Leave No Doubt

Gutsy last second call leads to season-ending win over Northern

by Published: Nov 14, 2012

Handoff Hands Off: Bulldog quar­ter­back Jason Vander Laan pre­pares for the hand­off to run­ning­back Korey Ringer against Northwood. Ferris State closed out the reg­u­lar sea­son with a 32–31 vic­tory against Northern Michigan. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Head coach Tony Annese chan­neled his inner Bill Yoast at Northern Michigan and decided to “leave no doubt,” as Yoast puts it in the Disney movie “Remember the Titans.”

A seven play, 93-yard drive that was capped by a Jake Lampman 13-yard touch­down recep­tion ended with just nine sec­onds remain­ing in reg­u­la­tion. Down 31–30, Annese pulled out all the stops and decided to go for the kill rather than overtime.

The gam­ble paid off, as junior wide receiver Torico Searcy found him­self in the end­zone, giv­ing the Bulldogs a one-point lead. A des­per­a­tion heave by Northern Michigan fell harm­lessly to the Superior Dome turf, and Ferris found itself at 7–4.

The win marks the sec­ond time in 10 years that Ferris foot­ball has won seven games, the last being an eight win 2006 campaign.

Though the Bulldogs will miss the play­offs this year, 2012 marks a chang­ing in the pro­gram. Seniors line­backer Tayo Moss, defen­sive end Brad Iskow, defen­sive end Jordan Morgan, run­ning back Skyler Stoker, defen­sive back Jaime Barrera and wide receiver Kevin Guirand are on their way out, but Annese has put Ferris foot­ball back on the map.

“I feel like the coach­ing staff put a lot more empha­sis on unity and team,” sopho­more wide receiver Jake Lampman said.

The Bulldogs used a wide array of backs in rush­ing this sea­son, to the point where they led the GLIAC in rush­ing. The next clos­est team in the con­fer­ence, Ohio Dominican, racked up 600 fewer yards on the ground

“We feel like we beat our­selves this year,” Lampman said. “We feel as if we have the skill set and game plan to beat any team we play.”

The 7–4 Bulldogs were not with­out their flaws despite their record.

Lampman cited the inabil­ity to get all three phases of the game on the same page every game. In a game where the offense clicked, Vander Laan had five total touch­downs and 300 yards pass­ing against Michigan Tech, while the Bulldogs gave up 543 yards and 49 points nar­rowly defeat­ing MTU.

In a game where the defense held Walsh to 14 points, the Bulldogs’ offense didn’t seem to wake up until their 14 point fourth quar­ter, which pro­pelled them to a 20–14 win.

The team con­sis­tently scored points and broke team rush­ing records this season.

Yet with the Bulldogs’ four best defend­ers in Iskow, Morgan, Moss and Barrera depart­ing, Ferris will need to fill the holes on defense.

Annese has changed the team’s mind­set and put it in a com­plete 180-degree spin from years past.

“I feel like we’re done los­ing,” Lampman said. “We’re not that team on the sched­ule that peo­ple look at and say, ‘We almost lost to [Ferris].’ We’re going to be a pow­er­house foot­ball team.”

There will be an excit­ing off-season full of antic­i­pa­tion ahead, and with the con­fi­dence pour­ing out of the locker room, there isn’t much doubt of where Annese has his dogs are headed.