IM, Westwood now a West PAC test

New territory, same enemy.

Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo Iron Mountain’s Charlie Gerhard (44) leads the way for Caleb Evosevich-Hynes in last week’s season-opening win over Negaunee.

As Iron Mountain navigates its first year in the West PAC, the schedule brings about the same Mid-Peninsula Conference opponents from the past.

So far.

This week, the Mountaineers (1-0) visit Westwood.

The Patriots (1-0) beat Iron Mountain last year 34-0 for the first time since 1992.

This year, with Iron Mountain fielding more than the 15 players from a year ago, Mountaineers head coach Robin Marttila has his sights set on a win. But it won’t come easy against the traditionally physical Patriots.

“I would say they’re very physical. They remind me a lot of Kingsford in terms of their physical play,” Marttila said. “They might not be as big as like a Negaunee team but they are physical on both sides of the ball. I guess that jumps out a lot like Kingsford in terms of their physicality.”

Iron Mountain is coming off a 12-9 win over traditional MPC foe Negaunee. The Mountaineers overcame a nine-point halftime deficit. Westwood is coming off a 42-0 onslaught against Houghton.

After going through growing pains through all of last year, Marttila said he likes the way his team has progressed to this point in the season.

“Last year we had a bunch of kids playing. A lot of those kids are still playing this year,” Marttila said. “Obviously they are better, as you would expect, as you would hope for, as you worked for. We had a lot of juniors playing for the first time. We had three sophomores playing for the first time. It was eye-opening in that first half – Negaunee’s size, their physical play. But we relied on each other and stuck together and got it done in the end. That was great to see.”

Iron Mountain’s home opener is Sept. 7 against Houghton. It’ll be the first time the Mountaineers have ever hosted the Gremlins.