Wykons QB Andrew Peterson looks downfield, as his linemen provide plenty of time to locate an open receiver. Peterson threw four TD passes against Ironwood.
IRON RIVER—Although West Iron’s football team entered its Sept. 14 game with a 1-2 record, the Wykons looked nothing like a 1-2 team against Ironwood.
Everything went the Wykons’ way in front of the home fans: four long touchdown passes, a kickoff return for another TD and an easy 55-12 win.
West Iron is now 2-2 overall and 1-1 in West Pac Conference play.
“We came out and played better football,” said Coach Mike Berutti. “The kids stepped up, and we got something positive going. That’s what we’ve been looking for for the past two weeks—just get a positive and build on it.”
Think positive: The big plays came right away: Colton Pangrazzi ran back the opening kickoff 55 yards to the Ironwood 22. Four plays later, QB Andrew Peterson scored from the 1, and Ryan Rogers’ extra point kick put WIC ahead 7-0.
The Red Devils struck back with a scoring drive capped by QB Adam Mackey’s 19-yard TD pass to Jared Soblewski on fourth down. WIC stopped the two-point run to stay ahead 7-6.
Within seconds, WIC got the points back: Alec Schmelebeck ran back the squib kickoff 65 yards to paydirt—14-6.
The Wykons scored again early in the second quarter on Adam Newby’s 39-yard run around the right—21-6. Later, Ironwood got a break when a Peterson pass was stuffed and intercepted by Brian Heckathorn.
But the Red Devils fumbled on first down. Schmelebeck fell on the loose ball, and, two plays later, the solid sophomore back executed a nifty double handoff to Tyler Stafford, who dashed away for a 59-yard score—28-6.
In the last minute of the half, Peterson passed to Rogers for a 71-yard TD. The point-after failed (bad snap), but the Wykons led 34-6.
Second half: The Red Devils took the second half kickoff and drove 66 yards on the ground, scoring on Mackey’s keeper from the 2—34-12.
But Ironwood’s morale boost didn’t last long. On WIC’s first play after the kickoff, Peterson passed up the middle to Stafford for a 53-yard score—41-12.
Moments later, Cody Desjardins intercepted a third down Ironwood pass. On the next play, Peterson and Joey Pisoni hooked up for a 47-yard score—48-12, which started the running clock.
The final score came early in the fourth quarter, as Peterson passed to Ron Varney for a 50-yard TD—55-12. Rogers was 7 for 7 on his extra point kicks.
Stat oddity: The Wykons scored seven TDs from scrimmage on only 24 offensive plays—Ironwood ran 62 plays. “I don’t think I’ve ever coached a game in 20 years where we only ran 24 plays,” Berutti noted.
“And I was wondering why our defense was so tired!”
WIC’s offense did its work quickly. Two TDs came on the first play of a possession, two on the second, two on the fourth, and one on the fifth. (Their eighth TD was Schmelebeck’s kickoff return.)
Ironwood earned more first downs (15-10), but the Wykons had a big edge in total yards—445 to 252.
West Iron had only two turnovers: that stuffed-pass interception and a fumble during running time. “We held onto the football,” said Berutti, “and the backs ran hard.”
Lookin’ good: As for the defense, the coach was pleased by how his team handled Mackey’s option threat—just two big gains. “We hit him and never let him get going. That was our focus. To beat them, we knew we had to stop him.” Chasz Jonet led the defense with 11 tackles and five assists.
On offense, improved line play set the tone. “We started seeing that last week against Iron Mountain—we’d move the ball, but then we’d fumble.
“Here, the guys fired off the ball, stayed on their blocks and also pass-blocked well.” Starters are Max Maloney at center, Desjardins and Joel Van Lanen at guard, Bryson Heimerl and Andy Ridolphi at tackle and Pisoni and Pangrazzi at tight end.
As the score got out of hand, Berutti said he wanted to rest his starters on offense—but most Wykon backups are defensive linemen, so he couldn’t do much.
Numbers: Team offense: WIC, 445 yards (15-209r, 5-8-236p), Iwd 252 (47-210r, 4-15-42p). First downs: WIC 10, Iwd 15.
Rushing: Tyler Stafford, 2-73, TD; Alec Schmelebeck, 6-38; Ron Varney, 4-41; Chasz Jonet, 3-17; Adam Newby, 1-39, TD. Passing: Andrew Peterson, 5-8-236-4 TDs-1 int. Receiving: Jonet, 1-16; Ryan Rogers, 1-70, TD; Stafford, 1-53, TD; Joey Pisoni, 1-47, TD; Varney, 1-50, TD.
Defense: Tackles, Jonet, 11t-5a; Schmelebeck, 7-2; Max Maloney, 6-1. Interceptions: Jonet, Cody Desjardins, Colton Pangrazzi.
Coming up: This is Homecoming week at West Iron, and the Wykons host Houghton at 2 p.m. Sept. 22. The Gremlins lost to Calumet 28-15 on Sept. 14, falling to 0-4 overall.
Red Devils 6 0 6 0 -- 12
Wykons 14 20 14 7 -- 55