Lake Fenton traded punches with Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard Saturday at Eastern Michigan University, and although the Fighting Irish never delivered a knockout punch, they provided enough big blows for the win.
In a physical contest at the 7th Annual Big Day Prep Showdown, the Blue Devils came up short in the season opener in a 19-13 loss.
"I'm proud of the kids. It was tough to stop those guys," said Lake Fenton coach Eric Doyle. "We made some mistakes, but every one of our kids dug down and clawed. They played their hearts out."
Lake Fenton marched down the field on its first possession, capped by a 21-yard touchdown run by Robby Kesler, but the Fighting Irish would score 19 unanswered points - sparked by a couple big plays to hang out for the victory.
After a seven-yard TD run from Nick Pauze in the second quarter, quarterback Joseph Kendzicky hit Evan Fosha for a touchdown on a fade route with just eight seconds left in the half.
Kendzicky then connected with Stevie Tracy on a 63-yard touchdown pass to make the score 19-7 early in the third quarter.
"We played well overall, but those tiny little mistakes will kill you," said Lake Fenton linebacker Chase Hull.
Lake Fenton hung around in the contest and stopped Gabriel Richard after a 21-play 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter, before marching down the field and punching in another Kesler score from two yards out, making the score 19-13 with 3:20 left in the contest.
The Blue Devils attempted an onside kick, but it failed and the Fighting Irish ran down the clock. Lake Fenton received the ball with less than a minute remaining, but couldn't get the ball down the field.
"We are going to learn from this," Doyle said. "We are going to get better and eliminate those mistakes."
Lake Fenton will host Mt. Morris on Friday.