Lapeer aims to remain perfect in Grand Blanc showdown

Grand Blanc & Lapeer will do battle on the Lightning’s infamous gray turf on Friday night. Listen LIVE on ESPN 100.9-FM beginning at 6:30pm.

By @EvanPetzold

In a 49-7 loss to Davison a week ago, Grand Blanc’s defense looked non-existent.

Davison senior quarterback Cannon Hall tested defensive backs Kortez Toles and Myles McNeal twice in the win, which might just have been the key to success. The Cardinals forced Grand Blanc to stop the run, in which the Bobcats were unsuccessful.

Lapeer, at an undefeated 5-0 in 2018, brings another impressive running back to the table in senior Jalen Kirkland. If the Bobcats (4-1) aim to defeat the Lightning, the front seven will have to slow down the run game.

The two teams face off at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Lapeer High School Football Stadium.

“I’m definitely looking forward to how big of a test it’s going to be,” said Lapeer senior quarterback Brady Apple. “They’re a team that’s loaded with athletes and are going to really come out and compete like nobody we have seen so far.”

Kirkland has carried the ball 47 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns, but he is not the only running threat for Lapeer. Brandon Lilly’s stat line features 23 rushes for 158 yards, and senior Brandon Pretty has 132 yards and three scores on just 12 carries.

The run game success of Kirkland, Lilly and Pretty has more to do with Lapeer’s offensive line. At least that’s how Apple views it under center. The offensive line is anchored by senior right guard Will Sollie and four others of the same grade.

“I believe they’ve been the sole reason for our success so far on offense this season,” Apple added. “They’ve been getting big holes to open up and we’ve been able to rotate multiple running backs who have done great jobs of hitting the holes.”

Apple, at 6-foot-2, 186 pounds, is 44-of-70 through the air this season for 732 yards and six touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception.

However, Tolez and McNeal are the best cornerback duo in the Saginaw Valley League. Apple said he plans to trust the game plan, even against two opponents that are expected to be key factors in the future at the college level.

“We are just going to stick with what we do and trust my guys to go make plays,” Apple added.

On the other side of the ball, Grand Blanc junior quarterback Tylor Leedom will be making his third start of the season, taking over for senior Ryder Brotebeck after Week 2.

Leedom is 21-for-30 passing with 414 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. Against a stout Davison defense a week ago, he only managed one touchdown on 5-of-16 completed throws.

Without a consistent run game for the Bobcats, Leedom could be forced to throw more often than not against a tough Lapeer front seven.

Junior LaTrell Fordham, who has an offer to play basketball at Georgia Tech, is Leedom’s greatest downfield target. He also has options in senior receivers Luke Bogan, Ethan Asperger and Cedric Givens.

Lapeer aims to continue its undefeated stretch to start the 2018 season, while Grand Blanc hopes to spoil the Lightning on the road in Week 6.