Reprinted from Hometown Life (The Milford Times), September 9, 2017
By Brad Emons email@example.com
When Dylan Kutzleb get his hands on the ball, good things generally happen.
The shifty and sturdy 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior running back carried the ball only 13 times, but rushed for a game-high 227 yards on Friday night as host White Lake Lakeland earned a 34-14 Lakes Valley Conference football win over South Lyon.
Two of those runs went for touchdowns including a 69-yarder in the first quarter and an 86-yarder in the early in the third quarter to seal help the win as the Eagles improved to 2-1.
“I’m a little hyped up right now,” Kutzleb admitted after the game. “I just kept my feet moving all the time, always looking forward and never looking back. Getting those cut-back blocks, a lot of key blocks from those linemen, which I’m very thankful for.”
Lakeland built a 21-0 halftime lead as Robbie Tracy added a 30-yard TD run and C.J. Davis chipped in with a 1-yarder.
Lakeland had a total of 380 yards on the night, all on the ground.
“They (South Lyon) were pretty stout up front, there was no doubt about it,” Lakeland coach Joe Woodruff said. “I thought our backs did a really good job of finding holes. I think we got in and out of the right plays we needed to be in. Probably left a couple of points on the board a couple of different times in the first half. But again, I still emphasize that we’re a very young football team that’s trying to grow and trying to mature a little bit. This was a good win for us.”
Tracy and Davis contributed 51 and 47 yards, respectively, on the ground. Davis scored the last Lakeland TD on a 27-yard run with 3:47 left after South Lyon had cut the deficit to 28-14.
Here are four other takeaways:
Skupin it up: After going up 14-0 on Robbie Tracy’s 30-yard TD run, Lakeland got the ball right back when Leo Skupin executed a perfect onside kick recovering the ball on the South Lyon 49.
“Our defensive coordinator (Mike Sherrill) was the one who called the onside kick,” Woodruff said. “He made a great call on that. Leo executed perfectly and made a great play.”
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound sophomore also recovered fumble on the ensuing kickoff after the Eagles went up 28-0 on Kutzleb’s 86-yard TD run in the third period.
“We executed a lot of things really nice,” Woodruff said. “We executed an onside kick and we were plus on a lot of the punts. We had three different kickers attempt extra points. Our special teams were pretty good. Our coaching staff â after three years â we’re starting to become a little bit more firm as to what we do and what we know.”
Three’s company: In the first half, Lakeland used three quarterbacks as Joe Rzeppa got the start followed by senior Mitchell Boles and junior Brady Woodruff.
Rzeppa started out in the ‘Wildcat’ formation. The Eagles attempted only three passes.
“We have a two-quarterback system that we all have a role as to what we’re doing,” Woodruff said. “When we run the Wildcat obviously with Joe in there that’s something we planned a little bit. As far as the quarterback situation, it’s a little bit unique as far as what we’re asking them to do out there. And that’s just because of the personnel that we have. Our quarterbacks are sitting at the line of scrimmage getting us in-and-out of plays. They make me look smart and they’re doing a great job.”
Case for the defense: The Eagles got three turnovers on night and held the Lions off the board until the final quarter when Fracassi hooked up for a pair of scoring passes with Ian Goins.
South Lyon had zero yards rushing in the first half, while Lakeland controlled the ball and the clock.
“On defense, we were on the field a ton tonight,” South Lyon coach Jeff Henson said. “I actually thought we played pretty well, but obviously we gave up some big plays. Our youth showed at times. I thought we competed well on that side of the ball. As much as we were on the field tonight, I thought we competed well on that side of the ball.”
Tough sledding: The Lions finished the game with only a net 14 yards on 26 carries, while Fracassi finished 11-for-23 for 210 yards and two TDs with one interception (with 2:42 to go by Lakeland’s Sean Cullen).
“We got to fix our offense . . . I don’t even know what to say to be honest until I see it on film,” Henson said. “It’s been a struggle for us from beginning. I hate to keep going back to the youth and inexperience, but it is what it is at this point.”
South Lyon (0-3) rushed nine times for a net zero yards in the first half, while Lakeland had 214 on the ground.
“Our quarterback did some good things, he made some good throws tonight, made some good plays,” Henson said. “But hey, we can’t seem to put it all together right now. We’ll get there. I’m optimistic that we can keep building on what they’re doing. We’re competing and we’ll eventually get to that point.”