BRIGHTON — Given their druthers, the Brighton football team would likely prefer to have Will Jontz behind center.
But Spencer Mykols has responded very well when called upon, and as a result, Brighton is still in the thick of things in the KLAA Black Division title race.
The Bulldogs (3-2 overall, 3-1 KLAA Black) rolled past previously unbeaten Livonia Stevenson (4-1, 2-1), smothering a potent Spartans offense until Stevenson scored on its last drive.
That togetherness, Bulldogs coach Brian Lemons said, took hold in the locker room after warmups. That’s when the coaching staff decided that quarterback Will Jontz, who was still nursing an injured left shoulder, would not play.
“He was really close to (playing), ” Lemons said. “He’s a really talented kid, and we want to make sure he can protect himself. He came out and warmed up, the coaches discussed it in the locker room, and we decided to pull the plug.”
Spencer Mykols, who played so well in a win at Novi the previous week, got his first start.
“It was a lot slower,” he said. “It was more slow-motion, as opposed to (Novi) where I had a lot of adrenalin and wasn’t used to the speed. I played as best I could and I was super happy about it. It’s been a great experience the last two weeks.”
Mykols wasn’t spectacular, completing just 5-of-11 passes for 48 yards and two interceptions. But he also threw two touchdown passes and kept the Brighton offense moving.
Brighton never trailed in the game, and Rudy Ramirez’s kickoffs, all of which were touchbacks, and the Bulldogs defense did the rest.
“It was just assignment football,” said Matt Buschman, who ended Brighton’s scoring in the fourth quarter when he returned a Stevenson fumble 15 yards for a touchdown. “Everyone does their job, and they (Stevenson) can’t do anything. No one tries to be a hero or make a big play. As long as you do your job, they can’t do anything.”
Stevenson, whose quarterback Parker Graham had accounted for 345 yards the previous week against Howell, was kept in check until late in the fourth quarter, when the Spartans moved 80 yards in four plays. Before that, their longest drive had been seven plays for 33 yards.
“It was all 11 guys on the field,” Lemons said. “We didn’t have our (first-string) in the whole time. Our goal with the heat (the game started with temperatures in the low 80s) was to use the size of our roster to try and drain (Stevenson), and finish them off in the second half. You saw mistakes coming from that side of the ball in the second half that we were able to capitalize on.”