CALUMET - The momentum the Ishpeming football program built up with its state championship 10 months ago hasn't stopped yet and didn't even slow down Friday in a 56-12 drubbing of Calumet at Agassiz Field.
The Hematites (3-0), the No. 1 ranked Division 7 team in the first Associated Press state football poll this week, got five touchdowns from Alex Briones (three rushing, two passing) and dropped the Copper Kings to 0-3.
"We want to be versatile this year. In years past, we'll run our tailback 40, 50 times a game. We don't want to be that way all the time, but we've got some athletes this year that we can spread the ball around. Hopefully teams can't key on one person or one area," Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said.
Ishpeming’s Noah Olgren (20) makes a cut during a run in the second quarter Friday at Calumet. (Daily Mining Gazette photo by Brandon Veale)
Just about everything Ishpeming tried worked, as evidence of its mind-boggling 623 yards of total offense, 474 of them rushing.
"Overall, our line blocked very well, too. It comes down to blocking, tackling," Olson said.
Briones himself may have been too much for Calumet to handle. Two plays after back-to-back effective runs from a shotgun snap, the senior took a step in, faked the run and threw over the top to a wide-open Mitch Laurin for a 43-yard pass.
On the next drive, Ishpeming chewed up 95 yards in six plays, the last a 35-yard run from Briones around the right side.
For the second straight drive, Calumet moved the ball via the big play, but failed to punch it in, but after eight plays, Briones ran it in from 13 yards out.
Calumet finally started getting a couple stops late in the second quarter, but its night turned from bad to worse when defensive back and starting quarterback Paul Torola suffered a suspected broken collarbone diving to defend a pass in the end zone.
Replacement Tyler Loukus threw second-half touchdown passes to Eric Lasanen and Tyler Vertin against Ishpeming's defensive reserves, the first points scored against the Hematites in 11 quarters since last year's state title game, but at the end, Calumet had to give credit where credit was due.
Marcus Antilla led Ishpeming with 128 yards rushing, most of it on two second-half touchdown carries. Briones had 123 on 12 attempts, while three others had at least 40. Laurin caught three balls for 85 yards and two TDs.