Football: Calumet shuts out Norway

Norway quarterback Trey Doda, right, hands the ball off to running back Austin Janssen against Calumet on Friday in Calumet. (Eddie OÕNeill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — With parents and fans wrapped up in blankets and light jackets, the Copper Kings put on a show for the home crowd, cruising to a 34-0 win Friday over the Knights.

“They just keep getting better,” said Copper Kings coach John Croze about his team. “They really love the game of football and you can tell that week in and week out.”

Croze said this group of players is unique in that they have been playing together since sixth grade and their teamwork shines on the field.

With Friday’s victory, the Copper Kings (5-0) and remained in first place in the WestPAC and in the UP among large schools. They were ranked No. 9 in the state on Michigan’s Associated Press football poll for Division 6 schools as well.

According to Croze, that is something to be proud of for a school in the Upper Peninsula.

The Copper Kings didn’t play small. They scored 22 points in the second quarter and 12 in the third. Quarterback Brent Loukus threw for 73 yards and had a touchdown. Travis Ojala led the Copper Kings on the ground with 137 yards and a touchdown. His brother, Matt, had three receptions for 58 yards of passing yards.

Travis Ojala started the scoring spree in the second quarter with a 62-yard run up the middle where he avoided a number of tackles on his way to the end zone. Minutes later, senior wide receiver Sam Erkkila made it 13-0 with an 11-yard scamper through the left side of the hash marks.

Trevor Hendrickson followed with a one-yard push for the Copper Kings with 3:17 on the clock before halftime.

The Copper Kings held the Knights to just 178 yards of total offense while they racked up 350 yards of their own.

Much of Norway’s game was played in their end of the field as they were 4-14 on third-down conversions. In short, they mounted no real offensive threat beyond the 50-yard line in the contest.

In the third quarter, Loukus hit Matt Ojala, who had tight coverage on him, with a stunning 33-yard pass. Ojala then dashed 47 yards for a TD.

Also in the third quarter was an Erkkila 34-yard run for six points with 1:33 on the clock.

In his post-game comments to his team, Norway’s coach Bob Madigan gave credit where credit was due.

“Calumet is a good team, but you guys fought hard and kept your heads up,” he said. “Let’s leave here tonight knowing what we need to do to get better.”

Next up for Calumet is a trip south to Iron Mountain next Friday.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Croze said. “Every week is a different week and we’re headed into Iron Mountain like we’re 0-0.”