Ron Varney fends off a L’Anse defender who appears to have a hand on his facemask during West Iron’s game against the Purple Hornets Sept. 6. Wykon teammates nearby are Ryan Rogers (24) and Jake Polich.
IRON RIVER—Stout defense and an effective running game were a perfect match Sept. 13, as West Iron’s football team earned a 27-14 win over dangerous L’Anse at Nelson Field.
Big game, big win. “Outstanding!” Coach Mike Berutti said to his team in the post-game huddle. The win gets West Iron to a 2-0 record (1-0 in West Pac) as the Wykons head to Iron Mountain this Friday.
L’Anse’s first possession ended on Colton Pangrazzi’s interception, but the Purple Hornets soon had it back. QB Jacob Ostermeyer completed 35- and 14-yard passes to Jimmy Veker during a 72-yard scoring drive, capping it with Ryan Beauprey’s 1-yard run.
West Iron matched it with a 72-yard scoring drive of its own. Ron Varney and Chasz Jonet powered the team upfield, and Varney scored from the 4 early in the second quarter. It was still 7-7 at halftime, as fumbles ended promising drives for both teams.
Midway through the third quarter, West Iron took command. Varney and Jonet took the handoffs, and QB Andrew Peterson gained 21 on a keeper to the Hornets 33. Two runs by Jonet set up Varney, who scored from the 17. Ryan Rogers’ kick gave WIC a 14-7 lead.
West Iron increased its lead with a 61-yard scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. Jonet and Varney were the battering rams, with Rogers running a sweep at times and Peterson followed his blockers for a 9-yard TD run. Now it was 21-7.
L’Anse countered with a 60-yard TD drive, capped by Veker’s 11-yard run with 6:38 left—21-14. The Hornets then forced a Wykon punt, but Rogers’ 52-yard boot backed L’Anse to its 12. Rogers then recovered a first down fumble at the 15, and four plays later Peterson scored from the 2 for a 27-14 Wykon lead with 1:17 left.
West Iron’s defense never had complete control of the L’Anse running game, but they looked good. “They’re pursuing to the ball,” said Berutti, “taking care of their first responsibilities and getting into pursuit, taking away cutback lanes and stringing sweeps out.”
One uncertainty about this year’s Wykons has been the interior line: center Austin Carlson and guards Mykel Zaritz and Zane Sarafiny, all new at their positions. That question mark is becoming an exclamation point: Berutti said they are proving to be fast learners.
“They’re playing at speed. Our offensive line came off the ball with their backs flat, and our backs ran extremely hard.” Fullbacks Jonet and Varney combining for 194 yards. “They’re loads. They’re big, strong kids, and they don’t go down real easy.” Whenever a change of pace was needed, Peterson struck with the QB keeper.
Team stats: WIC 331 yards (54-293 rushing, 2-2-38 passing), L’Anse, 282 yards (39-196 rushing, 6-11-86-1 passing). First downs: WIC 17, L’Anse 15.
Individual stats: Rushing: Chasz Jonet, 20-108; Ron Varney, 14-86; Andrew Peterson, 11-72; Ryan Rogers, 5-31. Passing: Peterson, 2-2-38. Receiving: Rogers, 2-38.
Defense (tackles-assists): Jake Polich, 10-3; Jonet, 7-2. Sacks: Peterson 3. Fumble recoveries: Jonet, Varney, Rogers. Interception: Colton Pangrazzi.
• The Wykons visit Iron Mountain on Sept. 13, the first of three straight on the road. IM is 1-1 after defeating Gwinn 27-8 last Friday.
Hornets 7 0 0 7 -- 14
Wykons 0 7 7 13 -- 27