NORWAY - Norway scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and never looked back, tallying its first football win of the season with a 48-8 romp over Manistique Friday night at Ronberg Field
"They put so much time and effort into practice," Knights' coach Brad Grayvold said. "Any one of our first three games we could have made a play here or a play there to turn the tide. We did that right from the stat tonight."
The Knights forced a fumble on the game's opening kickoff of the Mid-Peninsula Conference affair and scored four plays later when Bill Burklund plowed through the line from two yards out. It was the first of five touchdowns for the senior back, who rushed for 187 yards in 16 trips.
Thersea Peterson | Iron Mountain Daily News
Bill Burkland of Norway runs up field as Mainstique’s Kenner Broullire attempts to drag him down Friday at Norway.
"It was the line for sure," Burklund said of his big night. "We blocked a lot better. Our defense came up with a lot of stops, right from the start. It wasn't like the other games. We came out and shut them down right away."
The opening series also saw Manistique lose starting quarterback Kenner Broullire to injury. Junior Zack Lambert guided the offense the rest of the game.
"He had a stinger or something," Grayvold said. "He wasn't able to come back in, and they had to shuffle around personal. We were able to capitalize on it."
On the Knights' next series, QB Isaac Bray tossed a deep ball to John Grayvold, Jr. for a 67-yard touchdown. Grayvold, Jr. out-jumped his defender for the ball and won the race to the endzone.
A second Manistique fumble, this time inside the 15, set up the Knights' third score of the quarter when Burklund bounced left from the one and into the corner of the endzone.
The Knights' defense, led by Jake Pedrotti and Elliot Reid with seven tackles each, held the Emeralds to less than 35 yards of net offense in the first half. Travis Eisenreich and Chaz Zanon had the fumble recoveries, and Zanon also added sack that set Manistique back 16 yards.
"I'm so happy for these players, because they've been busting their tails," Grayvold said.
Bray ran in the Knights' fourth touchdown, running a bootleg to the left side from five yards away midway through the second quarter. He then rolled right and found a jumping Austin Grayvold for the two-point try, setting up a running clock for the second half.
Burklund broke a 56-yarder on the Knights' second play from scrimmage in the second half and added the kick to make it a 42-0.
Manistique's Kyle Tiglas, who picked up 89 of his team-high 107 rushing yards after halftime, got loose for a 59-yard TD in the fourth. The Emeralds converted for two, as Lambert squeaked into the corner of the endzone, stopping the running clock - but only momentarily.
Norway answered on its very next play from scrimmage. Knights gave the ball to Burklund one more time, and he shot through the defense for a 60-yard run and his fifth touchdown.
Burklund said getting the team's first win was a big relief and hopefully the start of a string of victories for the Knights.
"I hope so, the way its looking," he said. "The line came together, the team came together. We did good things tonight that's for sure."
Knights (1-3 overall, 1-0 M-PC) host Ishpeming Saturday.
Manistique (1-3 on both counts) visits North Central Friday.