Patriots stymie Ishpeming to tune of a 38-0 shutout
By RYAN SPITZA
Journal Sports Writer
ISHPEMING — Call it a statement win.
That’s what the Westwood football team made it look like on Friday night.
The Patriots marched their defense into the Ishpeming Playgrounds, shutting out the Hematites 38-0 in this year’s battle of next-door foes.
Ishpeming was shutout for the first time since 2016, while it was Westwood’s first victory on the field over the Hematites since 1998.
The Patriots defense forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of Ishpeming senior quarterback John Corkin, while the offense also had a strong showing with three passing touchdowns and a running TD from senior quarterback Taylor Dellangelo.
Dellangelo had one of the picks while seniors Erik Anderson and Chad Pohlman had the other two, with Pohlman’s being taken back for a touchdown.
Westwood head coach Scott Syrjala was delighted with his team’s performance on the defensive side of the ball as it improved to 2-2.
“I cannot be happier with our defense,” he said. “We were out-weighed pound for pound right across the line, man for man. Ishpeming’s line is humongous. Our kids did it. They fought, they believed, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
“I thought the unsung hero (tonight) … was Garrett Mann. He played not only phenomenal at linebacker, but he also had some great blocks (on offense) that sprung Dellangelo.”
Westwood held Ishpeming to just 87 yards total offense.
Syrjala called it a big win for his young team, which played mistake-free all evening.
“Ishpeming is a storied program. They have great kids, great coaches and are a traditional football powerhouse and we knew it,” Syrjala said. “It was a battle in that first half, we had some things that we didn’t capitalize on and I was trying to get on our kids. Our kids are young. We’re young and we’re learning how to put teams away.”
There weren’t too many talking points for Ishpeming head coach George Niemi, who found the silver lining in saying it’s only their first loss (3-1 record) and it’s back to the drawing board.
“It’s one game,” he said. “We’ll refocus, we’ll take a look at the film, we’ll see where they were able to beat us. We’ve got to shore up some things with our pass coverage and go back to practice and see if we can fix this stuff.
“Hats off to Coach Syrjala and the Patriots. They had a great game plan, they executed it and they came away with the victory.”
Westwood set the tone early, taking its first possession to an 11-play, five-minute drive to get to the end zone first with Dellangelo finding Pohlman on a 6-yard pass.
Dellangelo took a 20-yard rush to the house with 6:35 remaining in the second, making it 16-0.
Ishpeming kicked up the tempo on its ensuing drive, going no-huddle to try and wear the Patriots defense down.
The Hematites made it 25 yards downfield on nine plays before Corkin fumbled the snap, which was recovered by Westwood senior Ty Alderton 2:31 before halftime.
The Hematites made a goal line stand as time expired in the first half, with the Patriots failing to convert on a from the 4-yard line as time ran out.
Corkin threw his first pick to Anderson on the opening drive of the second half, and on the next play, Dellangelo found Anderson wide open and deep over the middle for a 52-yard TD.
Corkin was picked again on the next drive, this time by Dellangelo. Much like the previous touchdown, Dellangelo found Anderson wide open again, this time for a 33-yard reception to make it 32-0.
The Patriots added one more score in the fourth on Corkin’s third interception of the night, which become Pohlman’s pick-six play from 37 yards out.
Dellangelo finished 10 for 20 through the air for 156 yards, while adding 94 yards on the ground on 15 carries.
The Patriots had 170 yards rushing and 326 yards of total offense. Anderson had three receptions for 102 yards.
Corkin led the Hematites’ ground attack with 57 yards on 13 carries.
Email Ryan Spitza at email@example.com.