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Iron River derailed Houghton in 1947

August 16, 2012 - Burt Angeli
First off, the late Ron Nettell deserves to be in the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame.

"Ron Nettell was the greatest athlete athlete I coached in my time here," said Peter Bugni, a Houghton coach for 40 years. "He was one of those of kind of guys who could do everything well."

Andy Anderson and Paul Peterson championed Nettell’s U.P. Sports Hall of Fame induction, which will take place next spring. It seemed like my occasional phone calls with Andy, the former Felch Rangers baseball manager, would include a pitch for Nettell. Peterson, a longtime Copper Country scribe, wrote more than one story praising the record-setting Houghton and Michigan Tech football player.

In the 1947 football season, Nettell and fullback Pete Noblet powered Houghton to a 7-0 mark. The Gremlins buried Crystal Falls 64-0 for one of those seven wins.

Iron River spoiled that perfect season in the final game by holding Nettell to 33 yards in a 14-6 decision. Coach Harry Monson’s Redskins posted 17 first downs to three for Houghton.

Frankie Kopenski, playing with a trick knee, rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries. Kopenski and Roland Rometti also connected for a pair of touchdown passes. Tom Zyskowski was another factor for Iron River.

Kopenski had missed the previous game, “knocked colder than a Chicago market herring,” according to Buck Erickson of the Iron Mountain News.

Nettell died in a traffic accident in 2005.

“My father-in-law was a really awesome athlete,” said Jennifer Nettell, Dickinson Area YMCA director, noting he also participated in track and hockey ...



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