Patriots Blank Hancock; Cruise To Homecoming Victory

The Westwood Patriots celebrated homecoming with a blowout win, rolling past Hancock 46-0 Friday night in Ishpeming.

Erik Anderson intercepted a Hancock pass on their opening possession, setting up Westwood at the Bulldog 45-yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Nathan Beckman scampered into the endzone for a five-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversation put the Pats ahead 8-0 with 9:20 left in the opening quarter.

Following a Bulldog punt, Beckman capped a seven-play, 53-yard scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion put Westwood up 16-0 at the 5:51 mark. Garrett Mann recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving Westwood the ball at the Bulldog 20-yard line. Two plays later, Beckman raced ten yards for his third rushing touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion gave the Pats a 24-0 advantage with 5:09 left in the opening quarter.

A five-play, 25-yard scoring drive late in the first quarter culminated with a four-yard touchdown run by Ashton Bergman. The conversion failed and Westwood led 30-0 at the 2:21 mark. The Pats opened the second quarter with a 72-yard scoring drive that spanned nine plays and ended with Beckman’s fourth rushing touchdown of the game. Westwood led 38-0 at halftime before Bergman dashed into the endzone from three yards out early in the third quarter to cap the scoring.

Beckman carried the ball 14 times for 114 yards and four touchdowns while Bergman touted the ball 24 times for 137 yards and two scores. Adam Hyttinen had the Patriots lone pass reception of the night; a 22-yard strike in the first quarter. The Patriots finished the game with 374 yards of total offense while limiting Hancock to just 38 net yards.

Westwood improves to 4-2 (3-1 West PAC-A) while Hancock drops to 2-4 (2-2) on the season. The Patriots return to action next Friday night at L’Anse, the game will be broadcast on ESPN UP and on the ESPN UP mobile app.

Area Well Represented In Latest UPSSA Football Poll

Four local teams find themselves in the latest Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football rankings.

Ishpeming (5-0) holds as the top-ranked team in the small schools category, garnering all six first place votes. Gwinn (4-1) fell two spots to fourth after suffering their first loss of the season last week against Houghton. The two squads will play this Friday night in Gwinn.

Westwood (3-2) checks in at number four in the large school division while Marquette (2-3) drops two spots to fifth after a three-point loss to Petosky on Saturday. Calumet (5-0) was unanimously selected for the top spot in the rankings. Westwood hosts Hancock (2-3) this Friday while Marquette visits Kingsford.

Full rankings:

1-Calumet (6) (5-0)
2-Escanaba (3-2)
3-Kingsford (2-3)
4-Westwood (3-2)
5-Marquette (2-3)
6-Gladstone (3-2)
7-Hancock (2-3)                       

1-Ishpeming (6) (5-0)
2-Iron Mountain (4-1)
3-West Iron County (4-1)
4-Gwinn (4-1)
5-St. Ignace (2-3)
6-L’Anse (3-2)
7-Norway (2-3)

1-Pickford (6) (5-0)
2-Engadine (4-1)
3-Stephenson (4-1)
4-Forest Park (3-2)
5-North Central (4-1)
6-Cedarville (3-2)

Westwood Football Picks Up Forfeit Victory, JV Rolls Manistique

The Westwood High School varsity and junior varsity football teams each picked up victories over Manistique this week; the Emeralds forfeited the varsity contest due to lack of available players and the Patriots JV squad cruised to a 36-6 win Thursday night in Ishpeming.

Westwood got the scoring going with 1:10 left in the first quarter as Travis Uren scampered 16 yards into the endzone, capping an 80-yard touchdown drive. Uren then converted the two-point try, giving the Pats an 8-0 lead. Westwood went up by two scores on their next possession as Luke Mariuzza capped a 90-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. The two-point conversion put Westwood up 16-0 with 7:11 left in the first half.

A promising Emerald drive stalled in the redzone when Zach Carlson came up with his second interception of the game. The Pats drove 91 yards in less than a minute, culminating in a 68-yard touchdown run by Stephen Kangus. The two-point try failed and Westwood led 22-0 at halftime.

The third quarter started with another long scoring drive as Westwood marched 85 yards down the field on their first possession, topped with a five-yard touchdown run from Uren. Following the failed two-point conversion, a botched Manistique punt gave Westwood the ball at the Emerald 32-yard line. Moments later, Mariuzza found the endzone from five yards out then carried the ball in for the extra two points on the next play. Manistique’s only score came on a 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter.

The Westwood JV team is now 3-1-1 on the season while the Patriot varsity squad moves to 3-2 overall.

Kickoff Show: Paul Jacobson, Negaunee Miners

2017: 4-5, missed playoffs

Key losses: TE Luke Mattson, OLB/FB Jake Hill, RB Robbie Williams

Key returners: QB Jason Waterman, WR Drew DuShane, OL Collin Remilong, MLB/FB Peyton Anderson

Experience and continuity are two luxuries coach Paul Jacobson lacked last year, which caused the Miners to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Now Negaunee returns nine starters on each side of the ball, including all-conference quarterback Jason Waterman and special teams player of the year Drew DuShane. Look for the Miners to be one of the top teams in the new WestPAC Big Division. 

Kickoff Show: Dave L’Huillier, Marquette Redmen

2017: 4-5, missed playoffs

Key losses: Greyson Anthos, Zack Albright

Key returners: Ethan Martysz, Drew Gale, Brendan Kaski, Austyn Tabbert, Ryan Houle

Getting “the little things” right is something you’ll hear coach Dave L’Huillier repeat this season. He says that’s part of the reason why Marquette had such an up-and-down season last year. The Redmen return two of the most dangerous playmakers in the Great Northern Conference and a seasoned quarterback who could propel Marquette to its first playoff appearance since 2014.

Kickoff Show: Jeff Olson, Ishpeming Hematites

2017: 3-6, missed playoffs

Key losses: QB Donald Denofre, TE/DB Aaron Corkin, OT Eric Heidelberger

Key returners: QB/DB Gavin Sundberg, RB/LB Drake Sundberg, RB/DB Hunter Smith

2017 was one of the most tumultuous seasons for Ishpeming football, with injuries and a tragic death at the school forcing the Hematites to forfeit two games. Many starters that missed most of last season due to injury are back, along with the sophomores who received more playing time than they ever expected. Can Jeff Olson bring the Hematites back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the state championship in 2015?

Kickoff Show: Dion Brown, Gwinn Modeltowners

2017: 3-6, missed playoffs

Key losses: RB/DB Marlin Moton, OL/DL Logan Kruhlik

Key returners: TE/LB Tucker Taylor, QB/DB Austin Forbes, RB/LB Seth Aho

Dion Brown’s Modeltowners were plagued by injuries and off-field issues, causing them to regress from their 2016 playoff season. Now back at full strength, Coach Brown thinks Gwinn can be a force in the WestPAC.