FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Lakers hope to rebound from historic defeat, stay healthy

BEAR LAKE — Football coaches love to say that a team learns more from a loss than a win.

If that’s the case, Bear Lake will be taking a wealth of knowledge into its game on Saturday against Mesick.

The Lakers have nowhere to go but up after what will likely stand for some time as the worst loss in program history, 80-0 to Ontonagon last Saturday.

Bear Lake head coach John Prokes said that his young Lakers was undeterred by the lopsided defeat by the biggest, strongest team they have faced to date.

“Those guys are men,” Prokes said. “They threw our guys around on that field. I have never seen a team at this level that big. But by the time we were on the bus ride home, and got to the bridge and had dinner, the kids were kind of over it. They learned from it and they turned it into a positive, they never came up against a team like that before, and that’s part of football. That was definitely an encouraging sign.”

Next up is the 2017 West Michigan D League finale against Mesick, a team that the Lakers faced in their preseason scrimmage back in August. The Bulldogs (4-3 overall, 4-1 WMDL) use multiple formations and offensive looks to try to confuse opposing defenses, an approach that Prokes compared to Manistee Catholic Central.

“Man-for-man, we have as much speed and athletic talent as they do,” Prokes said. “We don’t have the experience they do across the board, of course, but we have some good athletes and I think we can hang with those guys.”

The Lakers have a couple of injury issues, with Dane Mertes still nursing a nagging leg problem and Daniel Aguilar questionable after sustaining a head injury against Brethren on Sept. 29. Reagan Merrill will return to the lineup after missing the Ontonagon game due to injury.

Prokes said that one of his goals this week is to finish a game with the same lineup that started it.

“We’re relatively healthy, and my hope is that we can stay that way,” he said.

Bear Lake’s game against Mesick will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday. 

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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