Lakers Pitch a Shutout to Saginaw Valley
LB Brad Howard
LB Brad Howard
GVReport.com Writer
Posted Sep 15, 2008


In a driving rainstorm that resulted in only a few hundred people remaining of the nearly 7,500 that walked through the gates, the Lakers took control from the start en route to a 36-0 thrashing of their bitter rivals, the first time that Saginaw Valley had been shut out since 1992, and the first shut out that Grand Valley has had since the 2006 season opener.

Grand Valley made the trip across state to University Center for the second year in a row, and put on a show that may have been the best overall game that the Lakers have played in some time. In a driving rainstorm that resulted in only a few hundred people remaining of the nearly 7,500 that walked through the gates, the Lakers took control from the start en route to a 36-0 thrashing of their bitter rivals, the first time that Saginaw Valley had been shut out since 1992, and the first shut out that Grand Valley has had since the 2006 season opener (13-0 over Findlay).

An absolutely dominating defensive performance resulted in the Cardinals totaling only 101 yards of total offense on the day, including four yards rushing. The first half saw Saginaw Valley accumulate only 20 yards of total offense.

Meanwhile, Grand Valley scored on their first three possessions, getting off to a fast start just as they did against Indianapolis. After forcing Saginaw Valley to a three-and-out to start the game, and the Lakers responded with a 16-play, 81-yard, seven minute 32 second drive that was capped off with a Jimmy Berezik three-yard touchdown plunge.

Another Saginaw Valley three-and-out followed, and redshirt freshman Greg Gay had his second career rushing touchdown, and second in as many games, with a 38-yard scamper on the second play of the Grand Valley drive to make it a 14-0 game.

The next possession for the Cardinals didn't make it to a three-and-out, as Chris Huley made his first impression as a Laker, picking off a Dan Stiefel pass at the Saginaw Valley 28-yard line, and returning it to the three. Saginaw Valley's defense buckled down this time though on a very short field, and forced Grand Valley to settle for a 19-yard field goal off the foot of Todd Carter and a 17-0 lead after one quarter.

With the Cardinal student section already nearly empty, Saginaw Valley got their first first-down of the game, by way of a Grand Valley facemask penalty, near the beginning of the second quarter.

With a comfortable lead already in hand, and neither team wanting to be in the weather any more than the fans, the Lakers started pounding the ball on the ground, and it resulted in Berezik's second touchdown of the game when he took a hand-off 22 yards for the 24-0 lead.

On the second drive of the 3rd quarter for the Lakers, they got into the endzone again, as Brad Iciek got his first touchdown of the game, finding what looks to be his new go-to guy, Jonn Mathews, from 12 yards out with only 29 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Saginaw Valley poured salt in their own wound on the following possession, as the snap for the punt went awry and resulted in a safety to make it a 33-0 Laker lead with early in the 4th quarter.

Grand Valley capped off the game's scoring after redshirt freshman linebacker Brad Howard picked off a pass and returned it to the Cardinal 10 yard line, and Carter connected on a 24-yard field goal to make it a 36-0 game.

Saginaw Valley threatened to erase the goose egg on the scoreboard on the following drive, as they got down to the Grand Valley eight yard line with three minutes remaining, but opted to go for it on the fourth down rather than kick the field goal. Brandon Allen made them pay, as he sacked backup quarterback Dustin Mayner on the play to give the ball back to Grand Valley to run out the clock.

Berezik again led the offense for the Lakers, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, while Blake Smolen had 77 yards on 10 carries, and P.T. Gates had 54 yards on 15 carries. Gay's 38-yard touchdown was his only carry of the game.

Iciek went 11-for-18 on the game for 111 yards and a touchdown. Mathews was his favorite receiver, finding him for three catches, 48 yards, and a touchdown. Berezik contributed two catches and 23 yards, Scott Blasko with two catches for 18 yards, Smolen with two catches for 14 yards, and Gates with one catch for eight yards.

On defense, the Lakers were led by Huley with six tackles and one interception. Reserve defensive back Matt Bakker had seven tackles, mostly on special teams, while Nick Lawrence and Danny Richard each had four tackles and one tackle for loss. Lawrence had a forced fumble to go with his numbers, while Richard and Justin Victor each had a half-sack. Howard's interception went with three tackles, one of which was for a loss. Dan Skuta and Allen each had two tackles and one sack.

For Saginaw Valley, Stiefel went 13-for-25 for only 63 yards, and two interceptions. However, Mayner came in and went four-for-five for 34 yards on his only drive of the game. Mike Meade was the leading receiver with six catches for 36 yards. L.J. Robertson was the leading rusher with 24 yards on seven carries, while highly-touted true freshman Ron Spears was held to -1 yard on four carries. On defense, the Cardinals again were led by ballhawk John Jacobs, who collected 16 tackles and one tackle for loss. Carlton Downs had eight tackles and one forced fumble, while Grandville native Mike LeVand had four tackles and one sack.

Next week, the Lakers take on rival Ferris State who sits at 3-0 on the season and may find themselves ranked in the top 25 when they travel to Lubbers Stadium. With an undefeated Bulldog team coming to Allendale, attendance is expected to be big, as Lubbers Stadium may exceed the 15,000 mark for the first time in history.


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