Emeralds tripped up on road
IRON MOUNTAIN – Iron Mountain, spearheaded by James Christiansen’s 180 yards rushing and five touchdowns, spilled winless Manistique 41-12 in Mid-Peninsula Conference football Friday at Mountaineer Stadium.
While Christiansen lugged the football 24 times, Justin Rock added 121 yards rushing on seven carries. Rock had 120 yards at halftime.
“We came out and we were to run the ball effectively,” said Coach Robin Marttila, whose Mountaineers took charge in the second half after leading 14-6 through 24 minutes. “Hats off to our offensive line. James and Justin ran hard.
“Any time you can get 330 yards rushing it’s a good night.”
Christiansen – a 5-foot-10, 200-pound, pile-driving senior – ran five, four, 20 and 15 yards for scores. He also snagged a 56-yard touchdown pitch from Craig Qualley.
“We’ve had trouble stopping people all year long and tonight was no exception,” Manistique Coach Todd Kangas said. “Christiansen wasn’t a big surprise. We knew what was coming. Our guys just didn’t do a very good job with it.”
Rock’s running set up two Christiansen touchdowns in the first half for a 14-0 lead. Manistique nearly grabbed the first-half advantage if not for two drives stalling at the Mountaineer 10 and 9.
Jacob Thomann’s rush thwarted one fourth-down pass and a tipped throw denied the Emeralds, again.
However, a short punt in the final seconds of the first half yielded Manistique points. With nine seconds to go, quarterback Tyler Kangas and Coby Ryan hooked up for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
“Ryan made a great play before the half,” Marttila said of the catch and run.
In the opening drive of the third quarter, Craig Qualley threw a 36-yard pass to Christiansen at the Emerald 26. That set up the senior for a 20-yard scoring run and 20-6 advantage.
Manistique fired back with Ryan Ramey scooting 11 yards to the endzone. But that was the extent of the Emerald offense.
“We got it to a one score game right at the half,” coach Kangas said. “They scored coming out, we answered back.
“We just didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with them. We didn’t get enough stops, either.”
Iron Mountain reeled off the next 21 points. Christiansen grabbed a pass at his ankles, found blocks from Thomann and Grenier, and traveled 56 yard for the score.
In the fourth quarter, Christiansen capped his night with a 15-yarder and Blake Menza stepped two yards for the final Mountaineer score.
Iron Mountain racked up 453 yards – 102 passing with Qualley connecting on all three of his throws. He also kicked five extra points.
“We were going to throw a little more,” Marttila said. “We could have passed more but the run was working.”
Manistique produced 273 yards, with Kangas throwing for 140. Cole Potvin had five catches for 57 yards.
“Their passing attack is tough to defend,” Marttila said. “The quarterback is a good, accurate thrower and they have some good receivers.
“Potvin has our respect and the respect of everybody in the Mid Pen.”
Manistique (0-6 overall, 0-5 MPC) takes on Newberry next week. Iron Mountain (3-3, 3-2) takes on rival Kingsford next Saturday.
“I thought we played hard,” Marttila said. “I told the kids to just play harder than them. That’s one of the things we’ve been preaching all year long.
“I’m not happy about the (two) turnovers. We can’t have that coming down the stretch here. I’m happy for the win but we have some things to work on for next week.”