Wykons rout BR-H, make school history

HARRIS – It was a history-making Friday night for the fourth-ranked West Iron County Wykons Friday night as they handed the Bark River-Harris Broncos a 44-18 football loss.

This marked the first undefeated regular season for the Wykons, who are 9-0 heading into the state playoffs. The Broncos finished 2-7.

“This is nice for the kids and the community,” said West Iron coach Mike Berutti. “The kids worked hard for this. We’ve had a lot of 8-1 teams, but this is the first time we’ve been 9-0. The punt return on the first play of the fourth quarter at Iron Mountain (in a 23-20 victory) really propelled our season. The main thing we came out of here healthy. Now, we’ll have to pick things up a little. We’re excited to find out Sunday night who we play next week.”

The Wykons took advantage of a short field on its first three scoring drives while building a 21-0 first quarter lead, taking advantage of short punts by the Broncos.

West Iron’s first drive of this non-conference outing started on the BR-H 27-yard line. Five plays later, senior quarterback Andrew Peterson tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior Chasz Jonet for a 7-0 lead.

The Wykons, who started their second drive on the Broncos’ 30, need just three plays to make in 14-0 with junior running back Alec Schmelebeck breaking off left tackle on a 13-yard run wit four minutes, 46 seconds left in the opening frame.

West Iron’s third scoring drive began at the 50, with junior running back Nick Helgemo added the third TD on a 26-yard jaunt off left tackle.

“Anytime you spot an undefeated team three touchdowns, you’re in for an uphill battle,” said BR-H coach Al Stenberg. “Giving them that short field really hurt us. Our punting was poor early on. Jorden (Sodergren) has actually done a pretty good job for us all season. It’s just that he was a little bit off early. Although, his punting got better as the game progressed.”

The Broncos got on the board early in the second quarter on Sodergren’s QB sneak at the 9:54 mark.

But West Iron responded quickly, extending its lead to 28-6 on Jonet’s 56-yard dash to the right on a counter play just 79 seconds later.

The Broncos weren’t about to lay down in their season-finale, however, as they trimmed their deficit to 28-12 on Sodergren’s 32-yard pass in double coverage to senior Kyle Kleiman.

Eighty-one seconds before halftime, the Wykons raised the count to 35-12 on Peterson’s 15-yard pass to senior Ryan Rogers.

West Iron then executed an onside kick, recovering on its own 47. It didn’t take the Wykons long to put more points up from there as Rogers scored on a reverse to the left to make it 42-12 with 23.8 seconds remaining in the half.

“We wanted to recover the onside kick and get the running clock in the second half, especially after they sustained two drives,” said Berutti. “Although that didn’t happen, I thought our second team played pretty well. It’s always important to give these guys an opportunity. We’re going to need them to step up next year.”

The Wykons added a safety with 4:36 left in the third stanza when Peterson sacked Sodergren in the end zone.

BR-H, which didn’t have any penalties, dented the scoreboard one more time against the Wykons’ second defensive unit on a seven-yard run up the middle by senior fullback Brian Latta.

“We had some seniors who played three years of varsity ball and have three wins to show for it,” said Stenberg. “For them to have this much fight against an undefeated team shows a lot of character. We had opportunities to make big plays this year and didn’t always take advantage of those. There were times we clicked, but there were too many more times when we were ragged. We’re hoping to make a bigger jump next year.”

The Wykons finished with 355 yards in total offense, including 229 on the ground. Schmelebeck ran 13 times for 86 and Jonet added 73 on just six carries. Peterson was 8-of-12 passing for 126 yards.

BR-H rushed for 136 of its 217 yards. Latta led the way with 76 in 18 attempts and junior halfback Hunter Messersmith had 64 on 10 carries. Sodergren completed 8-of-17 aerials for 81.