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Patriots find their offense

ISHPEMING – Head coach Scott Syrjala liked what he saw of his Westwood High School football team Friday night.

And why wouldn’t he?

The Patriots played error-free ball, picked off two Gwinn passes and ended an offensive drought in a 39-22 Mid-Peninsula Conference win over the Modeltowners.

“We played well,” Syrjala said after his team improved to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in league play on homecoming. “Anytime you beat an M-PC opponent, it’s a good win.

“We’re getting there. We’re starting to limit our mistakes and … controlled the line of scrimmage. We used our techniques and made our reads.”

Senior Darren Wing ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third. Teammate Luke Gray – another senior – ran for two more.

Wing (nine rushes for 109 yards and Gray, 21-101) combined for 210 yards on the ground.

“The linemen did a great job lead-blocking for me and Darren,” Gray said. “It was almost what hole we wanted to pick when we had the ball.”

Gray gave Westwood an early lead with a 9-yard TD run that broke Westwood’s scoreless streak of six quarters.

“We had a good game plan and that (TD) gave us some confidence on offense,” Syrjala said.

But Gwinn (1-5, 1-3) came right back on the next play from scrimmage with a 70-yard scoring run by Hunter Bachman.

“We didn’t read our key on that play,” Syrjala said. “We had worked hard to stop that play all week (in practice).”

Bachman had been moved into the backfield from his wide receiver spot when the Modeltowners’ starting backs – Devin Dachs and Chris Bosworth – had to sit out due to academic issues.

“We had a new wrinkle on that play,” Gwinn head coach Dion Brown said. “We knew we would hit it big on that one.

“We moved the ball tonight, but we dropped a couple of passes and missed some blocks. We have to execute better.”

Westwood’s Nicholas Briones caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Wing, then the Patriots got a safety – for an 18-6 halftime lead – when a snap from center sailed over the Gwinn punter’s head into the end zone.

After a scoreless third period, Westwood sandwiched a Gwinn 35-yard TD pass from Kevin Roberts to Theodore Redlon with a 6-yard Gray scoring burst and a 52-yard Wing TD scamper for a 33-14 lead with 5:59 left.

A 2-yard Wing TD and a 53-yard TD pass from Gwinn’s Roberts to Desmond Boogren ended the scoring.

Bachman wound up with a Gwinn-high 138 yards rushing on 12 carries; Roberts completed 3 of 14 passes for 101 yards.

He had a pair of passes intercepted by Gray and Wing, however.

“Westwood just grinded it out,” Brown said. “They made a few more bigger plays than we did.”

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.