With nothing but open field ahead of him, West Iron’s Andrew Peterson dashes away for 25-yard gain that set up the Wykons’ first touchdown against Bark River at Nelson Field Oct. 19. In back are teammates Chasz Jonet and Ron Varney (5).
IRON RIVER—As the final days of the regular season counted down, West Iron football Coach Mike Berutti held out hope the Wykons might sneak into the Division 7 playoffs with a 5-4 record—if they beat Bark River-Harris in their final game and several other games turned out right.
The Wykons did their part, earning a 28-14 win at Nelson Field Oct. 19, but the other results didn’t cooperate. “We needed three things that I knew for sure had to happen,” Berutti said, “and they didn’t.”
West Iron’s season ends with a 5-4 record overall and 3-3 in the West Pac Conference.
Running start: The Wykons’ ground game earned the first score of the night on a 10-play drive late in the first quarter. Alec Schmelebeck got most of the handoffs, and QB Andrew Peterson sprinted to convert a 3rd and 7 play—25 yards to the Bronco 16.
Three more runs led to Chasz Jonet’s two-yard TD run. The kick was blocked, but WIC led 6-0.
Next, some air power. The Wykons’ kickoff corralled the Broncos deep in their end, and a short punt soon had WIC at the BRH 33. On first down, Peterson faked a handoff into the middle and threw to Colton Pangrazzi, wide open down the left side, for the score. Adam Newby ran in the two-pointer, and the Wykons led 14-0.
Snooze time? Bark River couldn’t get much offense going in the first half but cut the Wykons’ lead in half just before halftime. With time winding down, the Bronco defense forced 4th and 2 at the Wykon 31.
WIC long-snapper Joe Pisoni had gotten hurt earlier, so Andy Ridolphi (long-snapper on place kicks) came in to hike the ball to Rogers. The snap was high, Ryan Rogers jumped to pull it down, dodged a couple tacklers and did well to get away a kick on the run. Bark River took over at the Wykon 35 with 21 seconds left.
On first down, Bronco QB Jorden Sodergren passed to No. 82 (not listed in roster) down the right side for a 35-yard TD. “We fell asleep on that play,” Berutti said. “We knew what they were going to do. Never should happen in that situation.”
West Iron stopped the two-pointer and went into halftime ahead 14-6. Would the emotional boost of a TD just before halftime help Bark River in the second half?
Slight of hand: In a word: no. After WIC’s defense forced a three-and-out. Newby took a punt at his 20. As he crossed paths with Pangrazzi, the ball changed hands. Pangrazzi broke past the first wave of tacklers, cut back to the middle and outraced the Broncos for an 80-yard TD. Rogers’ kick put the Wykons ahead 21-6.
“Colton’s not real big,” said Berutti, “but he’s pretty fast. He sees things—he made a nice cutback, and not a lot of guys are going to catch him.”
Bark River came back with its lone sustained drive of the game, covering 76 yards in 14 plays. Brian Latta, who left injured a few minutes earlier, broke through the left side for a 24-yard gain to the Wykon 4, and Hunter Messersmith scored two plays later. Latta’s two-point run cut the lead to 21-14.
Record kick? The Wykons got it back with a 51-yard scoring drive. Ron Varney ran for 12 yards, then caught a Peterson pass for 14 to the Bronco 25. Peterson ran a nine-yard keeper to the 2, and Tylor Capadagli swept around the left side for the TD. Rogers’ kick made it 28-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Later, Rogers tried a 45-yard field goal—the kick was on target but fell just a bit short. “We did it to see if he could break Josh Kolbas’ record,” the coach noted. “Josh has been helping out on the sidelines all year. He kicked one in Newberry back about 2000—43 yards.”
The Broncos drove into the Wykon red zone in the final minutes but lost the ball on downs at the WIC 9. Schmelebeck took a pitch around the right side for 30 yards, and then it was time for Peterson to take a knee and end the 2012 season.
“We end up at 5-4, trying to have a little bit of fun, trying to have all the kids play. It worked out good that way.”
Numbers: Total offense: WIC 273 yards (38-171r, 6-11-102p), BRH 205 (35-132r, 6-18-73p). First downs: WIC 8, BRH 10.
Rushing: Andrew Peterson, 12-98; Alec Schmelebeck, 12-48; Ron Varney, 5-27; Chasz Jonet, 2-8, TD; Tylor Capadagli, 1-2, TD. Receiving: Colton Pangrazzi, 2-47, TD; Schmelebeck, 1-20; Adam Newby, 1-13; Varney, 1-14; Joe Pisoni, 1-8. Passing: Peterson, 4-9-69, TD; Pisoni, 1-1-20; Rogers, 1-1-13.
Defense: Tackles: Jonet, 12t-1a; Schmelebeck, 5t-2a; Bryson Heimerl, 5t-2a; Peterson, 4t-1a; Andy Ridolphi, 3t. Sack: Ridolphi.
Coming up: Due to injuries, only one senior (Cody Desjardins) was starting at the end of the season. Underclassmen got tons of varsity experience this fall.
“We’re young,” said Berutti. “We’ll move forward and get some nice-looking kids up from the [unbeaten] JV squad.”
At present, the Wykons don’t have a Week 1 opponent in 2013. Aside from that, their schedule will be unchanged from 2012.
Broncos 0 6 8 0 -- 14
Wykons 14 0 7 7 -- 28