Coming into the game with a 3-0 record, Wykon coach Mike Berutti warned his team not to take the 0-3 Red Devils too lightly.
“I was nervous coming over here,” Berutti said. “We were too loose on the bus. But we came out and played real well. We did what we had to do. We put pressure on them right off the bat.”
They Wykons had several advantages over the Red Devils. West Iron plays seven seniors on offense and nine on defense. At least five are three-year starters. The Wykons are a very good and very seasoned team.
By contrast, Ironwood has three seniors on its roster.
WIC has the size on the line that poses match-up problems for teams. They are led by their tackles, Bryson Heimerl (6-3, 300 lbs.) and Andy Rudophi (6-1, 265).
“We’ve got size and now the line is getting it to where it should be,” Berutti said. “And we’ve got three good backs over 200 pounds. They run hard and arm tackles don’t bring them down.”
WIC ran for 274-yards and totaled 412 in a game played with running clock from the third quarter on.
“When they’re big, you have to be quicker or block from angles or change your blocking scheme,” Niemi said. “You have to find a way to win. And we have to get the physical aspect of the game back.”
West Iron County runs a Wing-T offense that emphasizes using longer drives to keep the ball away from the other team’s offense. Eventually, your team scores and the other team is limited on the offense it can run. If the Wing-T finds a play it can continually run for four-yards, it runs that play until the defense stops it.
WIC’s opening drive was 10-plays (using all runs) and went 66-yards with quarterback Andrew Peterson scampering into the end zone from two-yards out. Ryan Rodgers made the PAT kick to put the Wykons up 7-0 at the 8:46 mark.
After an interception on a long Ironwood pass, WIC struck quickly as Rodgers got behind the secondary and Peterson hit him in stride with a 73-yard bomb. Rodgers extra point boot made it 14-0 with 7:14 remaining.
In the second quarter, West Iron’s Chasz Jonet plunged into the end zone on two one-yard runs and Peterson fired a 55-yard score to Alec Schmelebeck. Schmelebeck is a 5-8, 200 pound junior, who looked like a bowling bowl knocking down pins as he weaved his way through the defense.
By halftime, the Wykons led 34-0 and there was little doubt as to the game’s ending.
When West Iron County scored at the 7:31 mark of the third quarter, it gave the Wykons a 41-0 advantage and the running clock kicked in for the rest of the game.
Berutti has said the defense is the strength of his team.
“Our defense played well early and then got a little lax,” he said. “We concentrated on their option and I thought we defended it very well. I’m happy with the way the team is coming along at 4-0, but obviously we still have things to work on.”
Niemi was frustrated that the Red Devils did move the ball at times, but their drives sputtered out.
“We would get close and then cough it up,” Niemi said. “We’re averaging three turnovers a game. We’re still trying to find a way to get that first win. We had it going in Washburn and it hasn’t happened since.”
The Wykons (4-0, 2-0 West-PAC) travel to Houghton Friday, while Ironwood (0-4, 0-2 West-PAC) goes to Northland Pines for another tough conference game.
WIC 14 20 7 8 — 49
Ironwood 0 0 0 0 — 0
WIC — Andrew Peterson 2 run (Ryan Rogers kick), 8:46
WIC — Rodgers 73 pass from Peterson (Rodgers kick), 7:14
WIC — Chasz Jonet 1 run (Peterson run), 8:51
WIC — Alec Schmelebeck 55 pass from Peterson (run failed), 7:31
WIC — Chasz Jonet 1 run (pass failed), 1:54
WIC — Nick Helgemo 18 run (Tommi Kesti-Kastari kick), 4:04
WIC — Kesti-Kastari 6 run (Helgemo run), 3:23
Rushes-yards 33-274 31-103
Comp-Att-Int 4-7-0 2-8-1
Passing 138 37
Total yards 412 140
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-yds. 4-30 2-20
RUSHING — West Iron County, Ron Varney 3-31, Tommi Kesti-Kastari 3-26, Andrew Peterson 1-1, Ryan Rogers 1-16, Alec Schmelebeck 9-107, Chasz Jonet 6-31, Nick Helgemo 6-52, Max Maloney 2-10, Brandon Olson 2-12. Ironwood, Adam Mackey, 11-46, Brody Stefonich 8-15, Denver Sharrow 6-20, Shane Buckley 5-20, Zach Combs 1-2.
RECEIVING — WIC, Ron Varney 1-3, Ryan Rogers 1-72, Alec Schmelebeck 1-55, Brandon Olson 1-14. Ironwood, Jared Sobolewski 2-37.