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PREP FOOTBALL: Big second half propels top-ranked Ithaca past Maple City Glen Lake

Yellowjackets win fifth straight district title

The Ithaca Yellowjackets’ fifth straight district title may have started with some adversity, but it ended with a 42-7 victory over the Maple City Glen Lake Lakers at home on Friday night.

Glen Lake (9-2) was the first team to lead the Yellowjackets all season when it scored on its first drive of the game, but it was not enough to stop Ithaca (11-0) from forcing a running clock en route to its nation-leading 53rd straight game.

“Five in a row, that’s pretty special. You don’t sit down at a public school and say ‘We are going to win five district championships in a row.’ You don’t do that. To have this chance to do it and take advantage of the opportunity is a testament to our kids,” Ithaca head coach Terry Hessbrook said.

Top-ranked Ithaca started the game slow for a second straight week and was forced to punt on its first drive. The situation became much worse when the snap sailed over punter Myles Waldron’s head. Waldron fell on the ball at the Yellowjacket 20, setting up the Lakers with great field position.

Glen Lake wasted no time taking advantage of the rare mistake by Ithaca.

Senior running back Trevor Apsey ran if four times on the opening drive and was assisted by a facemask penalty on the Ithaca defense. Apsey scored on his fourth run with a powerful two-yard run. Glen Lake’s 7-0 lead was the first lead any team has been able to take on the Yellowjackets all season.

“A lot of the little guys were getting worked up, but us seniors have been down before. We knew what it was like and we told those guys to relax because the game is four quarters long,” senior Logan Hessbrook said.

Ithaca’s second drive was orchestrated by its senior leader, quarterback Travis Smith. Smith went 5-of-7 through the air on the drive, finding Eli Villalobos and Josh Hafner multiple times. The drive was briefly stalled by three penalties, but Smith found senior Logan Hessbrook for a one-footed, 12-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone on 4th-and-4. Logan Hessbrook would finish the night with seven receptions and 103 yards.

The teams exchanged punts before exchanging fourth down turnovers.

Glen Lake was the first to go on fourth down with 10:18 left to go in the half. The Lakers ran a fake punt on 4th-and-4, but the Ithaca defense read the play from the start.

Ithaca drove the ball almost 40 yards before it faced a fourth-down situation at the Laker’s 22-yard line. Smith threw a pass to a wide-open Villalobos who was five yards short of the sticks and was forced out of bounds a yard short.

The next Yellowjacket drive was more successful though. Travis Smith completed three passes on the 54-yard drive, including a six-yard laser to the back of the end zone to his brother, Jacob Smith.

Glen Lake looked to respond with 3:16 left in the half. Senior quarterback Carter Lee found space on a keeper and busted off a 36-yard run. He would follow it up with an impressive 15-yard scamper to set up 1st-and-goal. The Lakers were stopped in their tracks on the next play when Logan Hessbrook intercepted a Lee pass.

The Jackets took a 14-7 lead into halftime and never looked back.

“We felt it should have been 14-0 at the half. We were a little discouraged our special teams put us in that hole,” Terry Hessbrook said. “We really didn’t change a lot of things defensively or offensively. We saw some things we could take advantage on offense like the short passing game.”

Glen Lake got the ball to start the second half, but sophomore Jace Demenov intercepted Lee’s pass on the first play of the drive.

“That interception really got us going. We were happy we stopped them right before the half, but we were pretty down coming back out that they got the ball to start. We talked about getting off the field early to set the tone for the half and he came up with the pick,” Terry Hessbrook said. “He’s a special player. He’s just a young kid, but he continues to get better.”

Ithaca got the at the 11-yard line and Travis Smith scampered his way in for a two-yard touchdown three plays later. He would finish the game completing 21-of-27 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one rushing score.

Villalobos blew the game open for the Jackets following the next Laker drive. He returned a Hanrik Ohr punt for a touchdown by sweeping to the right for 47 yards and going in virtually untouched.

“The punt return was huge. When he caught that I was back talking to him saying he had time and I never dreamed he was going to take it back like that. Every time he touches the ball he is a danger to go the distance that’s for sure,” Terry Hessbrook said.

Ithaca’s tailbacks put the game into running-clock territory following the quick second-half start. Senior Bryan Shaw pounded the ball in from one yard out with 1:49 left in the quarter. Shaw finished the night with 103 yards on 13 carries.

Junior Dallas Reeser ensured the Jackets would have their 11th running clock of the season with a four-yard power run two minutes into the final quarter.

Ithaca will play Negaunee for the regional title in Ithaca next week.

“We have a big game next week against Negaunee who are a really tough team and we get to play for another trophy. It’s really exciting,” Logan Hessbrook said.

Coach Hessbrook is happy to play another game in front of the hometown fans.

“The way the draw worked out with the state we get to play three games at home and that’s all you can ask for. We don’t have to go on the road until everyone else has to,” he said. “We like our little stadium here, it’s comfortable.”







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Last Updated: 11/9/2013 7:59:34 PM EST

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