Football: IM takes control, sinks Norway

Iron Mountain’s Bryce Pietrantonio (25) runs behind blocking from Jacob Maxon (52) as Norway’s Dominic Rossato (61) tries to make a tackle on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in Norway, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

NORWAY — Two heat waves rolled through Ronberg Field on Friday night.

First, it was 82-degree sunny weather. From the second quarter on, it was Iron Mountain in a 35-7 win over Norway in a West PAC crossover game.

The Mountaineers (3-1) scored 28 unanswered points to secure the win. Quarterback Marcus Johnson ran for two scores and passed for another in the win.

Iron Mountain gained 281 yards on offense including 119 passing and 162 rushing. Johnson completed 10 of 11 passes.

“I thought it was a great team win. Hats off to our offensive and defensive lines,” Iron Mountain head coach Robin Marttila said. “I thought they did a great job on both sides of the ball. We had some playmakers taking a turn making a play from Marcus Johnson, Charlie Gerhard, Caleb Evosevich-Hynes, Bryce Pietrantonio. Zach Herrick had a heck of a game on both sides of the ball. He’s a good football player.”

Bryce Pietrantonio paced the Mountaineers’ rushing attack with 103 yards on 13 carries. His 41-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter put the Mountaineers up by three scores.

Jake Dumais and Pietrantonio led Iron Mountain’s defense with seven tackles apiece.

Evosevich-Hynes had an interception in the third quarter to further sway momentum in Iron Mountain’s favor.

Norway had 262 yards of offense including 233 on the ground and 29 passing. But the Knights stalled on most drives, punting three times and turning the ball over on downs three more times.

The Knights’ lone score came on a 21-yard pass from Trey Doda to Kody Hendricks, tying the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.

Norway also started three drives inside its own 25 and another inside the 30.

“We got outplayed. We got out-hit, probably got out-coached,” Norway head coach Bob Madigan said. “The kids didn’t play very well. But we’ll get better and rebuild and we’ll do better next week. Hopefully.”

With the Knights coming off a 46-19 thumping against Ishpeming last week, Madigan said he was looking for more energy than what his team showed against the Mountaineers.

“We didn’t play very well. We didn’t play a good game. I thought it could’ve been more competitive,” Madigan said. “I thought our kids could’ve played with a little more emotion. It’s a gut-check right now. We’re 2-2 and we got a real good team coming up. Some teams we should be pretty competitive with after that. We’ll see what we can do this next week of practice and shore some things up and work on our tackling and blocking.”

Marttila said Norway’s ability to rotate players and maintain momentum was a key focus. He said he was pleased with the team’s ability to stick to individual defensive assignments.

“Everyone had an assignment,” Marttila said. “We weren’t trying to take away any one player. We were trying to do a good job on all of them.”

On offense, the Mountaineers keyed on Norway’s defensive alignments to determine. But Iron Mountain made use of open space, whether it was a pass to Gerhard, a handoff to Evosevich-Hynes or Pietrantonio, or rolling Johnson out either side of the pocket.

“We were trying to take what they gave us. I like to think we got our passing game going,” Marttila said. “It was good tonight. It wasn’t too long. It was short and effective. It’s tough to guard kids one on one playing football then you got a quarterback that can make the play, make the right read. Just an all-around good game, simple as that.”

Madigan said Iron Mountain’s success at getting first downs also kept Norway from flipping momentum.

“They have a lot of weapons over there. They really mixed things up on us,” Madigan said. “Their quarterback is really good. He threw it up a lot. I can’t remember a lot of drops or misses. They played a good game. They played the game they needed to play to beat us. They didn’t want to get into a slugfest with us. They wanted to use their athletes and use their space. And they did a good job with that. I give Coach Marttila a lot of credit with that.”

The win helps Iron Mountain gather momentum before hosting Bark River-Harris next week. Norway plays at Calumet.

Iron Mountain 7 14 7 7 — 35

Norway 7 0 0 0 — 7

First Quarter

IM — Pietrantonio 5 run (Evosevich-Hynes kick), 7:30

N — Hendricks 21 pass from Doda (Benjamin kick), 2:18

Second Quarter

IM — Johnson 1 run (Evosevich-Hynes kick), 9:29

IM — Johnson 4 run (Evosevich-Hynes kick), 3:26

Third Quarter

IM — Pietrantonio 41 run (Evosevich-Hynes kick), 3:22

Fourth Quarter

IM — Gerhard 8 pass from Johnson (Evosevich-Hynes kick), 7:48