Copper Kings roll to first win of the season

CALUMET — Warm nights at Agassiz Field are hard to come by during the football season, but the weather allowed fans to leave their coats at home Thursday when the Calumet Copper Kings (1-1) hosted the Westwood Patriots (0-2). A dominant second half by the Kings propelled the home team to a 42-22 victory.

Despite the final score, the game was close at half, 14-14.

“We came a little bit flat,” Calumet coach Josh Frantti said. “But, the team responded well in the second half.”

Westwood coach Marcus Tucker, in his thoughts on the dramatic second-half swing in momentum, felt his team ran out of gas.

“I mean, to be honest with you, the biggest thing is that there are no excuses in football, but it’s tough to ask these kids to play as hard as they’re playing for four quarters when you’re out here with 20 kids, so I think we got tired,” he said.

Disappointed with the first half, Frantti was much more happy with the final two quarters.

“We just kept coming over and over, and they tried to adjust, but our guys did a good job adjusting to what they’re trying to do,” he said. “At the end of the day, our kids just put it in their minds that they were going to go at them.

“I had a little talk at halftime to get them going. We’re in a dogfight at halftime, which challenged the kids to come on and put the game away, and they did.”

The Copper Kings had 296 total yards, all on the ground – Cam Anderson led Calumet with 25 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Jack Heinonen had 14 for 66 and a score. Garrett Peterson ran for 27 yards on nine carries and two TDs. Ben Anderson had eight carries for 18 yards and a touchdown. Xander Hoffman converted on all six of his point-after kicks.

Westwood finished the game with 348 yards, 235 in the air, and 113 on the ground. Tristan Miller went 14-for-25 with 235 yards in the air and added 32 rushing with two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing. Karter Scherer had 64 yards rushing and a TD. Byron Tossova had five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Chase Korpi had five grabs for 79 yards.

Calumet received the opening kickoff, and began their drive at the 33-yard line. The Kings took the ball the length of the field on ten plays, capped off by a 37-yard TD run from Cam. With 6:16 left in the first half, Calumet led 7-0. It took a little over three minutes for the Patriots to score with a 2-yard run from Miller. Westwood went for two and got it to give them an 8-7 lead. That’s where it would stand at the end of the first.

Four minutes into the second quarter, on fourth-and-four in their end, the Patriots tried a flea flicker. It worked to perfection, and Miller hit Tossova for a 55-yard score. Westwood missed the two-point attempt, but extended their lead to seven, 14-7. Peterson tied it 14-14 from one yard out with 2:36 left in the half. The remaining time featured a few failed possessions, but the final seconds produced excitement. A Westwood punt bounced along the Kings sideline. When it seemed the ball would roll out of bounds, it was scooped up by a Calumet player who took off, avoiding Patriot tacklers to the 1-yard line, but failed to cross into the endzone. The teams went into halftime locked at 14.

The tie turned in the Copper Kings’ favor after the break.

The Patriots received the kick to start the third quarter but were forced to punt after a short drive. The Copper Kings took little time to take the lead. At the 8:19 mark, Peterson scampered 29 yards into the endzone on a QB keeper, adding seven more points to their total. With the score 21-14, the Copper Kings defense stepped up and caused a turnover via strip-sack deep into the Patriots’ end. Calumet could not capitalize.

However, Westwood turned the ball over again on their next possession. An interception set the Copper Kings up with 3:07 on the clock. Aided by a couple of significant penalties, Calumet made it a two-score game with 25 seconds left in the third after a Heinonen 1-yard TD run.

Calumet looked strong, heading into the final quarter up 28-14.

For the third consecutive drive, the Copper Kings forced a turnover. It was an interception nearly returned for a touchdown. Set up in excellent field position, Calumet took advantage, and Cam punched one in from 15 yards to go up by three scores, 35-14. Westwood, once again, could not get out of their own way by fumbling the following kickoff, making it four lost possessions in a row.

“We got lazy, and we were sloppy with the ball. We didn’t protect ourselves by protecting the football. It’s tough to win that way,” Tucker said.

Ben scored for the Copper Kings off the turnover and put the game out of reach at 42-14.

The Patriots did show fight. With 2:06 left in the game, Scherer busted a 66-yard TD run, but after the successful 2-point try, the game was far out of reach, 42-22.


Calumet will travel to Negaunee on Friday, Sept. 8, to take on the Miners.

Westwood goes to Menomonie on the same day to battle the Maroons.

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