ISHPEMING - Eric Kostreva was literally king for a day Friday in Ishpeming.
Named Ishpeming High School's Homecoming king earlier in the day, the 5-foot-7, 185-pound senior tailback put on a show against the visiting Norway Knights.
Kostreva rushed for 159 yards on just 10 carries, ran for three touchdowns and had another TD on an 88-yard kickoff return.
The Ishpeming Hematites take the field for their Homecoming football game against Norway on Friday. The Hematites wore pink uniforms in support of breast cancer awareness. (Journal photo by Zachary Jay)
Ishpeming’s Eric Kostreva breaks into open field on a run in the first quarter of the Hematites Homecoming game against Norway on Friday. (Journal photo by Zachary Jay)
"It's awesome," he said after Ishpeming's 45-6 Mid-Peninsula conference victory. "It's my biggest day in high school."
Kostreva also intercepted a pass as the Hematites - wearing pink jerseys instead of their normal home dark blue to draw attention to breast cancer awareness - came one step closer to an automatic state playoff berth.
"The line blocked well for Eric, but some of the yards he made were on his own," IHS head coach Jeff Olson said as his Hematites improved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in league play.
"He has been our go-to back recently and getting better every week. He has good vision, can run laterally and makes people miss (tackles)."
Kostreva gave IHS a quick lead with a 71-yard scoring burst on his team's third play from scrimmage.
"A great block by Adam (Prisk) got me to the outside and I was one-on-one with the safety," he said. "I just made a move on him to the end zone."
Said Olson: "Scoring early in an M-PC game is big. It just gives you confidence. The kids came off the ball well tonight."
Just three plays later, Kostreva intercepted a Norway pass to put the ball on the Knights' 32. Soon afterward, he gave Ishpeming a 14-0 lead just 6:13 into the game with a 6-yard TD run.
"I dropped back into my zone and saw my guy behind me," the linebacker said. "The quarterback (Isaac Bray) looked right at him and I cut in front.
"I didn't think (Bray) was going to throw the pass."
Hunter Wirtanen then scored off a 7-yard pass interception and Kostreva added a 35-yard TD run for a 27-0 Ishpeming first-quarter lead.
"The guys (on the offensive line) are so smart and work so hard," Kostreva said. "I get tons of help from them. If I can't get the one-on-ones, that means there are no holes."
Norway (2-3, 0-2), limited to just six first downs and 85 total yards, got its lone score on a Bray 3-yard burst early in the second quarter.
A 29-yard pass from Bray to Austin Grayvold helped set up the TD.
But Kostreva ended any Norway hopes for a comeback the very next play, running back the ensuing kickoff 88 yards to paydirt with some nifty moves during his run.
"The front (blocking) wall had to get their solid blocks so I could see where to run," he said. "They did, I cut off the biggest opening and just took off for the end zone."
A Tyler Windahl 3-yard TD run, helped by another Prisk block, and field goals of 18 and 20 yards by Eric Dompierre engaged a running clock late in the third quarter and ended the scoring for the night.
"We knew how good Ishpeming was," Norway head coach Bob Madigan said. "We're missing a couple of key kids and have had a tough couple of weeks with injuries.
"But the kids played hard the whole game. We were just outmatched.
"Their No. 11 (Kostreva) is good. No. 17 (quarterback Alex Briones) is good and No. 78 (Brad Wootke) is a good lineman," he added.
"They have a good team. They should go deep into the playoffs."
Grayvold wound up with three catches for 43 yards for the Knights; teammate Elliott Reid came up with two receptions for 38.
Windahl finished with 64 yards rushing on 18 carries for IHS, while he and Mitch Laurin recorded sacks.
"We put a lot of things together," Olson said.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.