Prep football: Westwood can’t stop Iron Mountain in 28-14 loss

IRON MOUNTAIN – Making his first varsity start at quarterback, Iron Mountain junior Brock Grenier threw for three touchdowns as the Mountaineers earned a 28-14 homecoming victory over Westwood Friday night in Mid-Peninsula Conference football.

“Brock, what can you say?” Mountaineers coach Robin Marttila said. “He had a great game. That’s not easy going into a varsity game playing quarterback, but he made some nice plays passing.”

Grenier was pressed into duty late in last week’s game at Negaunee after starter Craig Qualley went down with injury.

Grenier attempted only 11 passes against the Patriots – completing six – but they were timely strikes against a Westwood squad having a hard enough time trying to slow the Mountaineers (2-3 overall, 2-2 M-PC) on the ground.

The Mountaineers served steady doses of James Christiansen to keep the chains moving and the clock ticking on each of its first two drives. And Grenier capped both with touchdown throws to Justin Rock.

Rock, also recently back from injury, caught four balls for 40 yards, all in the first half. He hauled in a six-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and caught a screen pass for a 10-yard score in the second quarter.

Christiansen, returning to action after missing last week’s game with injury, collected 81 of his game-high 138 rushing yards in the first half, taking 34 handoffs in the game.

Westwood (0-5, 0-2) was able to keep the game a one-score affair in the first half thanks to finding the end zone in between the Mountaineers two touchdowns.

Mitchell Messing, the Patriots’ leading rusher with 77 yards on five carries, broke free for a 59-yard run two plays after Iron Mountain’s first touchdown. A missed two-point try kept the Mountaineers in front, though.

The Patriots also forced a punt from Iron Mountain near midfield on another second quarter drive.

“We had some chances early to make some more plays,” Marttila said. “It just didn’t happen. Their kids played hard and you have to respect that.”

Westwood was driving with a chance to even the game late in the first half, but saw the possession stall inside the Mountaineer 40 when a penalty backed them up near midfield and forced a punt.

Iron Mountain scored touchdowns on each of its first two possessions of the second half to make it a 28-6 contest, the second drive set up after Rock recovered a Westwood fumble near the Patriots’ 40.

Grenier then hit Cole Rossato for a 29-yard gain on a third-and-nine from the Westwood 35 on the first drive. That set up Christiansen for a two-yard plunge.

On the next drive, Iron Mountain was facing a third and 16 from just inside the red zone when Grenier connected with Nate Markell for a 19-yard strike.

Westwood scored a fourth-quarter touchdown against Iron Mountain’s reserves. Quarterback Trevor Burke made a nifty run along the left sideline, spinning and busting through several tackles on his way to a 34-yard score.

“Our kids played hard,” WHS coach John Jessen said. “We’re getting better every week. We’re young and a work in progress.

“We need to hold our blocks a little longer and control the line of scrimmage on the offensive side a little more. And we’ve obviously got to work on our coverage defensively.”