Spring Lake had already wrapped up a playoff berth heading into Friday night’s showdown at undefeated and state-ranked Shelby.
But that wasn’t enough.
The Lakers wanted a chance to host a playoff game at Thomas Grabinski Field, especially considering that — if the proposed bond issue goes through next month — the historic old stadium’s days will be numbered.
As if that wasn’t enough motivation, the Lakers remembered all too well last year’s Week 9 loss to Shelby, which kept Spring Lake from reaching the playoffs.
The Lakers focused all of that emotion into a phenomenal showing on the field Friday night, playing their best game of the year in a 27-0 victory over the Tigers.
“This was huge for us,” said Lakers’ coach Jerry Rabideau, whose team improves to 8-1 on the regular season. “Obviously, they beat us last year, and that left a lot of bad blood for our juniors. This was just a big win both mentally and physically, them being undefeated and conference champs, us being conference champions. We were very eager, and finally tonight, every facet of the game came together for us.”
Spring Lake shut out a Shelby team that averages more than 35 points per game. The Tigers punted on eight of their 10 possessions. Lakers’ safety Charlie Warber ended the other two possessions with interceptions — giving the Lakers 24 picks on the season.
The Lakers now play the waiting game as they anxiously await their playoff fate, which will be announced Sunday night on the MHSAA Playoff Selection Show, which will air at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Detroit.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.