Ishpeming’s mastery of Wykons continues
IRON RIVER—There have been hopes this year that the West Iron County football team would finally get its long-sought revenge on Ishpeming. After all, the Hematites graduated several key players from last year’s team which shut out the Wykons twice, lost their highly successful coach Jeff Olson to retirement and had already been beaten twice this year.
But those hopes were dashed as UPSSA No. 2 Ishpeming continued its mastery over West Iron with a 28-0 win in a West Pac Conference Iron Division matchup on Oct. 11 in Ishpeming.
Hematite senior John Corkin returned the opening kickoff for an 80-yard touchdown and senior Ben Pruett, who took over for Corkin at quarterback after the latter was injured, scored three touchdowns in the second half as Ishpeming maintained its winning ways over the Wykons.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the third-ranked Wykons, who drove the ball into Hematite territory six times and came away with nothing.
“We had multiple chances,” West Iron coach Mike Berutti said. “Of course, the kids are frustrated, they played their hearts out, they left it out on the field. You get disappointed when we have those opportunities, but when we have opportunities to score (against Ishpeming), we haven’t been able to.”
The win gave the Hematites sole possession of first place in the Iron Division, one game in front of the Wykons and Bark River-Harris. The result could also have implications on where tournament games will be held.
If West Iron and Ishpeming were to meet in the playoffs, the Wykons would have to find a way to find the Hematite end zone, something they haven’t been able to do since a 20-7 district loss to the Hematites in 2014.
After that game, the Wykons didn’t face Ishpeming until last year when they fell 14-0 in a regular season game at Nelson Field and then 38-0 in the district at Ishpeming.
To be fair, this year’s Ishpeming team has talent and size like in years previous, but the Hematites didn’t appear as dominating as they had been and really didn’t have a jump-off-the-page performance through six weeks. That was until West Iron came to town.
“They have three huge offensive linemen back from last year, one of which was the All-U.P. Dream Team center,” Berutti explained. “They’re coming at you with big, big bodies.”