Wykons battle elements for sixth straight victory
Jayce Brockhagen is already past two Northland Pines defenders, and blockers Dakota Hawkes (60) and Brandon Henschel punch his ticket for a long journey during action at soggy Nelson Field Oct. 7.
IRON RIVER—With several hours of rain prior and all the perennial distractions of Homecoming Week, it was unlikely that the West Iron County football team’s game against Northland Pines on Oct. 7 was going to be a thing of beauty.
And it wasn’t. But what is eye-catching is that the Wykons have now won six straight games after defeating the Eagles 20-8, are one win away from clinching at least a share of the West Pac Conference championship and are playoff-bound.
With a victory over Hancock on Oct. 13, West Iron will win the league crown outright. Even if they lose, the Wykons can claim at least a share with a victory over L’Anse in the final week. Plus, a home playoff game is a strong possibility if West Iron wins at least one of its final two games.
The fact that the Wykons have staked out this lofty position after a first-week loss to Bark River-Harris should and does bring a sense of satisfaction.
“There is,” coach Mike Berutti said. “For us to rattle off six straight wins after we lost that first one. I think everybody here was a basket case after we lost that first game. We were basket cases and not believing and questioning. But I’m proud of the guys, to win (games in different ways). It shows they have a little bit of moxie.”
And confidence, if you listen to senior running back/linebacker Jayce Brockhagen.
“We’re on a roll and we’re not going to stop,” said Brockhagen, who ran for 114 yards including a 16-yard run that opened the scoring against Northland Pines. “Nobody can come here and play with us—we’re going to beat them.”
Maintaining that confidence and staying alone in first place in the West Pac was not easy against an Eagle team that played much better than its 1-7 record. After the Wykons (6-1, 5-0) capitalized on a fumbled punt and drove 36 yards on two plays–both runs by Brockhagen–Northland Pines made the rest of the game a battle.
The Eagles took advantage of a Wykon fumble into the Northland Pines end zone to switch the vibe at a drenched Nelson Field. On the ensuing play from the 20, senior running back Zack Ciran broke through the right side and outran everybody for an 80-yard touchdown. Sophomore Ryan Peterson then hit wide receiver Aaron Ewert for the two-point conversion, and just like that West Iron trailed 8-6 with 8:56 to play before halftime.