Prep football: Norway topples Manistique in Mid-Peninsula Conference shootout

NORWAY – A classic Mid-Peninsula Conference shootout came down to one final untimed play Friday night at Ronberg Field in Norway.

Manistique’s Tyler Kangas lofted a pass to the end zone that fell just inches beyond the reach of a diving Cole Potvin, allowing Norway to escape with a 36-34 victory.

“I knew it’d be like this,” Norway coach Bob Madigan said. “I told the kids earlier in the week, I was looking up the rules for overtime, because I thought this was the type of game it’d be.”

The Emeralds, trying to avoid an 0-4 start to the season, staged a gutsy second-half comeback despite trailing 30-14 midway through the third quarter.

Tyler Baker gave Manistique its only lead of the game when he pounced on a fumble of a Norway punt attempt in the end zone with 4:20 to play in the game.

Norway quickly answered with quarterback Taylor Bonetti orchestrating a five-play, 48-yard drive to put the Knights back in front. Bonetti broke for a 30-yard run on the first play and finished with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 3:25 to play.

“That was big,” Madigan said. “They were all big plays. I think the offensive line blocked the best we’ve blocked since I started coaching.”

Manistique began its final drive on its own 21. The Emeralds were at the Norway 34 for what looked to be a final play. Kangas aired one out down the left sideline incomplete, but a flag on the Norway coverage gave the Emeralds its final chance from about the 20.

Kangas tried for Potvin, breaking from the middle toward the right corner of the end zone, but the pass just escaped Potvin’s reach.

“It’s tough,” Manistique coach Todd Kangas said. “We had guys going down again, a tailback who only joined us two weeks ago. I thought we did some good things … just wish we would have caught that last one in the end zone.”

Of Kangas’ 15 completions, seven went to Potvin for 91 of the team’s 158 passing yards. Potvin caught two touchdowns in the first half, scoring on 24- and 16-yard plays.

Manistique fumbled on the game’s opening series. Jake Rehn recovered inside the Emerald 40, and Norway struck fast with Bonetti connecting with his brother Garrett for a 26-yard strike to the end zone.

Manistique answered early in the second with Potvin’s first TD grab, but the two-point try failed. Bonetti then led the Knights on a 10-play 77-yard drive for another score.

Facing fourth-and-nine from the Emeralds’ 23, Bonetti found Nick Pearman over the middle for the touchdown. Bonetti then hit Zavier Gonzalez for two, making it a two-score game.

Manistique answered before the half, with a march down the field capped when Kangas pegged Potvin again. A run by Mike Brock made it 16-14 at the half.

A personal foul penalty on the opening kick of the second half set up Norway just inside midfield, and the Knights made Manistique pay.

Gonzalez broke loose for a 39-yard run before Neumann bullied in from five yards out.

After holding Manistique, Norway added more points. Bonetti had a run of 21 yards to get the Knights close and then hooked up with Austin Grayvold for a 16-yard touchdown, making it 30-14 Knights.

Manistique fired right back. Mike Brock looked to be stopped short on a fourth-and-three from the Norway 23, but he popped free from two defenders and dashed into the end zone with 2:10 to go in the third.

Manistique then put together another successful drive. Kangas did most of the work with his feet on the march, taking it in himself from the one early in the fourth to make it 30-26.

Norway improved to 2-2 (1-0 M-PC).