WIC shakes off slow start, upends BR-H
The WIC cheering section will be back at Nelson Field on Sept. 13 when the Wykons host Manistique in just one of a handful of events set for this week.
IRON RIVER—With his team down 8-0 after a rather uneven first half against Bark River-Harris on Sept. 6, West Iron County coach Mike Berutti could have been justified in letting loose with a fiery halftime speech.
But he chose not to. His message during the break was clear, though a bit counterintuitive.
“I told them this is exactly what we needed,” Berutti said. “We needed to test our mettle, to see what we’re made of. Are we going to fall apart mentally, are we going to fall apart physically, are we going to fall apart as a team?”
The answer to all that was an emphatic “no.” On the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, senior quarterback Trey Bociek found classmate Noah Thomson running free near the left sideline for a 48-yard pass down to the Broncos 15-yard line.
Five players later, Bociek snuck in from the one, and after connecting with Nathan Thomson on the two-point conversion, West Iron had pulled even and had turned the momentum of the game completely on its head.
Before the third quarter was complete, the Wykons scored three more touchdowns and were on their way to a 29-14 West Pac Conference Iron Division triumph at Nelson Field.
Bociek scored two rushing touchdowns and hit Noan Thomson for another, while Nathan Thomson ignited his team and the crowd with a 58-yard run as West Iron (2-0, 2-0) sent the Broncos (1-1, 1-1) packing.
“It was a completely dif-
ferent game in the second half,” Nathan Thomson said. “At halftime, Coach said, ‘Hey, this is good for us, we need some adversity’ and we came out and played a whole different game.”
West Iron showed its teeth on defense as well. After BR-H drove 66 yards on 10 plays midway through the second quarter to take an 8-0 lead, the Wykons shut down the Broncos, who scored 56 points in their season-opening win over Gwinn, to nothing until a late score against the WIC reserves.
“What I saw here tonight was some guys step up and build some confidence,” Berutti said. “We have guys that have played for me for a couple of years and I know what they have. But a guy like Nolan Anderson at free safety, that was a question mark for us. And I thought Nolan Anderson played pretty darn well. I mean, he was all over the field.
“But him stepping up, Blake Lindberg stepping up, Gage Larson learned some things, Cole Grifka, Robbie Seymour, Sabastian Saaranen on the D-line, we started getting things together and that was exciting.”
While the WIC defense stymied the Broncos’ offensive attack, the Wykon offense got untracked. After gaining only 81 yards in the first half, including just 37 yards on 15 carries (2.5 average) on the ground, West Iron ripped off 134 yards rushing and 113 passing in the second half.