STEVENSVILLE — Zeke Rohl and the Lancers defense kept Lakeshore’s playoff hopes alive Friday night.
Pounding the ball on the ground in near-monsoon conditions at times, Rohl rushed for three touchdowns in Lakeshore’s 27-16 homecoming Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference victory over visiting Gull Lake.
Rohl had TD runs of 3, 46 and 45 yards, gaining 161 yards on 24 lugs.
“Our offensive line did a good job opening up holes on those two long runs,” praised Rohl, a 5-11, 215-pound senior.
The Lakeshore defense held Gull Lake to just 26 net yards from scrimmage. The Blue Devils’ two touchdowns came on an 85-yard kickoff return in the first quarter by Juston Larkin and a 27-yard fumble return in the fourth by Nolan Fraasa.
“It was an ugly game. Well, not really. We just can’t figure out our kickoff coverage,” said Lakeshore coach Bryan Keim. “Our defense played great, which was kind of what I was hoping. They knew we couldn’t throw it in these weather conditions in wind, rain and cold.”
Lakeshore mainly used two quarterbacks in Jimmy Gillette and Jake Trivedi.
“In these conditions we wanted to go back to some old read-option football, but we had to scrap it right away because we really couldn’t chance pitching it either,” explained Keim.
The win improved Lakeshore to 3-4 overall. If they can win their final two regular season games, the Lancers still have a chance to make the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive time if they qualify as a five-win team.
Lakeshore took a 7-0 lead early in the first on a 19-yard scamper by Treyjen Keim and Gillette’s PAT boot. But Larkin took the ensuing kickoff down the right sideline 85 yards to paydirt, and Nate Willard’s 2-point conversion run gave Gull Lake its only lead of the game.
The Lancers got a big break early in the second, when a snap went way over the Gull Lake punter’s head and was recovered by the Lancers at the Blue Devil 3-yard line. Rohl promptly rumbled in for the score, giving Lakeshore a 14-8 lead at halftime.
Lakeshore then made it 27-8 on Rohl’s 46 and 45-yard TD runs in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, before the Blue Devils’ fumble return TD with 5:09 remaining.
Lakeshore’s final two games are at Kalamazoo Central (2-5) and home vs. Mattawan (3-4).
Lakeshore 27, Gull Lake 16
Gull Lake 8 0 0 8 — 16
Lakeshore 7 7 7 6 — 27
L - Treyjan Keim 19 run (Jimmy Gillette kick)
GL - Juston Larkin 85 kickoff return (Nate Willard run)
L - Zeke Rohl 3 run (Gillette kick)
L - Rohl 46 run (Gillette kick)
L - Rohl 45 run (kick failed)
GL - Nolan Fraasa 27 fumble return (Willard run)
First downs 4 12
Net Rushing 20 197
Net passing 6 16
Comp-Att-Int 1-4-0 1-2-16
Total net yards 26 213
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties 5-42 6-56
Punts-Ave. 6-34 4-40
Possession time 21:08 26:52
Rushing - GL: Willard 17-40. LKS: Rohl 24-161, Keim 8-31.
Passing - GL: Eric White 1-4-0-6. LKS: Gillette 1-2-0-16.
Receiving - GL: Jake Varner 1-6. LKS: Grant Ruddell 1-16.
Tackles - GL: Andrew Foster 13, Kevin Hook 8, Jacob Wiley 8. LKS: Landen Thompson 6, Kaleb Tollefson 4, Evin Koeppe 4.
Records - Gull Lake 2-5, Lakeshore 3-4.