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The Calumet Copper Kings picked up right where they left off last year — winning football games.
On Thursday, Calumet did it in a big way on a brand new field and before a set of bleachers full of hometown fans, rolling to a 47-7 win over Gogebic on new turf at Agassiz Field.
“For the first game of this season, I am really happy,” said Copper King head coach John Croze. “We executed well, and we played with a real high intensity and made minimal mistakes.”
It took less than six minutes into the first quarter and the new Copper King end zone was christened with its first touchdown. Calumet quarterback Scott Loukus capped an 80-yard drive with a quarterback sneak past the Gogebic.
In the second quarter, the Copper Kings piled on a whopping 28 points to take control for good. It started at the 9:04 mark when senior Nick Djerf carried a hand off from Loukus in to the end zone from the 8-yard line. He was right back at a play later for the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Calumet’s Andy Helminen jumped on a fumble by the Gogebic’s kick-off returner and created another offensive drive for the Copper Kings. This time it was sophomore Dryden Nelson who punched in a 3-yard dash at the 7:32 mark.
Nelson then picked off a pass by the Miners quarterback Connor Fingeroos and returned it to the Gogebic 30. Djerf took a hand off from Loukus and weaved his way towards the goal line for a touchdown a play later. Their two point conversion was good and they now led by 28-0.
The Copper Kings finished the first half with one more touchdown around the two-minute mark when Loukus hit Nelson with a 75-yard pass that made it 34-0 at halftime.
“Scotty did a great job of running the offense tonight,” Croze said. “When you put 47 points on the board that is a sure sign that you are doing something right in directing the offense.”
The Copper Kings had 371 yards of total offense on the night while holding Gogebic to 115. Djerf led the way for Calumet with seven carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
The Copper Kings’ defensive line was led by Alex Studebaker, who had a sack. The Miners never mounted any offensive charge throughout the game.
“We did a great job of getting to the ball and tackling,” Croze said. “We made it very tough on Gogebic by controlling the line of scrimmage.”
Calumet’s Jayden Gariepy and Helminen had touchdown runs in the third quarter.
The Miners played their best quarter of the game in the fourth. They finally shut down the Copper Kings’ offense and scored their only touchdown of the game. On second-and-goal, Gogebic’s Peyton Solberg dashed in to the end zone for a 3-yard score.
Thursday’s win capped a great start to a new season on a new field, Croze said.
“What a blessing to be on this field,” Croze said. “I cannot thank the community enough for giving us this opportunity and coming out tonight and supporting us.”
Calumet plays at Negaunee next week.
Gogebic 0 0 0 7 — 7
Calumet 6 28 13 0 — 47
C — Loukus 20 run (Conversion miss), 6:04
C — Djerf 8 run (Conversion run by Djerf), 9:04
C — Nelson 3 run (Conversion miss), 7:32
C — Djerf 30 run (Conversion run by Dean Loukus), 6.40
C — Nelson 75 pass from Loukus (Torola kick failed), 2:00
C — Gariepy 1 run (Torola kick), 8:01
C — Helminen 48 run (Torola kick failed), 2:29
G — Solberg 3 run (Baross kick), 3:35