MARQUETTE - Ishpeming will be the Upper Peninsula's lone representative in the state football finals this weekend after earning an 8-7 triumph over Pewamo-Westphalia in a Division 7 semifinal contest Saturday at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome.
The victory sends the Hematites (12-1) to Ford Field in Detroit, where they'll face Detroit Loyola (13-0) in title contest Saturday at 10 a.m.
Ishpeming senior Eric Kostreva scored on a 10-yard run and junior Alex Briones added the conversion points for the game-winner late in the third quarter.
Paul Gerard photo
Ishpeming’s Alex Briones (17) crosses the goal line, evading a defender, for a two point conversion in the third quarter of their game against the Pewamo-Westphalia Pirates. The two point conversion would ultimately give Ishpeming the game, winning 8-7.
Kostreva led the Hematites in rushing with 93 yards on 21 carries and Briones was 2-of-6 passing for 39 yards and an interception.
Ishpeming limited the Pirates (9-4) to 39 yards rushing. Junior quarterback Kyle Nurenberg completed 6-of-15 passes, with all of his aerials going to senior Lane Simon for 166 yards and a late second-quarter TD.
In D-5, Menominee wasn't as fortunate as it dropped a 20-17 decision to Grand Rapids West Catholic at the Superior Dome.
Junior Devon Harris threw TD passes of four yards to senior tight end Michael Kinsey and 92 to junior tight end to Shaun Sullivan as the Maroons built a 14-0 lead early in the second frame.
Sophomore QB Travis Russell tossed a 14-yard aerial to senior wide receiver David Kuzma for the game-winner with 58 seconds left in the contest.
Russell also threw a five-yard TD to sophomore wide receiver Bryce Witham to tie the count at 14-14 late in the third quarter.
Menominee (11-2) regained the lead on senior Evan Pohlmann's 26-yard field goals with 4:47 left to play.
The Maroons, who fell to West Catholic for the third straight year in the semifinals, were held to 39 yards rushing. Harris was 12-of-21 passing for 321 yards, two TDs and an interception.
West Catholic (10-3) ran 82 offensive plays, finishing with 91 yards rushing and 298 passing on Russell's 23-of-39 effort.
Junior Andy Corey ran 26 times for 93 yards and a TD.
At Traverse City, Beal City remained undefeated (13-0) by eliminating St. Ignace 25-7 in a D-8 semifinal.
St. Ignace (12-1) took a 7-6 lead on Tyler Snyder's 16-yard pass to Curtis St. Louis early in the second stanza. The Saints, however, were unable to keep their lead.
Beal City senior Paul Anders hit field goals of 42 and 31 yards and missed one from 51 moments before halftime.