IRON RIVER—West Iron County’s defense earned its third shutout of the season and the Wykons’ backs galloped 413 yards Oct. 4, powering the Wykons to a 41-0 win over Calumet at Nelson Field.
The victory over the injury-depleted Copper Kings boosts the Wykons to a 4-0 record in the West Pac Conference and 6-0 overall, clinching a berth in the state playoffs.
As for the conference title – that’s going to be decided this Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Wykons host Northland Pines on Homecoming weekend at Nelson Field.
To judge by the Calumet game, the Wykons are ready. “Our offensive and defensive lines,” said Coach Mike Berutti, “played really well. We came off the ball and opened some big holes.”
Calumet quickly learned there would be no stopping the Wykons on this misty night. West Iron scored on all five of its possessions in the first half. The Wykons never punted and only passed twice. They didn’t have to; the ground game did the job.
West Iron got on the board seven plays after the opening kickoff, with QB Andrew Peterson scoring on a 6-yard run, following gains of 20 and 23 yards by Alec Schmelebeck. Ryan Rogers’ extra point put WIC ahead early 7-0.
Two more TD drives in the first quarter. The second TD came after Brandon Olson returned a punt to the Copper Kings 30. After that, a 13-yard Peterson pass to Rogers, Chasz Jonet’s 11-yard run to the Calumet 6, and Schmelebeck took it in from there.
Schmelebeck scored again from 1 yard out on the final play of the quarter, capping a seven-play drive and putting West Iron up 19-0.
Calumet put together its best drive of the night early in the second quarter, helped by a long punt return off a fake reverse, and drove deep into the West Iron end. But the ball came loose, and Schmelebeck recovered the fumble at the Wykon 17.
If that wasn’t demoralizing enough for Calumet, Schmelebeck gained 12 yards on the next play and then busted loose for a 71-yard touchdown. Peterson ran in the two-pointer, and West Iron led 27-0.
One more score before halftime, at the end of a 12-play, 67-yard possession. Schmelebeck ran for 15, Jonet struck for 12 and Peterson gained 14 before Berutti said “enough” and sent in Olson and Nick Helgemo to take over in the backfield.
Peterson scored on a keeper from the 1 in the final seconds of the half, and Helgemo’s two-point run gave the Wykons a 35-0 halftime lead.
That meant a running clock throughout the second half. The Wykons’ first defensive unit played one series and went into spectator mode after that. The final points came when Tylor Capadagli scored from the 1 after a 66-yard drive in the fourth quarter.
For their first game in wet conditions, Berutti said the Wykons protected the ball. “We made our cuts, even on the wet grass—there wasn’t slipping and falling. They just came out, played football and took care of business.
“We did things right. That just helps build confidence as we keep going.”
No new injuries. Joe Pisoni returned to action while Ron Varney was held out to rest his ankle. “We need him full go for next week,” said his coach.
Team stats: WIC, 426 total yards (46-413 rushing, 1-2-13 passing), Calumet, 153 total yards (23-101 rushing, 6-14-52 passing). First downs: WIC 19, Calumet 7.
Individual stats. Rushing: Alec Schmelebeck, 14-199; Chasz Jonet, 9-76; Andrew Peterson, 4-30; Tylor Capadagli, 4-28; Brandon Olson, 6-28; Nick Helgemo, 6-20.
Defense (tackles-assists): Helgemo, 7-1; Jake Polich, 4-2; Schmelebeck, 4-0; Jonet, 4-0. Interceptions: Ryan Rogers, Olson. Fumble recovery: Schmelebeck. Sack: Jonet.
• The West Pac title will be decided at Nelson Field before a Homecoming crowd Oct. 12. Northland Pines comes in with a 6-1 record—the Eagles’ only loss was 38-26 against Hurley on Sept. 20. They rolled over Houghton 55-16 last Friday.
Cop.Kings 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Wykons 19 16 0 6 -- 41