2018-09-13 / Sports

Balance of Emerald schedule tenuous


The few who were able to suit up Friday evening battled it out on the Ron Rubick Memorial Field when the Emeralds hosted the Wykons from West Iron County. Finishing the game with only 10 players, the Emeralds dropped the contest 41-0. Behind the Emerald wall of Brendan Slater (70), Isaac Brewster (77), and Schyler Andersen (11), Gerald Jack (2) attempts to gain some yardage. Katie Troyer photo The few who were able to suit up Friday evening battled it out on the Ron Rubick Memorial Field when the Emeralds hosted the Wykons from West Iron County. Finishing the game with only 10 players, the Emeralds dropped the contest 41-0. Behind the Emerald wall of Brendan Slater (70), Isaac Brewster (77), and Schyler Andersen (11), Gerald Jack (2) attempts to gain some yardage. Katie Troyer photo MANISTIQUE – With player safety an issue at all levels of the sport, the remaining schedule for the Manistique Emeralds varsity football team hangs in the balance just three weeks into the season. Following a forfeit of their second game, the Manistique Emerald varsity football team suited 12 for Friday’s contest against West Iron County.

When the clock ran out in the fourth quarter, 10 Emerald players exited the field following a 41-0 loss to the Wykons.

It’s safety versus stats according to Coach Todd Kangas. There is also an element of uncertainty as to the rest of the 2018 schedule due to the limited number of players.


Sophomore Daniel Michalik attempts to gain yardage with the help of Christian Aldrich (24). Katie Troyer photo Sophomore Daniel Michalik attempts to gain yardage with the help of Christian Aldrich (24). Katie Troyer photo “We had an ineligible player and one injured who is waiting doctor’s permission to return Friday,” said Kangas. “I know it is a tough situation, and it is tough not to play a game, but it is in the best interest of the program at this point to do what is best for the kids.”

With that in mind, the decision was made Monday night to forfeit Friday’s game against the Negaunee Miners. Kangas said he hopes they have hit the bottom and is anticipating the return of 14 healthy players when Manistique hosts Westwood Sept. 21. He said he has 14 players that have committed to playing out the season and, if healthy, that is what they will do.

“They seemed to have made a commitment,” said Kangas. “Earlier we lost the guys that couldn’t make that same commitment, so as long as we can get healthy, stay healthy, and get a couple of breaks, we will finish the season off. I wish I could say that there is not a chance it will not happen again, but at this point I can’t.”

Kangas went on to say that they will continue to practice, work to get better, and deal with it week by week.

“It’s going to be a (difficult) situation the rest of the year, but it is better than the alternative – (which is) cancelling the rest of the season,” he added.

Cancelling the rest of the season will jeopardize the program going forward, Kangas said, including the practice time underclassman will get or miss out on if the season were to be cancelled. When this year’s varsity team kicked off the season, 11 players were underclassmen, including four sophomores.

Friday night, West Iron County (3-0) didn’t take long to take an early lead, scoring on their opening drive. Following a short kick return to the 50-yard line, Bryant Schram the 6-foot, 285 pound running back, chewed up yardage, later scoring on a three-yard run at the 10:22 mark in the opening quarter. Following a bad snap on the extra-point, West Iron County held a 6-0 lead.

Taking advantage of an Emerald fumble, the Wykons scored their second touchdown of the period when Caden Pellizzer hauled in a one-handed catch from Trey Bociek at the 8:36 mark. Schram added two on the conversion to make the score 14-0 early.

Unable to move the ball, the Emeralds were forced to punt following a pair of sacks on Gerald Jack. With the ball at mid-field, West Iron pushed their lead to 21-0 off a quarter back sneak by Bociek.

Turnovers continued to be an issue for Manistique. A fumble by the Emeralds gave the Wykons the ball at their 33-yard line. Two plays later, Blake Lindberg crossed the goal line for West Iron County, who controlled a 28-0 lead at the end of the quarter.

With yards hard to come by, mistakes continued to plague Manistique into the second period. Back to pass, Jack was intercepted by Zach Quintero, who scored to give West Iron County a 35-0 lead early in the second period.

The final score of the night for the Wykons, who had more than 300 yards in offense, came late in the third off a short run by Nathan Thomson.

The Emeralds were held to 76- ards (60 rushing, 16 passing) in the loss.

With the Negaunee game cancelled this week, Manistique will look to field enough healthy players to play host Westwood (2-1) Sept. 21.

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