Ishpeming (36) dominates Iron Mountain (0) – Moves on to Play Manistique

Bobby Zhulkie runs past a Mountaineer defender (credit: The Mining Journal)

09/03/2013 Ishpeming, MI – The defending division-7 state champion Ishpeming Hematites looked to be in mid-season form last Friday night against MPC rival Iron Mountain.  The Hematites controlled the game from the very beginning as they beat the Mountaineers in all facets of the game leading to a 36-0 blowout.  Senior leaders Alex Briones (QB) and Bobby Zhulkie (RB) led the way for the Hematites as they opened up a 30-0 lead by the end of the first half.  Briones scored twice himself and completed a touchdown pass to teammate Marcus Antilla, while Zhulkie ran the ball effectively scoring twice for the Hematites.  While only attempting eight passes, Briones finished the game 6-8 for 140 yards, spreading the ball to six different receivers which is almost unheard of in an MPC game.

While the score alone shows how the game fared, once you dug deeper into the stats is where you saw how one-sided this game really was.  At the end of the first half the Ishpeming defense had held  Iron Mountain to a net -7 total yards with zero first downs.  Negative seven.  There are many things you can point to that caused this kind of beat down, like the fact that Ishpeming has many more returning players than does Iron Mountain.  Not just players either, these were starters last year in a season that ended in a state championship.  This type of game shows, though, that the MPC better look out for this Hematite team to possibly win the conference and even earn another trip to Ford Field when it’s all said and done.

The Hematites will now go on to play another MPC battle against the Manistique Emeralds (0-1).  The Emeralds are coming off of a 36-30 loss to Negaunee last Friday, that was a knock-down drag-out type of game.  Although heavy underdogs going into the game, the Emeralds gave Negaunee all they could handle judging by the fact that it was 30-30 midway through the fourth quarter.  Unfortunately for Manistique they couldn’t stop the Miner offense when it counted, or beat the Miner defense when it needed to.  The Emeralds stayed on pace with Negaunee with fantastic performances from QB Tyler Kangas, RB Tony Floyd, FB Michael Brock, and WR Cole Potvin.  Kangas hooked up with Potvin on multiple occasions throughout the game, while the running combination of Floyd and Brock kept the Miners off balance defensively.

The Hematites will undoubtedly look for Briones & Zhulkie to lead them again this week against an Emerald defense that gave up touchdowns consisting of two 66-yard runs, an 80-yard kickoff return, and a 30-yard completion against the Miners last week.  Look for the Hematites to pound the ball early and then go over the top late.  If the Hematites can key on players such as Kangas, Floyd, and Potvin they should have little trouble stopping the Emerald offense.  Although, that is easier said than done as all three are tremendous athletes for Manistique.

Mid-Peninsula Conference games are always something worth watching to even the most casual football fan.  Be sure to join Mike Plourde & Bob Nadeau this Friday night as the Ishpeming Hematites head to Manistique to take on the Emeralds.  Kickoff is at 7:00 o’clock EST, pre-game starts at 6:30.  Tune in here on 98.3 WRUP for all of your Ishpeming Hematite football action.

-Carl Johnson

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