Patriots pull out 18-16 comeback win at L’Anse

By PAUL PETERSON

Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

L’ANSE – With host L’Anse battling a rash of injuries on Friday night, a young but scrappy Westwood Patriots high school football team pulled out an 18-16 victory.

The Hornets lost both of their quarterbacks, Chase Sullivan and Kooper Jahfetson, during the course of this nonleague contest at Volunteer Field.

And tailback Chase Parker, who scored both of the Hornets touchdowns, exited because of injury in the third quarter. Junior center Tyler Yowell was already lost for the season last week.

“It was a tough, physical game and the (injuries) certainly didn’t help,” LHS coach Mark Leaf said afterward. “But Westwood played well and they deserved to win.”

Now 1-2 on the season, Westwood showed improvement. L’Anse slipped to 0-3.

“I’m happy with this win; we’re a young team,” WHS coach Scott Syrjala said. “The kids really wanted to win and figured out how to do it.

“This was really big, playing four full quarters of football.”

The Hornets were ultimately done in by WHS sophomore quarterback Nathan Beckman, who passed for three scores, completing 8 of 13 passes for 157 yards and no interceptions.

Each team came up just shy of 100 yards rushing, the Patriots earning 95 yards on 39 carries, Beckman carrying the big load with 86 yards in 24 attempts.

“(Beckman) did a nice job of throwing the ball,” Leaf said. “Their receivers got open and he got the ball to them.”

L’Anse totaled 99 yards rushing in 32 tries, with Foster Miller getting 68 yards in 18 attempts. The rotation of several Hornets’ QBs completed just 3 of 13 passes for 36 yards, though they had no pickoffs.

Things started out on a promising note for the Purple Hornets when they recorded a safety when Westwood’s Ashton Bergman was tackled in the end zone just 3:40 into the game.

After struggling on offense in the early going, L’Anse got moving in the second quarter with tailback Miller doing much of the work.

The Hornets also scored the first touchdown of the game when Sullivan found Parker with a 26-yard scoring pass. The 2-pointer on a pass from Parker to Dylan Grentz made it 10-0 in the second quarter.

Westwood bounced back when Beckman directed a short drive he capped off with a 15-yard TD pass to Jacob Adriano.

L’Anse answered when Parker scored on a 7-yard run to put the Hornets back up by 10 points, 16-6.

But the Patriots put together a two-minute drive and scored with 11 seconds left before halftime on a TD strike from Beckman to Ethan Burke. The PAT try failed, making it 16-12 at intermission.

Neither team moved the ball well after the break until the Pats took the lead for good on a 36-yard scoring pass from Beckman to Brett Fredrickson with 17 seconds left in the third quarter. A missed PAT try left Westwood clinging to a tenuous 2-point lead.

The Hornets, with Jahfetson at QB, mounted a couple of threats in the fourth. The first drive came to a halt when Ethan Homola sacked Jahfetson on a fourth-down play at the Westwood 10.

The last LHS threat ended when the Patriots knocked away a couple of passes thrown by Sullivan, who re-entered the game after Jahfetson went down.

Caleb Scroggs and Cole Younggren, the latter also dinged up late in the game, were defensive standouts for the Hornets.

Burke and Bergman played well on defense for Westwood.

On Friday, Westwood hosts Ishpeming while L’Anse travels to Hancock.