Mohawk seniors leave legacy following loss

IRON MOUNTAIN – In the days leading up to the Division 6 regional final against Iron Mountain, Morley Stanwood senior Steven Hopkins hoped he would leave a legacy for future Mohawks.

“The senior class wants to be the best class when it leaves,” Hopkins said. “We want to be the class that other teams have to look up to.”

That was taken care of even before Morley Stanwood took the field Saturday.

In the past two years, the Mohawks have won 21 games. The best two year stretch would be last year’s senior class that also went out with 21 victories.

But after that, you won’t see a better two-year stretch in school history by any stretch. The next best two-year stretch is 15 victories.

UP IN THE AIR: Morley Stanwood’s Adam Wheeler (10) tries to come up with the ball during his team’s 34-18 loss to Iron Mountain on Saturday while Tyler Hanks (1) looks to see if he can bring it in. (Pioneer photo/Matt Yeoman)

So after Morley Stanwood dropped a 34-18 decision to the Mountaineers to come up short in the regional final for the second straight season, senior Matt Parrish knew the team had done something special.

“It will be nice to look back at the legacy at the school and starting something that we haven‘t had,” Parrish said. “I’ll always be able to look back on that.”

How this group of 15 seniors got this far didn’t happen by accident.

Morley Stanwood’s Tyler Hanks often referred to his teammates as family throughout the season, and after Saturday’s contest where he scored on a 12-yard pass play from fellow senior Travis Zajkowski.

“I’m proud of being a senior with these guys,” Hanks said. “We’ve played rocket football with these guys since I moved into the area. It was family from the beginning.”

Morley Stanwood football coach Clark Huntey took over the program four years ago and saw the group of seniors as freshman – a little raw, a little small, but tremendous athletes.

That group stayed together for four years, though Ben Koster was moved up at the beginning of his sophomore year and Hanks followed a few games later.

“I think that made other players step up,” Huntey said.

The seniors made the season last until the regional final for two straight years. Iron Mountain’s Paul Brooks scored four touchdowns and rushed for more than 240 yards that ended the Mohawks season.

Huntey said what the group of seniors did just might not ever happen again.

“We’lll never have a group like this come through here ever again,” Huntey said. “This is a special group. There isn’t a word that describes them.”

Morley Stanwood played catch up for the entire game, spotting the Mountaineers a 14-0 lead before getting on the board on Hanks’ scoring catch from Zajkowski.

It would be a rough third quarter for the Mohawks, however.

Iron Mountain scored 20 straight points, including 4 and 16 yard runs by Brooks to take a 34-6 going into the fourth quarter.

Morley Stanwood tried to mount a comeback.

Adam Wheeler scored from 3-yards out and Zajkowski found Wheeler for a 55-yard strike with a little more than a minute remaining for the final outcome. Zajkowski threw for 340 yards, while Wheeler had 195 yards in receiving.

“(The seniors) did what they needed to do to be where they are at right now,” Huntey said. “This group is going to be successful after school. That is the type of kids they are.”

Leave a Reply