Broncos can’t contain Patriots

Todd Rose | Daily Press Bark River-Harris’ Ethan Ives (7) cuts around the outside against Westwood Friday in Harris.

HARRIS — A crisp night in Harris brought with it a 50-8 win for the Westwood Patriots (7-1) over the Bark River-Harris Broncos (5-3) Friday night.

Patriots’ coach Scott Syrjala was happy to get the win with the season winding down. He was also complimentary of the Broncos program.

“It was nice to be able to come and maybe jump on them a little bit and get after them a little bit,” Syrjala said. “But, I tell you what, coach Stenberg’s got a heck of a team. We knew that. We knew that going in, they were tough. They’re a very young team, but they’re tough hard-nosed kids, and they do a lot of good things.”

The Broncos got off to a good start by forcing the Patriots to punt on their first drive. However, it would be Westwood drawing first blood with a 57-yard completion from Zachary Beckman to Zachary Carlson followed by a successful 2-point conversion.

Bark River’s sole touchdown came in the second quarter on a sprint into the endzone by Tristan Halfaday with Trevor Lippens — who punctuated the first half with an interception — breaking through the line for the two-point conversion.

The Broncos had several other positive moments throughout the night such as a 24-yard pass to convert on an early first quarter third down from Ethan Ives to Kavin Frederick.

Defensively, Carbin LaFave had a nice showing, with his name crackling through the public address speakers multiple times throughout the game.

For the Patriots, Syrjala was impressed with how sophomore Jayce Arseneau performed on both sides of the ball.

“I’m really happy with Jauyce Arseneau,” he said. “He’s struggled this year. He’s had to come up out of necessity, and he’s had to fill some big shoes with Travis Uren being out and play a big role.

“He’s not overly big, (but) he’s fairly strong, and he’s got good speed and he’s starting to trust himself. … I thought he did one heck of a job tonight.”

Coming into the game, the Broncos knew that Westwood posed a challenge for the team, with some injuries lurking on the bench.

“I thought we played relatively well early,” said Bark River coach Al Stenberg, “We stopped them on the first drive, which I was pleased with, and then responded well after they scored on us.

“We had a few key injuries that really made us lose our bearings defensively in the defensive backfield, and they just instantly exploited them based on the fact that coach (Brad) Wiljanen and coach Syrjala are just great coaches, and they see where your weakness is. They hit us a couple times real quick before we could make some adjustments. Even after we made them, we just didn’t have the horses to compete with their backs.”

Up next for both teams are big regular season-ending games.

For Westwood, the season comes to a close at home against West-PAC rival Negaunee Friday.

The Broncos, on the other hand, head to Ishpeming to battle the Hematites for West-PAC Iron supremacy on Thursday. Both Bark River and Ishpeming are undefeated in the WPI conference heading into that contest.


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