MT. IRON – Four times North Woods would make it near the goal line here last Friday night and four times a wall of MI-B defenders kept them from putting points on the board. The Grizzlies, who …
MT. IRON – Four times North Woods would make it near the goal line here last Friday night and four times a wall of MI-B defenders kept them from putting points on the board. The Grizzlies, who routed the Rangers 49-22 last season, suffered their first shutout in years, falling 18-0 to slip to 0-2 on the season.
“MI-B stepped up near the goal line when we were on offense and we made a few mistakes on our plays and penalties,” said Grizzlies Head Coach John Jirik. “We had difficulty adjusting to different MIB offensive sets and were not in position to make certain plays,” Jirik added.
The Rangers deployed a variety of offensive sets and plays, which confused the Grizzlies at times. Senior quarterback Joe Buffetta had a strong performance, including an 89-yard touchdown strike to Jericho Peterson in the second quarter and a 44-yard first quarter bomb to eighth-grader Asher Zubich.
Meanwhile, Grizzlies senior quarterback Chase Kleppe completed seven of 22 attempts for 92 yards, allowing two interceptions. “We need to work on blocking different defensive schemes and polish our receiver patterns,” Jirik said. “We were a bit off, but very close to where we need to be.”
The Grizzlies managed a respectable offensive performance, picking up a total of 229 yards including 137 rushing. Jake Hyppa led the team with 37 yards on 11 carries, followed closely by Kleppe who kept the ball for 36 yards on six carries. TJ Chiabotti ran for 27 yards on nine carries while Nathan Crain ran for 22 on six attempts.
On defense, Kleppe led the team once again with 18 tackles.
The Grizzlies were helped by a lackluster punting performance by the Rangers, which consistently left North Woods with a relatively short field. But while the Grizzlies were able to move the ball, it was the Rangers’ red zone that proved their undoing.Despite the final score, Jirik said he liked how the defense played Friday night, even as his team struggled at times to adjust to the Rangers shifting offensive style.
The Grizzlies will be back in action this Friday, hosting Silver Bay, with a 5 p.m. kickoff. Last year, the Grizzlies shutout the Mariners 42-0 in Silver Bay. The Mariners currently 1-1 on the season lost 50-7 to Cook County last week.
“If we continue to play well overall and improve each week I am confident that we will play a good game against Silver Bay,” Jirik said.