IRON MOUNTAIN - Paul Brooks scored three touchdowns, and Taylor Huotari added two more as Iron Mountain pounced on Gwinn early and earned its first victory of the season, 45-21, in Mid-Peninsula football Thursday evening at steamy Mountaineer Stadium.
"I thought it was a good team win," Iron Mountain coach Robin Marttila said. "It was nice to get back on track. We got off to a good start in that first quarter. That's what you want to see."
The Mountaineers (1-1, 1-1) scored three first quarter touchdowns against the Modeltowners and upped the margin to 45-0 by halftime, making it a short night of work for the Iron Mountain starters.
Iron Mountain’s Paul Brooks (26) hits Gwinn quarterback Justin Nyquist as he throws late in the first half. Matt Willman (50) came up with the interception for the Mountaineers and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.
Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo
Two bad Gwinn snaps on punts and lengthy punt returns by Huotari and Shawn Sexton helped Iron Mountain work from a short field in the first half, as the Mountaineers scored on all six of their offensive possessions.
In fact, the Mountaineers went into halftime with a 45-0 lead despite not recording a single first down.
Zach Jacobs, who completed 4-of-5-for 91 yards, found Brooks in the flat cutting right to left for an 11-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
"Zach Jacobs made a nice play on our first touchdown pass," Marttila said. "He stepped up in the pocket nice and made a great play. I'm happy with Zach. It was a nice game from the quarterback position."
On the next series, Jacobs lofted a short pass over two defenders and into the arms of Tony Ward, who out ran everyone for a 56-yard score.
Huotari, moments after giving his team another short field with a 31-yard punt return, streaked down the left side for a 23-yard touchdown run, making it 19-0 after one quarter.
After Gwinn's second bad long snap of the night, Brooks took the first play of the second quarter up the gut for a two-yard tally. James Christiansen went up for a nice grab in the endzone for the conversion, giving Iron Mountain a 27-0 lead.
A long punt return from Sexton set Iron Mountain up at the Gwinn 10 for the next series, and Brooks capped the quick three-play drive with a one-yard plunge up the middle.
On the next Iron Mountain possession, Jacobs had to exit for a play to re-hydrate. Gerry Pirkola stepped in, and on fourth and two, rolled right and pegged Huotari for a 36-yard scoring strike.
Matt Willman added the final Iron Mountain points. He was among a group of Mountaineers rushing Gwinn's quarterback when Brooks applied a hit as the ball was thrown and Willman came up with the ball for a pick six that went 55 yards.
Four Mountaineers combined for three sacks.
"Defensively we played sound," Marttila said. "But we still have some work to do."
Stats in the contest were a bit skewed with the short field preventing the Mountaineers from really establishing any sort of a ground game. Iron Mountain finished with 70 yards rushing.
Gwinn totaled just six yards of positive offense in the first half before piling on more than 200 on the ground after halftime. Owen DeVooght finished with 129 yards on 17 trips, scoring from 13 yards out for the first Gwinn points late in the third quarter.
Cody Norman broke loose for a 42-yard touchdown, and quarterback Justin Nyquist went around the left side for a 52-yard scamper in the game's final minute.
"Gwinn had some kids out, but they fought to the very end," Marttila said. "That was evident."
Iron Mountain plays at West Iron County Sept. 7.
Gwinn 0 0 7 14 - 21
Iron Mountain 19 26 0 0 - 45
IM - Paul Brooks 11 pass from Zach Jacobs (Brooks kick), 8:25.
IM - Tony Ward 56 pass from Jacobs (kick failed), 4:26.
IM - Taylor Huotari 23 run (kick failed), 1:47.
IM - Brooks 2 run (James Christiansen from Jacobs), 11:49.
IM - Brooks 1 run (kick failed), 8:19.
IM - Huotari 56 pass from Gerry Pirkola (kick failed), 5:32.
IM - Matt Willman 50 interception return (kick failed), 2:41.
G - Owen DeVooght 13 run (DeVooght kick), 3:43.
G - Cody Norman 42 run (kick failed), 8:53.
G - Justin Nyquist 52 run (Norman run), 1:02.
Total yards - Gwinn 211 (220 run, -9 pass); IM 240 (70 run, 170 pass).
Rushing leaders - G: DeVooght 17-129, Norman 12-107; IM: Huotari 3-29, Brooks 6-12, Blake Menza 9-12.
Receiving leaders - G: Norman 1-6; IM: Huotari 2-57, Ward 1-56.
Pass - G: Nyquist 3-5-(-9)-0-1; IM: Jacobs 4-5-91-2-0, Pirkola 3-5-79-1-0.
Interceptions - IM: Willman.
Sacks - IM: Willman 1, Andy Michaud 1, Al Tomassoni 1/2, Brooks 1/2.
First downs - G: 11; IM: 2.
Penalties - G: 0-0; IM: 6-50.