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On a cold, foggy Friday night, both combantants came out swinging. The Houghton Gremlins, winners of three in a row, were fired up to face the Calumet Copper Kings for football on the road at Agassiz Field. The Gremlins began the game on a four-game winning streak in which their defense had shutout their last two opponents while their offense rolled to the tune of 74-0.
That all came to an screaming halt in less less than four minutes into Friday’s contest. The Copper Kings took possession of the ball first and moved the ball downfield into a first and goal opportunity. On second and four, Calumet’s Trevor Hendrickson scampered in for a two-yard touchdown.
Hendrickson’s touchdown would turn out to be a flash of the Copper Kings battle plan throughout as they poked and chipped away offensively all night to topple the Gremlins 35-0 and move to 7-0 on the season.
“Once again, our offensive line played tremendous tonight,” said Calumet coach John Croze. “They are all very athletic. A lot of them are three-sport athletes who know how to compete, and they know how to run. That makes a difference.”
He was equally impressed with his defensive line, who recorded their third consecutive shutout of the season. In their last three games the Copper Kings have outscored their opponents 94-0.
Calumet stuck again to their running game as they’ve done all season.
The Copper Kings ran for 256 yards. The Gremlins had eight yards on the ground.
“I like to have our guys control the ball to keep the other team off the field. We slowly are moving down the field first down after first down and it works,”said Croze.
Calumet racked up 21 first downs while Houghton had three. The Gremlins time and time again were turned away by the force of Calumet’s defensive line.
In the second quarter, Calumet put up another 14 points. First came a 2:30 drive for 53 yards which ended in a Travis Ojala 5-yard push in to the end zone. Four minutes later, Sam Erkkila punched in his six points with a 5-yard run up the middle. The two-point conversion was good.
It capped a three minute, 45-yard drive and put the score at 20-0 at halftime.
No scoring came in the third quarter as the two rivals battled it out at midfield for much of those 12 minutes. They traded fourth down possessions numerous times.
With less than three minutes gone in the fourth quarter, Ojala once again capped a 39-yard drive with a gutsy 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion pass by quarterback Brent Loukus to Brandon Antilla was good.
With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Andy Helminen sneaked in for six points after a 45-yard campaign. The point after kick by Daniel Moreno was good.
Up by 35 points and with less than five minutes left in the game, Croze went to his bench and put in some players who work hard at practice and go unrecognized come game time.
“These guys do a great job and help us to execute our offense and defense,” he said.
While the Copper Kings are 7-0 and have won the WestPac, Croze isn’t resting on his laurels.
“We can’t stop now,” he said. “We’ve got to keep getting better as we look down the road we will have some tough games. The biggest thing on our mind is Hancock next weekend.”
Houghton 0 0 0 0 0
Calumet 6 14 0 15 35
CAL – Hendrickson 2-yard run (Conversion miss), 8:23
CAL – Travis Ojala 5-yard run (Conversion miss), 10:23.
CAL – Erkkila 5-yard run (Loukus run), 6:46.
CAL – 9:10 Ojala 1-yard run (Lokus to Brandon Antilla), 9:10.
CAL – Helminen 1-yard run (Morena kick) 0:22.
Total yards – HOU 53 (45 pass, 8 rush); CAL 257 (1 pass, 256 rush)
Passing – HOU, Butvilas 2-10, 45 yards; CAL, Loukus 1-6, 1 yard; Rushing – HOU, Zapolnik 5-15; CAL – Ojala 24-108; Receiving – HOU, Weingarten 2-25; CAL – Erikkila, 1-1