What was billed as the annual Battle of Bogie Lake instead became “The Takeover.”
Walled Lake Northern clinched its first-ever Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division title on Friday, Oct. 5 by hammering Huron Valley Lakeland, 51-6.
With the victory, the Knights (5-2 overall) completed North Division play with a perfect 5-0 record after starting the season with two non-league defeats.
Last Friday marked Northern’s second consecutive victory and fourth win in nine meetings over its big brother located just 2.5 miles up Bogie Lake Road.
But this was no ordinary victory for the Knights as it was as much a statement in the way they dominated the Eagles.
Prior to last Friday, Northern’s largest margin of victory against Lakeland was 9 points, which came in the second meeting of the two schools in 2005.
Northern also racked up 503 total yards, compared to 227 for Lakeland.
“I expected it to be closer, but I wasn’t as shocked as how we executed,” Northern Head Coach Brett Moore said. “The kids were so business-like, it was amazing. In my 13 years, I have never seen a team that focused.
“It felt great beating your rival. The kids were so happy and I’m so proud of all of them.”
Meanwhile, Lakeland (5-2, 3-2 in the KLAA North) is licking its wounds after being humbled in its homecoming game as it now has to win one of its final two games to clinch a state playoff berth.
“Northern came out and played inspired, error-free football,” Lakeland Head Coach John Maltese said. “I thought we had a good week of practice — we just didn’t execute the way we could have.”
Northern’s defense, which has improved considerably since the first two weeks of the season, set the tone early when Jake Ginster intercepted Lakeland’s Ross Heiman in the first quarter and returned the pick 27 yards to the Lakeland 28-yard line.
Knights’ quarterback Collin O’Donnell converted on the turnover with a 2-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 Northern lead.
Andrew Fee then added a 25-yard field goal for Northern in the first quarter before P.J. Kern scored on three consecutive rushing touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of 11 yards, 1 yard and 3 yards.
Matt Kosmalski then intercepted Heiman in the end zone when Lakeland had the ball at the Knights’ 5-yard line.
When halftime arrived, Northern held a 30-0 lead — much to the delight of its fans and the astonishment of Lakeland’s crowd.
The Knights poured it on in the second half as Ginster scored on a 30-yard touchdown run for a 37-0 lead.
Kosmalski then grabbed his second interception of the night, giving him five picks in his last four games.
He was then rewarded for his defensive efforts as O’Donnell connected with him for an 80-yard touchdown reception and a 44-0 lead.
After Matt Finn scored on a 40-yard touchdown run to round out Northern’s scoring, Nolan Johnson scored Lakeland’s only touchdown on a 57-yard run to break up the shutout.
O’Donnell completed 7-of-11 passes for 205 yards with a touchdown and an interception while also rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Kern finished with 74 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 16 carries, while Ginster had 62 yards rushing and a touchdown on six carries.
Kosmalski caught two passes for 109 yards while also finishing with six tackles on defense.
Jack Garrett led Northern’s defense with nine tackles, while Logan Hall had six and Josh Paul had five.
Meanwhile, Heiman completed 4-of-21 passes for 76 yards and three interceptions while Johnson had two carries for 60 yards.
Jack Flynn led Lakeland’s defense with eight tackles. Beau Whilhelm had an interception and Charles Sanders had a fumble recovery.
The Knights are now one victory away from achieving its ultimate goal, clinching the school’s very first state playoff berth.
However, they will face an even stiffer challenge on Friday, Oct. 12 when they travel to face a different team of Eagles in the form of undefeated Hartland in the KLAA Lakes Conference Championship game.
On Friday, Hartland (7-0) claimed the KLAA West Division title with a 34-22 victory at home over the defending champion, Grand Blanc, in a winner-take-all matchup.
Northern’s defense will have to contain Hartland quarterback Stephen Milarch, who had 158 yards rushing and a touchdown along with 101 yards passing against the Bobcats.
“It will be a wonderful game. Our secondary has to play good against Hartland and we have to play mistake-free football,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, Lakeland will look to rebound and clinch a state playoff berth when it travels to face the Howell Highlanders (4-3) in its KLAA crossover game on Friday.
“We just have to move on and get ready for Howell,” Moore said.