Macomb Lutheran North running back Jake Mlynarek races up the sideline for one of his three touchdowns in a 42-22 Sept. 28 win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

Macomb Lutheran North running back Jake Mlynarek races up the sideline for one of his three touchdowns in a 42-22 Sept. 28 win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Ground game pushes Lutheran North football past Liggett

Mustangs one win away from playoffs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published September 28, 2018

 Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett quarterback Ian Narva drops back to pass in a Sept. 28 loss to Macomb Lutheran North. Narva passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett quarterback Ian Narva drops back to pass in a Sept. 28 loss to Macomb Lutheran North. Narva passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Lutheran North football program hasn’t played into the postseason since 2010. A 42-22 Sept. 28 win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett moved the Mustangs to within one game of punching their ticket to the playoffs.

Lutheran North (5-1, 2-1 Catholic High School League Intersectional 1 Division) needs just one win in its last three regular season games to lock up a playoff spot. 

Liggett falls to 2-4, 0-2 CHSL Intersectional 1.

Garrett Wenzelburger is in his first year as Mustangs head coach. He said the season has gone almost too well to this point.

“I get nervous every week because I’m almost waiting for something back to happen,” said Wenzelburger, a biology teacher at Lutheran North. “You would have thought that with a new coach and a new system there would have been some issues but there haven’t been any.

“The thing about these guys is they’ve bought into everything we’re teaching.”

Mustangs senior Jake Mlynarek had a big night, rushing for 170 yards and three touchdowns, including 130 yard in the first half.

“That comes from our offensive line. They do all of the work blocking and opening up the holes for the running backs,” Mlynarek said. 

Lutheran North junior quarterback Angelo Basilisco in the first half rushed for 58 yards and two scores.

A win over Royal Oak Shrine Oct. 5 would put the Mustangs into the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Basilisco, a transfer from Macomb Dakota, said he and his teammate would relish in ending the program’s postseason drought.

“We thought we could be pretty good but to be the team that finally puts Lutheran North back into the playoffs would be special,” Basilisco said.

The Mustangs after a defensive stop didn’t waste any time getting on the board. Lutheran North took just three plays to take a 7-0 lead, as Basilisco scored on a three-yard plunge with 7:27 left in the first. 

The Knights answered back in a hurry. On the third play of its next drive, Liggett junior quarterback Ian Narva hit senior wide receiver Daniel Bowen as he raced up the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 5:36 left in the first. 

Basilisco would find the end zone again on the Mustangs next possession, taking off on a quarterback keeper and racing 27 yards for a score to put Lutheran North up 14-7 with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

The teams traded turnovers on the next two possessions before the Mustangs hit on  another big play. Mlynarek took a handoff 50 yards for a score to put Lutheran North up 21-7 with 8:33 left in the first half. 

The Mustangs next score came from an unlikely player, as defensive lineman Shayne Erni picked off a pass and rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown to to put Lutheran North up 28-7 with 7:14 left in the half.

Narva on Liggett’s next drive continued his strong night running the ball, racking up 65 yards rushing and a five-yard touchdown run to cut the Lutheran North lead to 28-14 with 3:35 left in the half. Narva in the first half rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, along with passing for 124 yards and a score.

The Mustangs offense kept their foot on the gas, following up the Knights score with a one-play scoring drive of their own, as Mlynarek scored on a 38-yard rush to give Lutheran North a 35-14 advantage with 3:27 left in the half.

After the Mustangs defense forced a Knights punt, Mlynarek again found the end zone, going 25 yards to put Lutheran North up 42-14 with 1:53 left in the first half.

“We hadn’t had a lot of big running plays up to this point in the season,” Wenzelburger said. “Our offensive line isn’t experienced, but they’re a good group. Our wide receivers did a good job of blocking down field. It was good to see us get some of those big plays in the run game.”

Things slowed down to a crawl in the second half. The lone score of the half came when Liggett’s Narva found Bowen for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 2:38 left in the game. A two-point conversion cut the Lutheran North lead to 42-22.

Narva in the loss threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 77 yards and another score.

Lutheran North’s game against Shrine is at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 on the road. 

Liggett in Week 7 takes on Allen Park Cabrini at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at home.