NOVI — Spencer Mykols waited his whole life for the opportunity to play quarterback for the Brighton football team.
When it came, he not only performed admirably, he might have saved their season.
Mykols came into the game early in the first quarter after starter Will Jontz left with an injured left shoulder, and proceeded to throw two touchdown passes and score what turned out to be the winning touchdown in the third quarter as Brighton beat Novi 28-14 on Friday night at Novi High School.
“I’ve been in this program for 11 years, and I’ve overcome a lot,” a beaming Mykols said afterward. “I’ve been so dedicated to come out here. … It’s the best feeling of my life.”
The opportunity came after a lot of hard work. “He was our third quarterback last year, and he’s really improved a ton,” Brighton coach Brian Lemons said during the first week of workouts.
Mykols stumbled on an early carry, which he attributed to adrenalin, but he was a steady hand afterward completing 10 of 14 passes for 99 yards and the two touchdowns, both to Drew Billig, and rushing 11 times for 29 yards and the score.
“I was ready for the moment,” he said. “Ask anyone on the team. I know the offense really well. I’ve played football every year I can (11 years, by his account). I look to execute every play my best and I try to make plays.”
Mykols’ teammates noticed his work ethic, leading to a seamless transition.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” tackle Andrew Meyer said. “I don’t think out team was either, because we know our backup quarterback can get the job done.”
He did it, of course, with help from a defense that shut the Wildcats down in the second half and an offensive line that sprung running back Chris Seguin for 105 rushing yards, 34 more than the Bulldogs had as a team the week before, snd 235 overall.
“Our line did a terrific job,” Lemons said. “They owned the line of scrimmage.”
Still, the game was tied at halftime, and during the intermission, the team gathered near its team trailer in the south end zone.
During that time, Lemons said, he and his assistants addressed the team.
“There wasn’t any yelling,” Lemons said. “There wasn’t any screaming. Coaches pulled each of their position groups aside and they just got back to the basics and really coached them up at halftime. It was awesome. It was amazing the difference (adjusting) one thing or another makes, and it was evident in the second half.”
Lemons also made an important point to his team before it went back onto the field.
“We played with some heart, really,” Billig said of the second half. “We were flat in the first half. Coach gave us a nice little talk, putting things in perspective in this game and we came out and had the heart to play.”
By doing so, the Bulldogs (2-2 overall, 2-1 KLAA Black) kept themselves in the thick of the KLAA Black race going into next weekend’s showdown with unbeaten Livonia Stevenson.
Asked whether the win was a relief, Lemons chuckled.
“No one wants to lose, right?” he said. “The relief is in seeing them execute. Win or lose, seeing them execute and playing as a team is a highlight of our season so far.”
It certainly was a highlight for Mykols, who rose from third- to second-string in the offseason, waited his turn, and made the most of it.
It was a performance that can inspire a team at the least, and certainly one Mykols will never forget.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said as his teammates teased him while being interviewed. “I love Brighton. It’s Friday night lights and I’m glad to be a part of it. I’ve been waiting a long time. … and I’m super thrilled. I waited my turn and finally got the payoff.”