Ishpeming, Westwood all but assure themselves of high school football playoff berths with wins
BMUNISING — Ishpeming and Westwood both went on the road to pick up their sixth wins of the season to all but assure playoff berths iin high school football games played Friday night.
The Hematites won at Munising 54-6 while the Patriots went to Ironwood and defeated Gogebic 47-0.
While six-win teams in 11-player football aren’t guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, the MHSAA has repeatedly said that since the playoff field was doubled in 1999, no six-win team has been left out.
The 256-team field in 11-player football is filled out with 5-4 and 4-4 teams. Marquette and L’Anse still have a chance to reach the 5-4 plateau with wins this week.
Ishpeming 54, Munising 6
At Munising, senior quarterback John Corkin accounted for three touchdowns while senior running back Otto Swanson ran in for two as the Hematites built a 32-6 halftime lead.
But it was senior back-tight end Ben Pruett who led all rushers with 230 yards on 33 carries. He also scored a second-quarter TD of 3 yards.
“Our line play was fantastic,” IHS coach George Niemi said. “We were able to stop their runs.
“One of our goals at the start of the season was to make the playoffs, so we’re happy to have achieved that.”
Corkin scored the only touchdown of the first quarter on a 1-yard run, then Swanson scored from the same distance early in the second.
Senior tight end Jacob Kugler later caught a 34-yard scoring strike from Corkin before the TD by Pruett, who also finished with three 2-point conversion runs.
Munising scored all its points late in the first half when QB Josh Huotari scored on a 39-yard run.
Corkin, who had a pair of 2-point conversions, Swanson and sophomore back Dawson Delongchamp scored TDs on short runs in the second half.
Swanson contributed 88 yards rushing as Ishpeming (6-2) rolled up 398 yards on the ground in 62 tries. Overall the Hematites outgained Munising 432-78.
Huotari was the Mustangs’ top rusher with 43 yards in 13 tries as he completed 3 of 17 passes for 31 yards and an interception by Delongchamp.
Westwood 47, Gogebic 0
At Ironwood, the Patriots rolled up 388 yards on the ground and outgained the Miners 391-69.
Westwood (6-2) learned a lesson from past games, too.
“Last week, we scored early on L’Anse, but then we let up,” Pats head coach Scott Syrjala told the Ironwood Daily Globe. “So this week, the message was get up on them and don’t let up.”
They utilized the tried-and-true strategy of staying low along the line.
“Our line coach, Brad Wiljanen, does a great job with our guys,” Syrjala said. “He’s got them coming off the ball.”
That allowed senior back Chad Pohlman to roll up 149 yards in just four tries, while senior quarterback Taylor Dellangelo added 132 yards in 14 carries.
“They’re not the biggest backs, but they’ve got real good vision and cutting ability, and they’re pretty fast,” Syrjala said of the pair.
Westwood rolled to a 40-0 halftime lead before the running clock took effect.
On their first possession, Pohlman bolted through the middle for an 89-yard TD run and ran in the 2-pointer for an 8-0 lead. Dellangelo got outside the next time the Pats had the ball and ran 84 yards for another TD.
In the second quarter, Dellangelo ran in for a 7-yard TD on fourth down.
Following the recovery of an onside kick, senior Erik Anderson scored on a 10-yard run, while Garrett Sundberg added a 39-yarder following a Westwood fumble recovery. Anderson added 2-point runs on each of those TDs.
Pohlman notched the Pats’ only points of the second half when he returned a kickoff 65 yards for a TD and junior Michael Bossineau added a relatively rare for Westwood extra-point kick.
Gogebic’s top rusher was Tommy Lundin with 25 yards.
West Iron County 39, Gwinn 8
At Iron River, the Modeltowners (0-8) averted a shutout with about a minute left when sophomore back-receiver Shafaar Evans ran a stretch play to the left and scored a TD from 35 yards out. He added the 2-point run too.
But Gwinn head coach Dion Brown was disappointed that his team was never really in the game.
“I knew it was coming,” he said. “On the bus, the guys didn’t show any energy. And (WIC) really needed a win to clinch a playoff berth.
“You know you catch a game sometimes where it just wasn’t there for us.”
Evans was also the Modeltowners leading rusher, though Brown didn’t have numbers on him.
WIC (6-2) built a 33-0 halftime lead and spent much of the second half with a running clock after upping its lead to 39-0.
The Wykons’ Nathan Thomson accumulated 142 of his game-high 151 rushing yards in the first quarter when he scored both of his team’s TDs.
Manistique 19, Norway 14
At Manistique, QB Schyler Andersen scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run with three minutes left as the Emeralds improved to 3-5.
Trailing 14-13, Manistique recovered a Norway fumble and took over on the Knights’ 30-yard line midway through the fourth quarter to set up the drive.
“We got a bounce at the end and put together our best drive,” Emeralds’ coach Todd Kangas told the Escanaba Daily Press. “That was probably the best drive we had all night.”
The Knights still had a final chance in the final three minutes, keeping their last-gasp drive alive by converting on 4th-and-30 before Andersen intercepted a pass at his own 20 to seal it.
“We’ve been competitive in all our games,” Kangas said. “We’ve been right there with everybody and won three of our four home games.”
Andersen opened the scoring with a 75-yard TD run just 40 seconds in, though Norway responded on the ensuing possession with a Gannon Bray TD run to tie it 7-7.
Andersen put his team ahead again with a 70-yard score with 6:50 left in the opening quarter, but the Knights again responded with a 20-yard score from Ethan Sabotta to take a 14-13 lead before the opening quarter was over.
“They gave us more of an inside running attack and we had to take what they gave us, but we hurt ourselves with some penalties,” Kangas said. “Defensively, we did a pretty good job matching up with them.”
Iron Mountain 51, L’Anse 6
At L’Anse, the Purple Hornets (4-4) couldn’t match up with the Upper Peninsula’s No. 1 Small Schools team.
“I thought we played with them very well in that first half,” L’Anse head coach Mark Leaf told the Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton. “The effort was outstanding. Our kids came out and played very hard despite the fact that we were missing six starters.”
After IM built a 21-0 lead, L’Anse got its TD in the final two minutes of the first half when senior running back Jonah Dowd scored on a 6-yard run following a pitch from QB Alex Kissel. The 70-yard scoring drive featured a 41-yard run by Dowd and 24-yarder by junior Flash Gagnon.
The Mountaineers (8-0) put the game away with 23 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Cedarville 60, Superior Central 12
At Cedarville, the injury-plagued Cougars suffered another one a day before their trip east when their sixth starting QB of the season, Clayton Collier was hurt on Thursday.
The new starter, Kevin Wynn, was knocked out of the game in the first quarter, forcing a move to Zach Bukowski, their eighth QB. Tight end-defensive end Lucas Kanerva was also hurt and left the game early.
The Trojans (5-3) jumped out to a 16-0 lead before Bukowski scored on a 47-yard run late in the first quarter to cut their deficit to 10.
Cedarville then went on a 38-0 tear in the second quarter to put the game away.
Bukowski also scored the other TD for SC (2-6) while playing defense after he picked up a fumble and returned it in the latter stages of the third quarter.
Bukowski ran for 35 yards in 10 carries, while Jack Rondeau led the defense with 13 tackles and Ray Robinson had two tackles for loss. Freshman defensive back Lucas Swetich recorded five tackles and two tackles for loss.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee with contributions from the Ironwood Daily Globe, Houghton Daily Mining Gazette, Iron Mountain Daily News and Escanaba Daily Press. Email Brownlee at email@example.com.