Copper Kings roll past Purple Hornets

Foster Miller of L'Anse, right, looks to make Calumet defender Sam Erkkila miss during their West PAC football game in L'Anse on Friday night, Oct. 6, 2017. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Bryce Derouin)

By BRYCE DEROUIN

Houghton Daily

Mining Gazette

L’ANSE — Calumet used a trademark of its past two successful seasons on Friday night against L’Anse — a dominant power-running game between the tackles, matched by a swarming physical defense.

That hard-nosed brand of football garnered consecutive West PAC titles but has mostly eluded this year’s Copper Kings.

Now it’s back. The Silver and Blue pounded out 245 yards rushing and finished lengthy drives of 80 and 88 yards to earn a 22-14 West PAC victory over the Purple Hornets.

“We’re finally starting to play with confidence,” Calumet head coach John Croze said. “It’s a great time of the year to be playing with confidence.”

Calumet (3-3 West PAC) capping a 17-play, 80-yard opening drive that lasted nearly 8 1/2 minutes with a 5-yard touchdown run by junior Trevor Hendrickson.

Calumet’s line was able to get consistent push to generate holes inside for Hendrickson, who finished with 94 yards on 21 carries. Junior Brent Loukus provided the big-play element in the option, gaining 88 yards on 13 attempts.

“I think they maybe kind of wore on us a bit because we couldn’t get our defense off the field,” L’Anse head coach Mark Leaf said. “We had a little trouble defending that option at times.”

L’Anse (4-3,3-2) had a chance to go up two scores on its opening possession of the second half, driving to the Calumet 25 before several penalties stalled the drive.

“The two penalties killed that drive and really swung the momentum their way,” Leaf said.

Senior Foster Miller led the L’Anse offense with 105 yards on 20 carries and had 38-yard TD early that answered Calumet’s first TD.

“We try to get the edge with Foster with his speed and vision,” Leaf said. “Our tackle, Max Ostermeyer, is solid on that (left) side, and we look to run there a lot.”

The Hornets were without junior receiver-defensive back Logan Fish, but junior Reese Waara stepped up in the passing game with a 21-yard TD catch on a jump ball in the end zone to give L’Anse a 14-8 advantage.

L’Anse heads to Eagle River, Wisconsin, for a game at Northland Pines on Friday.

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