Wykons set to host Frankfort in regional title game

The Wykons will battle Saturday in their first regional title game since 2008.

West Iron County (10-1) hosts Frankfort (8-2) at 12:30 p.m. CST Saturday at Nelson Field.

“It’s an exciting time and Frankfort’s coming to town with a real good football team that can put a lot of points on the board,” West Iron County coach Mike Berutti said.

The Wykons, West PAC champions, are coming off a dramatic district title win against Norway last week. West Iron scored twice in the fourth quarter to beat the Knights 20-14. It’s West Iron’s first district title win since 2008. The Wykons lost 35-12 to Traverse City St. Francis in the regional championship that year.

But Frankfort presents its own challenges that the Wykons haven’t seen much of: a spread offense with a skilled backfield.

“Our defense is going to have to play disciplined and make tackles in hopes of getting the win,” Berutti said.

Frankfort is coming off a 53-30 win against Gaylord St. Mary.

Frankfort scored 13 points in the first 28 seconds. Matt Loney returned a kickoff for a 65-yard touchdown. Kirk Myers recovered a St. Mary fumble and returned it for another score. Later, Myers scored again on a 40-yard read option.

“They have a running back and a quarterback that are extremely gifted runners,” Berutti said. “They’re going to spread the ball out offensively, run with three to four wide receivers and let the quarterback and running back do some damage. We’re going ot have to be disciplined. We’ll have to know where (they) are on the field at all times.”

The Wykons will continue to rely on the consistent production of running back Jayce Brockhagen, who was a steady option throughout the season with over 1,100 rushing yards and 18 TDs.

“We added a couple wrinkles to our offense this week. It’s not something we’ve done a lot of,” Berutti said. “We’re going to test them out and catch them off-guard. We’re going to end up doing what we do best. We’re not going to throw away the playbook. They know the majority of our plays. We know the majority of their plays. They’ve got some plays we probably didn’t see on film as they didn’t see some of our plays.”

A forecast of 29 degrees with a 20 percent chance of precipitation and 10 mph weather is similar to the weather that settled in Iron River in last week’s game between the Wykons and Knights.

Brockhagen ran 28 times for 205 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Norway. The Wykons had 16 first downs and 311 total yards including 265 rushing.

Berutti said playing a Saturday playoff game is nothing out of the ordinary as the Wykons hosted Northland Pines on a Saturday in early October. The biggest challenge is keeping the team focused in elimination games, Berutti said.

“It’s been a long week. Our kids have had some other things to take their minds. They’re cheering on the volleyball team playing for a regional championship tonight,” Berutti said of the volleyball’s regional final against Calumet. “We’ve had some real good practices this week. we’ve had the opportunity to play on Saturday afternoons at home. we have a little bit of a routine and we know that. I’m expecting come Saturday both teams are going to be full of energy at 12:30. Sometimes you’ve got to weather that first four minutes of the storm where you get your first hit, your first block or your first tackle.”

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