Ahead of new season, Iron Mountain football is motivated by last year’s semifinal loss

The Mountaineers open their season Thursday night against Houghton
Iron Mountain football prepares for its season opener this Thursday.
Iron Mountain football prepares for its season opener this Thursday.(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The Iron Mountain Mountaineers are back on the turf for their third week of preseason practice, but this week is different because it’s game week.

“I know we look forward to this time of year all throughout the year,” head coach Robin Marttila said. “We look forward to football season. Everyone in the U.P. does, so we’re excited to get going.”

The Houghton Gremlins are first up for Iron Mountain this year - Thursday night at home. After being together since the start of August, the Mountaineers met with Menominee for a scrimmage late last week, which they said was a necessary test ahead of the regular season.

“It showed us our weak points, and it showed us where we’re strong,” senior tight end and defensive back Matthew Colavecchi said. “I think we learned a lot from it, and we’re preparing and getting better.”

For a lot of returning players like Colavecchi, the pain of last year’s 41-14 loss in the state semifinal game remains. But as the Mountaineers turn the page to the 2023 season, they hope that bitter taste is a catalyst for future success.

“Yeah that is motivating me,” Colavecchi said. “I did not like that at all. The snow didn’t help, and I’m ready to take it back this year.”

Marttila is optimistic that last year’s 11-2 record leads to maturity for his second and third-year players. Thursday’s game is set to kick off at 6:00 p.m. from the Iron Mountain Football Stadium.