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Emeralds fall against Westwood Friday, now 2-3

MANISTIQUE — Getting their hands on the football was a difficult task for the Manistique Emeralds here Friday night in a 22-6 loss to the Westwood Patriots.

Westwood limited the Emeralds to 12 offensive plays and 30 yards in the first half, then made that task even more difficult by executing an onside kick to begin the second half.

The Patriots held on to the ball for more than seven minutes to start the third quarter before taking a 14-0 lead on senior Bryce Markham’s eight-yard run on a reverse to the right side.

“That was supposed to be a squib kick,” said first-year Westwood coach Jacob Wolf. “That’s something we work on every pre-game. We want the guys to understand what they’re doing, and it worked out well. That definitely gave us momentum.”

The Emeralds got on the board with five minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the contest when junior running back Alex Noble scampered 38 yards along the left sideline for their lone touchdown.

Westwood needed just 13 seconds to respond, ending the scoring on senior Jerzee Karki broke off right tackle on a 14-yard run.

“Turnovers and missed opportunities were the story of the first half, and the onside kick took a lot of wind out of our sails,” said Emeralds’ coach Steve Pugh. “They went up by two scores, and we couldn’t close the deal on defense. We took a couple chances and didn’t close the lanes.”

Manistique’s final possession resulted in an interception at the Westwood 15-yard line by Markham, enabling the Patriots to line up in victory formation for the last 45.5 seconds.

“This was definitely a hard-fought game,” said Wolf. “We’re scrapping and clawing for everything right now, and it all starts with our offensive coordinator Luke Gray and offensive line coach Brad Wiljanen. They did a great job tonight. They’re a physical, hard-hitting team and their quarterback (junior Wyatt Demers) is a heck of an athlete.”

Karki, who rushed 30 times for 157 yards, opened the scoring on a seven-yard run off right tackle 53 seconds into the second frame.

The Patriots (2-3) rushed for 228 of their 235 yards.

Manistique (2-3), which used three QBs, finished with 149 yards in total offense. Junior running back Alex Noble carried nine times for 74, and senior tight end Elmer Zellar caught three passes for 46.

Westwood ran 48 offensive plays, and Manistique had 27.

“Our defensive guys play hard and together, and we needed that tonight,” said coach Pugh. “We had to make a lot of defensive plays, and that really got us.”

The Emeralds host Bark River-Harris for homecoming Friday.

The Patriots host Hancock Friday.

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