relief with a multiple touchdown lead and proceeded to go nine for 15 with 186 yards and two touchdowns. 

Seven different receivers caught passes from Williams, Kotopka and third-string quarterback Nathan Barko, led by Nick Dodson who hauled in five passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Austin Paritee made four grabs for 89 yards and a touchdown. 

On the ground, no one running back netted double digit carries, but a triumvirate of Lakers picked up 145 total yards on 22 rushes. Chawntez Moss scored twice on seven carries with 57 yards, Aryuan Cain-Veasely had a season-high nine carries for 55 yards and a touchdown and Jack Provencher toted the ball six times for 33 yards and a touchdown. 

Defensively, the Lakers held a run-happy Timberwolf offense to only 2.8 yards per carry, allowing them to gain 145 yards on 51 attempts. NU would complete only eight passes for 106 yards with one touchdown which was caught after being tipped by multiple Lakers. 

“I thought we prepared well throughout the course of the week defensively,” Mitchell said. “We were a little frustrated with a couple things that happened, obviously with the pass at the end of the first half. We cannot give up a touchdown in that situation. We made some adjustments at halftime, Northwood was in a position where they couldn’t run their offense because of the scoring situation we had.

“[It was] very close [to being a shutout]. Probably wish we could have had some things back. We didn’t get any pressure on the quarterback at all and then we just got back and tipped the ball and they came up with in. In a situation with 14 seconds left, we can’t let them throw it in the end zone like that and make a play.”

Eight different GVSU players made at least four tackles, led by Dylan Carroll with seven. They combined for 11 tackles for loss, one of which was a sack by linebacker Rahju Blackmon. Defensive back Cordell Finley intercepted NU’s Christian Martinez for the only turnover of the game.

The Lakers’ one forced turnover was their eighth of the season while still having committed zero offensively.

At 5-0 (3-0 GLIAC), GVSU will now return home on Oct. 6 to host the Dixie State Trailblazers (4-1) for their homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.