1. Who will start at quarterback for the Lakers?
After having the luxury of having Keegan Wolter under center the last two years, Lakers’ coach Jerry Rabideau had a quarterback battle on his hands this fall as senior Jake Chittenden and sophomore Mark Williamson competed for the job. Chittenden is an outstanding safety on defense for the Lakers, and Williamson is slated to start at a defensive end. At this point, Rabideau said Chittenden will get the starting nod at QB, but expect to see Williamson begin to earn more and more snaps there as the season progresses. Williamson is much bigger than Chittenden at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, and his size and powerful running style could prove to be a nice change of pace with the Lakers’ lightning-quick slot backs.
2. Who will step up and become a leader of the Lakers’ defense?
Chittenden is an outstanding safety, but look for linebacker Cody Berkobien to be the one who really takes ownership of the Lakers’ defense. Rabideau called Berkobien “as fine a fullback as I’ve had in my career, and as fine a linebacker. He may not be Robbie Aurich or John Ditmar, but he’s not far from them.” That’s pretty lofty company considering Aurich and Ditmar are two of the most outstanding defensive players to suit up for the Lakers in a long, long time.
3. What’s the strongest position group for Spring Lake this fall?
Probably the defensive backfield. The Lakers don’t have much coming back along the line, but they’re loaded at cornerback and safety. Chittenden was the team’s second-leading tackler from his safety spot last year, and he’ll be joined on the back line of the defense by Carter Bench, Jeff Marod, Jonny Mundt, Charlie Warber and Mark Pierce. “Our defense is small but fast, very fast,” Rabideau said.
4. Spring Lake has won or shared the last three Lakes Eight Conference titles. Can the Lakers make it four in a row this fall?
Sure. It’s no secret that the Lakes Eight Conference isn’t the most intimidating football league in the state. Lakes Eight teams have traditionally struggled against out-of-conference opponents, and their record in the playoffs over the past several years isn’t great. Traditional Lakes Eight powerhouse Orchard View has fallen on hard times, going 1-8 last year, making it even easier for the Lakers to contend for a top spot. Fruitport and new coach Greg Vargas looks to be the biggest roadblock in the Lakers’ quest for another league crown.
5. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Spring Lake football. What plans are in place to honor past teams?
The Lakers will host a celebration in honor of 50 years of Spring Lake football the weekend of Sept. 14-15. That will include a cookout and various activities at Friday night’s game against Grant, then a reunion at Terra Verde that Saturday. In addition, Spring Lake’s varsity football team will wear throwback uniforms for its five home games this fall. The uniforms feature white pants, red tops with white stripes on the shoulders, and red helmets adorned with white numbers. The players love them, and the coaches have even entertained the idea of leaving the numbers on the helmets for the foreseeable future.