Battle of unbeatens

L’Anse’s Bryce Crawford, right, tackles Westwood’s Taylor Dellangelo Friday night, Sept. 8, 2017, at Westwood High School. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

Patriots roll past L’Anse, 38-10, to stay undefeated


Journal Sports Writer

ISHPEMING — It was a battle of the unbeatens Friday night at Westwood, but the outcome ended up being pretty one-sided.

In the end, Westwood used its power running game and a stout defense to shut down L’Anse 38-10 and improve to 3-0.

Quarterback Nathan Beckman led the Patriots, finishing with 150 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Taylor Dellangelo also had a big night as he racked up 139 yards on the ground.

“Taylor started for us tonight after we brought him up (from JV),” Westwood head coach Scott Syrjala said. “He gave us a little change of pace and has great vision. I’m proud of Nathan, too, because he’s the guy blocking for him.

“Our O(ffensive)-line also created a lot of big holes for both of those guys. I’m really proud of all our kids. They fought hard tonight.”

For L’Anse, it was just a rough night offensively. The Purple Hornets struggled to get their rushing attack going and had a difficult time stopping Westwood on third down.

“We got off to a bit of a slow start, but we started to play a little better in the second quarter,” Hornets head coach Mark Leaf said. “They just controlled the ball really well in the second half and we couldn’t get any stops.

“We only had the ball for three plays in the third quarter and they’re really tough up front. We hung in there for awhile and had some chances, but we left a few plays on the field.

“All of that stuff is correctable, though, so we’ll be fine.”

L’Anse put together a nice drive on its opening series and then got on the board on a 21-yard field goal by Reese Waara. However, Westwood answered back on the ensuing possession. A nice run by Ethan Burke put the Patriots deep into Hornets territory and two plays later, Ashton Bergman trotted in for a 15-yard touchdown. Westwood also got the 2-point conversion and went up 8-3.

After forcing the Hornets to go three-and-out, Beckman put on a good individual show. He broke free for a 50-yard run and then two plays later, sprinted into the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown. The Patriots picked up the 2-point conversion again and led 16-3 after the first quarter.

Westwood struck again on its first possession of the second quarter. With the ball at midfield, the tandem of Beckman and Dellangelo pounded the ball through the L’Anse defense and the drive culminated in Beckman’s second TD of the night, this one a 7-yard run. Another 2-point conversion gave the Patriots a commanding 24-3 advantage with 8:43 still to play before halftime.

The Hornets weren’t done, though. Quarterback Kooper Jahfetson found Foster Miller for a long pass play and later hit Chase Parker for a 18-yard first-down pass. Miller then capped off the possession with a 2-yard touchdown and with the extra point, L’Anse cut its deficit to 24-10 at the half.

However, from that point on it was all Westwood. Beckman picked up his third touchdown along with another 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter and then Erik Anderson finished off the Patriots’ scoring with 50-yard TD run with a little more than a minute left.

Westwood now gets to tangle with fellow Mid-Peninsula Conference unbeaten Gladstone at the Braves’ field on Friday, while L’Anse hosts Hancock the same night.

“Gladstone is going to be a great challenge,” Syrjala said. “They’re a good team and they present a lot of speed. We’re going to have to try to contain that really well if we want to win next week.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is