IRON MOUNTAIN - The math is simple.
The 2-2 Mountaineers have five chances left to win four more football games in order to be guaranteed a spot in the postseason.
"Right now we're concerned with winning the third football game of our season," Iron Mountain head coach Robin Marttila said as his team prepares to visit Westwood Friday night. "Yeah, we know the situation we're in. If you win six, you're in. If you win five, you have a chance, and if you win four you can't make it.
North Dickinson quarterback Kenny Pekarek (4) hands off to Dominic Christian (15) in last week’s Mid-Eastern Conference clash against Stephenson. The Nordics rolled, 55-30.
Rand Hruska Photo
"Bottom line is we have to win Friday night. We're 2-2. Our record is what it is. We want to be 3-2."
The Mountaineers will face a Westwood team playing just its second Mid-Peninsula Conference game of the season. Last week, the Patriots fell to conference leader Ishpeming 38-8.
"They played a very good team in Ishpeming last week and things didn't go their way," Marttila said. "So I know they want to change that this week."
Westwood, like the Mountaineers, shows a 2-2 overall record.
"Westwood is in the exact same boat (as us)," Marttila said. "I know their coaching staff and players want to make the playoffs.
Marttila said the Patriots have good size up front on their offensive and defensive lines.
"They start a lot of seniors on both sides of the ball," he said.
Westwood, primarily an I-formation offense, has experienced runners in the backfield. Fullback Zack Rankinen is listed third in the Mid-Pen with 394 yards through four games, with four touchdowns. He is averaging seven yards per carry. Tailback Francois Montbrun is sixth in the league with 333 yards (5.7 per carry) and five scores.
"Their quarterback is a big kid too," Marttila said. "He's 6-4, 175 pounds."
Westwood will occasionally show a double twin look, and quarterback Nate Clisch has passed for 205 yards with three touchdowns this season.
The big question for the Mountaineers is the health of Paul Brooks, who did not play after halftime in last week's loss to Negaunee after spraining his ankle. Brooks is closing in on 400 yards rushing, and has scored six touchdowns this season.
Also being held out of practice this week is Tony Ward, who hasn't played since the victory over Gwinn.
"I don't know if Paul Brooks or Tony Ward is going to play," Marttila said. "We just don't know. I'm hoping for good news by Friday night."
Iron Mountain beat Westwood 27-0 last year. The Mountaineers haven't lost to the Patriots since 1992.
"If you want to give yourself the best chance to make the playoffs, you win your third game this Friday night," Marttila said. "It's going to be a tough game, just like every other week in the Mid-Pen Conference."
Friday's kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
In other games this weekend:
Friday, Sept. 21
Norway (2-2, 0-1) at Ishpeming (4-0, 3-0), Mid-Peninsula, 6:30 p.m. - Coach Bob Madigan's Knights will be facing a Hematite offense that can rack up yards on the ground and in the air.
Ishpeming quarterback Alex Briones threw for 176 yards and two scores in a 38-8 rout of Westwood.
"Westwood's defense dictated that early," Ishpeming Coach Jeff Olson said. "They were loading up a lot of guys against the run and just playing man (pass) coverage on the edge."
Ishpeming back Eric Kostreva rushed for 158 yards on 17 trips.
Bark River/Harris (0-4, 0-2) at North Dickinson (4-0, 3-0), Mid-Eastern, 6 p.m. - Coach Joe Reddinger's Nordics will try not looking ahead to next week's showdown with Forest Park.
The Broncos bowed to North Central 26-6 last week.
"It's an inner pride thing," BRH Coach Brad Wiljanen said. "We got outplayed a little bit, and as coaches I think we didn't figure things out fast enough."
North Central (3-1) at Forest Park (4-0), 6:30 p.m. - Coach Bill Santilli's Trojans rested last week after a bruising 13-12 win over Great Western Conference foe Hurley.
"We work on never quitting," said Santilli, whose Trojans rallied from a 12-0 deficit to extend the Midgets' losing streak to seven at Dick Mettlach Field.
While Forest Park won on forfeit over Ontonagon, Coach Kevin Bellefeuil's Jets held Bark River-Harris to 170 yards total offense.
"We played awful hard," Bellefeuil said. "I think our kids played great defensively."
Laona/Wabeno (2-2, 2-1) at Florence (1-3, 1-2), Northern Lakes, 7 p.m. - Coach Dan Robinson's Bobcats may be out of the league race but the playoffs remain a viable goal.
Unbeaten Crandon pinned the first NLC loss on the Rebels, erupting in the second half for a 40-21 win, after trailing 16-8 at halftime.
Saturday, Sept. 22
Houghton (0-4, 0-3) at West Iron County (2-2, 1-1), West PAC, 2 p.m. - Coach Mike Berutti's Wykons walloped Ironwood to snap a two-game losing streak.
"From the moment they (Wykons) touched the ball, they were perfect," Ironwood Coach Dan Niemi said after the 55-12 romp. "We would grind it down and they would pop one play."
The winless Gremlins scored first in a 28-15 setback to Calumet.
"They wore us down. Physically, they wore us down," Houghton Coach Karl Borree said. "They have a good strong program and they wore us down with skill and people."
Menominee Indian (0-4, 0-2) vs. Northern Elite (1-3, 1-1) at Goodman, Northern Lakes, 1 p.m. - Coach Ben Laarman's Predators, coming off a victory against rival Florence, play their annual game in Goodman.
The Eagles have been outscored 32-137 in their winless campaign.