Hematites punish Lakes in 38-12 victory

Ishpeming’s Hunter Smith, right, is tackled by Lake Linden Hubbell’s Ben Wilson as the Hematites’ Drake Sundberg and the Lakes’ Caleb Gregiore converge on the play at right. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

ISHPEMING — Wham! Wham! Wham!

Those were the kinds of crushing blocks that the Ishpeming football team hit Lake Linden-Hubbell with Friday night.

As a result of those blocks, the Hematites running game had a fun evening, racking up 416 yards as Ishpeming romped over the Lakes 38-12.

When asked about his team’s tough blocking, Ishpeming head coach Jeff Olson said he and his coaching staff emphasize that on a daily basis.

“That’s something we preach all the time because we’ve got to come off the ball hard,” Olson said. “Even our backs were blocking well. They aren’t that big, but they were blocking well.

“It all starts up front and if you can’t control the line of scrimmage, then you’re going to have problems. I thought we controlled that, but Lake Linden made it difficult for us at times and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit because they aren’t that big, but they were getting in gaps and making things difficult.”

It may not appear that way by the score, but the Lakes did make things hard for Ishpeming at times on defense and LL-H head coach Andy Crouch was a lot happier with how things went against the Hematites than last week.

“We did a lot of good things today,” he said. “I’m a lot happier with the guys after this game than I was last week against Norway.”

It was on the losing end of the final score, but LL-H was the team that got on the scoreboard first as Kellen Klein took off up the middle for an 80-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage and just like that the Lakes were up 6-0.

Ishpeming shook off that quick blow, though, and scored on its opening drive. The Hematites rode their running game down to the LL-H 5-yard line when Hunter Smith plunged into the end zone. With the 2-point conversion, Ishpeming led 8-6.

After stopping the Lakes on fourth down at their own 45, Ishpeming struck again, this time on a 28-yard run by Gavin Sundberg, who finished with 203 yards on the ground. The Hematites picked up the conversion again and led 16-6 after one quarter.

Early in the second, Ishpeming padded its lead with another score, this time on a 43-yard sprint from Matt Trawick. Sundberg found Smith in the end zone for the conversion and the Hematites were up 24-6.

Ishpeming’s hard hitting came into play again on LL-H’s next possession. After Carter Crouch broke loose for a 54-yard run, bringing the ball to the Ishpeming 1, the Hematites defense stuffed Crouch four straight times and kept the Lakes out of the end zone.

The Lakes had another chance to cut into its deficit on its next series, but again, failed to score. Crouch found William Lyons for a 18-yard pass to bring the ball to the Hematites 7, but on 4th-and-goal, the junior QB’s pass fell incomplete.

Those two missed scoring chances burned the Lakes as Ishpeming kept rolling offensively in the second half. Late in the third, Sundberg took off on a 65-yard run and after two penalties pushed the Hematites back, Smith notched his second TD on a 30-yard run. The senior looked like he was stopped twice, but managed to break free of two tackles before finding an opening down the far sideline.

The Hematites scored for the final time early in the fourth. After Sundberg found Chase Jensen for a 26-yard pass, Drake Sundberg powered his way in from a yard out to put Ishpeming up 38-6.

The Lakes scored on a 1-yard run by Carter Crouch with 6:46 left, but the outcome of the game wasa already determined.

With the Hematites sitting at 2-0, Olson likes where his team is at, but said that the Hematites need to keep improving as they have a tough slate to come. He also enjoys having a healthy squad after being hammered by injuries last year.

“This is the first time in three years that we’ve been healthy, and fingers crossed, we’ve got to stay that way,” he said. “If we can do that, we’ve got the chance to be a good football team.”

Ishpeming hosts Norway on Friday, while LL-H hosts Gwinn next Saturday.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.