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Emeralds need 2 OTs to guarantee playoff berth

October 20, 2012
Escanaba Daily Press

MANISTIQUE - The Manistique Emeralds survived a wild finish Friday night, qualifying for the state football playoffs with a 12-6 double-overtime victory over the visiting Harbor Springs Rams.

Z.J. Gonzalez scored the game-winner on a 1-yard run with his only carry of the contest.

"We were down there in the first overtime and they were flying on defense," Emeralds' coach Todd Kangas said. "We had to try something different in the second overtime.

"We used Kenner (Broullire) as a decoy and Z.J. made the most of it. I'm sure they were keying on Kenner and were flying after him."

In the first overtime, Manistique's defense stopped the Rams on fourth-and-one from the 1-yard line.

Emotions then got the better of the Rams as their top two running backs and coach were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I hadn't been in a game like this for a long time," Kangas said. "It was interesting, to say the least. Their fans were kind of rowdy, but that's how fans are."

The victory will likely send the Emeralds (6-3) to Negaunee or Calumet for their Division 6 playoff opener.

"We set a goal to get into the playoffs," Kangas said. "It has been a struggle. We started 0-2, then we got a couple wins under our belt.

"After our loss to Iron Mountain, we had to win the final three games to get in. And the closer you get to the end, the more the anxiety builds up. I think the kids respond better to it than I do as a coach.

"Right now, we're just glad to be in," he added. "Now, we'll just wait and see where we go. We can relax this weekend and see what happens."

The Rams (3-6) opened the scoring on a 62-yard dash by Tyler Hansen midway through the second quarter.

Manistique then tied the score on Broullire's 2-yard run on the ensuing possession.

"This was a big game for us, no doubt about it," Kangas said. "It was pretty hard fought on both sides."



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