Wykons start season in style
IRON RIVER—Often, the opening game of any prep football team’s season brings a mixture of excitement, nervous energy, miscues and uneven play. All that is understandable after a few weeks of laborious preseason practice that can become tedious, even for coaches.
Certainly, the last couple of season openers for the West Iron County Wykons produced all of that in a flat loss to Bark River-Harris in 2017 and a sluggish win last year against Munising.
This year, however, the Wykons limited those common first-game issues and seemed almost in mid-season form as they routed host Munising 32-6 in a West Pac Conference Iron Division clash on Aug. 30.
“Happy to see the way we came out, the way we controlled the line of scrimmage” WIC coach Mike Berutti said. “We have some things to clean up and shore up, but very encouraging for Game 1.”
West Iron hardly wasted a minute in establishing dominance over the Mustangs as on the second official play, senior fullback Blake Lindberg burst up the middle and ran away from defenders on a 63-yard touchdown scamper that put the Wykons up quickly.
Mario Hidalgo added the extra point and West Iron grabbed a 7-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the game.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Wykon defense dug in immediately. After allowing a first down after an offside penalty on the first Munising play, West Iron forced a punt after surrendering just nine yards on six plays.
After the poor punt, West Iron took over on its 40 and marched inside the Munising 10 before a holding penalty set things back. Mustang senior defensive back Josh Huotari picked off a Trey Bociek pass in the end zone to stop the march.
But no matter. The Wykons forced another punt shortly after and promptly went on a 49-yard drive in nine plays, culminated by junior fullback Gage Larson’s 1-yard plunge that gave West Iron a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Berutti credited his offensive line’s ability to think on its feet during the game.
“They had to go out and make their own calls,” he said. “We practiced it, but they had to go out there and do it. And I’m very happy that they were able to go out there and apply it.”