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Lightning storm, Calumet spoil Gwinn’s shot at first football win

CALUMET — With two touchdowns scored before even getting a first down, Calumet dominated Gwinn 27-0 on Friday night at Agassiz Field in a high school football game shortened to one half by inclement weather.

The Copper Kings (1-1) scored on the first play from scrimmage — a 55-yard touchdown run from junior Paul Sturos.

After forcing a Gwinn three-and-out, Calumet scored six points again on the second play of their next possession when junior Dryden Nelson carried the ball 46 yards down the left sideline.

Just like that, after less than three minutes of play, Calumet led 13-0. The Kings padded their lead before the end of the first quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 30-yard pass on the previous play from Sturos to senior Dean Loukus to put Calumet up 20-0.

“We have some big-play-capability athletes, and we saw that tonight,” Calumet head coach John Croze said. “We can hit you at any point with (many) athletes and I think we just showed how dangerous we can be.”

Gwinn (0-2) attempted an onside kick to start the game, recovered by Calumet for good field position. That was a trend that continued for the rest of the contest. Sturos’ TD run came with only 12 seconds run off the clock, followed by a successful extra-point kick.

Gwinn then punted to set Calumet up on the Modeltowner 44. Calumet missed the PAT kick on Nelson’s TD and led 13-0 with 9:17 left in the first quarter.

A good kickoff pinned Gwinn deep in its territory on the 14-yard line. An inability to move the ball and a penalty quickly put them on their own 1-yard line and forced another three-and-out.

A bad snap on the ensuing punt from the end zone led to a shanked kick and Calumet took over again with great field position, this time on the Gwinn 28.

A pass from Sturos to Loukus gave Calumet 1st-and-goal from the 3 before the Gwinn defense stiffened and stopped Calumet on third and fourth downs from the 1 to get the ball back on downs.

But again, the Modeltowners had to punt from their own end zone and the Kings took over at the Gwinn 36.

On the first play of Calumet’s fourth possession — the Kings never really had to put a drive together — Sturos hit Loukus with that long pass play and with one minute left in the first quarter, the Kings had a 20-0 lead despite running just one play from their own side of the field.

Gwinn finally got a decent start off a good kickoff return that put them at their own 40. The next play appeared to be a 1st-down run into Calumet territory, but it was negated by a penalty. The quarter ended and Gwinn was forced to punt again to start the second quarter.

Loukus’ return of that kick set Calumet up at the Gwinn 36. That’s when Calumet had their only ineffective series of the night, taking a penalty and throwing incomplete on 4th-and-19.

While the Modeltowners took over on downs, they promptly fumbled the ball to Calumet near midfield.

A penalty left the Kings facing 3rd-and-long, but Sturos hit Loukus with a pass towards the right sideline to bring up a reasonable 4th-and-3, which Nelson converted with a 20-yard scamper for first down.

Kings’ junior Jackson Rilei carried the ball to set up 1st-and-goal at the 3. Again, Gwinn played tough in short yardage and forced Calumet into fourth down. This time the Copper Kings cashed in through the air when Sturos completed a toss to Loukus with 3:20 left before half to round out the scoring.

While Gwinn produced a first down on their last possession, the clock ran out before they threatened to reach paydirt.

At halftime, coaches and officials convened to discuss shortening the contest due to thunderstorms moving into the area. The game was stopped as one player from each team came onto the field to perform a perfunctory kickoff in order to start the third quarter and make the game official for the MHSAA.

Lightning flashed within minutes of the game’s end.

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