Emeralds fall to Iron Mtn.
IRON MOUNTAIN — Junior quarterback Joe Colavecchi threw for a trio of touchdowns and ran for another, as Iron Mountain cruised to a 40-14 win over Manistique in a West PAC Conference crossover game, Friday night at Mountaineer Stadium.
After a bit of a lethargic start for both teams, in the latter stages of the quarter, the Mountaineers went on an 11 play, 93-yard drive that was capped off with a 1-yard plunge into the endzone by junior Bradon Farragh, who also added an extra point to give Iron Mountain a 7-0 lead. Colavecchi connected with his cousin, sophomore Matthew Colavecchi earlier in the drive on a 49-yard pass play.
The Mountaineers’ defense was stingy, allowing minimal yardage to the visiting Emeralds until the latter stages of the game when the outcome was no longer in question. That gave the Iron Mountain offense more time with the football, capitalizing on several opportunities.
“Once we settled in, we began making the plays we needed to make, especially in the second quarter,” said Iron Mountain head coach Robin Marttila. “It was a good team win, and I am happy for our seniors especially, winning on Senior Night and Parents Night.”
On the Mountaineers’ next possession, Colavecchi capped off an eight-play, 55-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Luke Decker, early in the second stanza to give the Mountaineers a 14-0 lead. After a 3-and-out by the Emeralds offense, the Mountaineers went on another scoring drive.
70 yards and eight plays later, Colavecchi scampered into the endzone on first down from three yards out. A failed PAT kick made the score 20-0 Mountaineers. Manistique fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and it was recovered by sophomore Luke Wolfe of the Mountaineers.
On the first play from scrimmage, a Colavecchi to Colavecchi (Joe to Matthew) touchdown pass of 27 yards put the Mountaineers up 27-0 going into the intermission.
Iron Mountain received the second-half kickoff, and six plays later senior Gabe Richtig scored on a 7-yard run to the corner of the west endzone. A failed 2-point conversion attempt gave the Mountaineers a 33-0 lead.
Nearly five minutes later, still in the third quarter, Colavecchi hit Richtig on a screen pass and the senior running back broke away from the Emeralds defense for a 52-yard touchdown. Farragh added his fourth successful extra-point kick of the contest to put the Mountaineers ahead 40-0.
“We ran the ball efficiently and also passed it efficiently,” Marttila added. “I like the balance we had, after somewhat of a basic start. With over 400 yards of offense, we did well moving the ball.”
The Mountaineers ended the game with 437 yards, 272 on the ground and 165 through the air. The Emeralds had a total of 190 yards for the game, with the majority of them coming in the latter stages of the final quarter.
Wolfe carried the ball 13 times for 103 yards for Iron Mountain, while Colavecchi passed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 5 of 8 passing. Matthew Colavecchi led the Mountaineers with 76 receiving yards in the game.
The Emeralds added two fourth-quarter touchdowns, one from sophomore back Alex Noble and the other on a touchdown pass from sophomores Parker Graphos to Wyatt Demers.
“I don’t think we did too bad tonight. There were some great individual plays in the game by some of our guys,” said Manistique head coach Todd Kangas. “We have young guys that a striving to get better. We are better than we were last year, and I feel we’ll be better next season.”
With the loss, the Emeralds season ends at 2-7, while the Mountaineers plan for next week, a first-round game in Division 8 of the MHSAA 11-player playoffs.
With the format/formula to qualify for the playoffs no longer a guarantee of getting in with six wins, the Mountaineers are expected to qualify with the number of playoff points they have accumulated this season.
“We played much better in the second half of the season, especially offensively,” Kangas added. “We got more consistency near the end of the season, but we truly didn’t have a full lineup at all until the eighth game of the season, with quarantines and injuries,”
Manistique 0 0 0 14 — 14
Iron Mtn 7 20 13 0 — 40