IRON RIVER—West Iron left far too many points on the field in the first half at St. Ignace Aug. 25, and that almost bit them in the end.
But despite a getting broiled by temperatures in the 90s, WIC’s defense reached deep inside to turn back Pittsford in the final minutes and preserve a 19-16 win in the season opener.
How hot? “The word from the St. Ignace guys, it was about 95 degrees,” Coach Mike Berutti said. WIC had only practiced as warm as the low 80s, when Pittsford, near the Ohio state line, was in the 90s. “But they were gassed, too.
“To come out of this with a win in the weather we were in, riding five hours on the bus to get there, I think is a credit to the kids.” Pittsford also had a five-hour bus ride—which they made the day before.
Early chances: “We should have had five touchdowns in the first half,” said Berutti. Instead, the Wykons got two, one on defense. “We’ve got some young guys in there, and our timing was just a split-second off.”
Andrew Peterson’s early fumble recovery gave West Iron the ball at midfield—but WIC lost a fumble at the Pittsford 15. Then a low snap got past Pittsford’s punter and rolled into the end zone, where Peterson recovered for a TD. Wykons 7-0 after Ryan Rogers’ kick.
Opportunity knocked again when another bad snap on a punt gave WIC the ball at the Wildcat 31. WIC was pushed back and punted. Joey Pisoni hit the kick receiver, the ball got loose and Brandon Clifford fell on it at the Wildcat 12, but WIC couldn’t cash in its second chance, either.
In the second quarter, the Wykon offense got going. Nice runs by Chasz Jonet (16 and 12 yards) and Tyler Stafford (12) put the ball at the Pittsford 5, and Alec Schmelebeck scored from the 3. Pittsford’s Austin Buckner kicked a 38-yard field goal at the halftime horn, cutting the lead to 13-3.
4th qtr flurry: Pittsford drove 69 yards to the WIC 11 in the third quarter, but the Wykon defense forced a field goal try that went wide. In the fourth, a long punt return led to the Wildcats’ first TD, a six-yard run by Dustin McLouth. The kick cut the lead to 13-10, 9:42 left.
West Iron’s offense fought back. Runs by Jonet (9) and Schmelebeck (13) led to Rogers scoring from 31 yards out on a cutback run. WIC 19-10, 7:01 left.
Pittsford struck again on a 56-yard drive capped by Wilson’s TD from the 2. Peterson blocked the extra point, and WIC still led 19-16, 5:08 left.
Down by three, Pittsford got the ball back at midfield with 2:33 left. But the Wykons’ weary defense closed them down, with Stafford stopping McLouth in the backfield on fourth down.
The journey: The JV team (which won 40-6) left early in the morning for their early kickoff. The varsity took a later bus. “I think the kids enjoyed it,” Berutti said.
Numbers: Total yards, WIC 232 (28-184r, 48p), Ptsfrd 261 (45-211r, 3-12-50p). First downs: WIC 7, Ptsfrd 12. Rushing: Chasz Jonet, 9-59; Alec Schmelebeck, 8-51, TD; Tyler Stafford, 5-25; Ryan Rogers, 1-31, TD; Andrew Peterson, 3-17. Passing: Peterson, 4-9-48. Receiving: Rogers, 2-25; Jonet, 1-18; Colton Pangrazzi, 1-5.
Defense: Tackles, Jonet, 9t-5a; Peterson, 7t-2a; Stafford, 5t; Cody Desjardins, 5t-2a. Fumble recoveries: Peterson 2, Brandon Clifford (after Joey Pisoni’s strip).
Coming up: The Wykons need to get ready in a hurry for Thursday night’s date with L’Anse at Meadowbrook Field. The Purple Hornets blanked Houghton 34-0 Aug. 24 and have some big boys. Berutti: “We’d better be ready to play.”
Wildcats 0 3 0 13 -- 16
Wykons 7 6 0 6 -- 19