Lakeview went in to the final game of the regular season hoping to keep a couple streaks alive.
With a division title on the line and a playoff spot, Lakeview defeated Gull Lake, 51-6, in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division football game at Spartan Memorial Stadium on Friday.
With the win, Lakeview goes to 4-1 in the SMAC East and clinches a share of the division crown for the third straight division title for the school.
And by going to 6-3 on the season, Lakeview clinches the program’s fourth straight playoff spot.
“This is exciting for us, so proud of the kids. We had a good week of practice and came out and played physical and got the job done,” Lakeview coach Matt Miller said. “Now the second season starts and we’ll see on Sunday who we play and I know there’s a group of seniors here who are pretty hungry heading into the playoffs.”
Lakeview will share the SMAC East Division title with Battle Creek Central and Mattawan, as all three teams went 4-1 in the division. BCC had defeated Lakeview early in the year, the Spartans beat Mattawan and then in Week 7 Mattawan beat the Bearcats.
“Our goal No. 1 is always to win the conference championship,” Miller said. “We got a little hlelp with that a copule weeks ago and we took advantage. We dug ourselves a hole, but we climbed out of it and responded from some adversity.
“That says a lot about our senior class. Our senior class has been around a lot of winning football, especially Skyler Nichols and Travis Snyder, our three-year seniors. It’s nice to see them go out with a win in this home game tonight and make the playoffs.”
Nichols has been the starting quarterback on all three division title teams for Lakeview and helped lead the way again on Friday for the Spartans with a 29-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
“Winning a conference title is a big deal, getting three in a row, a three-peat, is a big milestone and a credit to our program,” Nichols s aid. “Getting that sixth win tonight and making the playoffs is also huge. You don’t want to be the class that ends the streak. We were 5-3 and on the border line of making it in, but we came out tonight to get it done and we did a a group. Glad to win it with these guys and win this title and make the playoffs together.”
Lakeview set the tone for this game almost before the band had left the field after the pregame festivities. Gull Lake fumbled in the opening kickoff and Lakeview’s Roger Williams scooped up the ball and ran it in for 19 yards to give the Spartans an 8-0 lead just nine seconds into the game.
After stopping Gull Lake on downs, Lakeview drove the field and Dre’On Kemp scored on a 21-yard touchdown run to make it 16-0 with 7:12 remaining in the first quarter.
A three-and-out by the Blue Devils gave the ball to Lakeview near midfield and the Spartans’ quick-strike offense scored again on a 49-yard touchdown scamper by Jay’Vion Settles and it was 23-0 with 5:26 still left in the first quarter.
“It was good to get off to the fast start, that’s always good for our team. We wanted to establish being physical tonight and we did that tonight,” Miller said. “Our kids got off the ball on both sides, there was some good hitting. We responded from not playing as well as we’d like to last week and played much better tonight and that was good to see.”
Lakeview would add two more scores before halftime on the touchdown run by Nichols and a 15-yard scoring run by Kemp to make it 37-0 at intermission.
The Spartans took the first drive in the second half and added another 20-yard touchdown run by Kemp to make it 44-0.
Lakeview’s final score came on a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Settles.
Gull Lake’s lone score came on a touchdown run from a yard out by Ben Kramer in the fourth quarter.
Gull Lake ends the season at 2-7.
Kemp led Lakeview with 100 yards rushing on just nine carries with Settles adding 70 yards on four carries.