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Westwood loses battle of ground games against Calumet, 28-14

ISHPEMING — Whenever Calumet and Westwood get together on a football field, you can bet on a physical game where the rushing game will carry the day.

The Copper Kings won a close battle in ground yardage, 234-220, and defeated the Patriots 28-14 on the scoreboard Friday night for its first win.

After losing to Gladstone in overtime and to Negaunee, Calumet (1-2) got back to its bread-and-butter of running the ball against a stout Westwood (2-1) front.

The Patriots controlled both of their opponents, Houghton and Iron Mountain, previously.

Both of Friday’s combatants have star running backs in Calumet’s Dryden Nelson and Westwood’s Zachary Carlson and both delivered.

Nelson finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries while adding a 39-yard TD reception with just over a minute left in the first half.

Carlson pushed through an injury and finished with 179 yards on 22 carries, including a 4-yard TD run in the third quarter. With only 12 combined passes thrown between the teams, this game was decided in the trenches.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots struck first early minutes in the second quarter with an 11-yard TD scamper by quarterback Zachary Beckman.

Calumet responded on its next possession with a 30-yard touchdown run from quarterback Paul Sturos, with Tom Erkkila extra-point kick putting Calumet up by one.

Late in the quarter on fourth down, Sturos connected with Nelson on a pass out of the backfield for his long score as the Copper Kings led 14-6 at the half.

But Westwood needed just two plays in the second half to tie the game on a 4-yard touchdown from Carlson set up by his 56-yard rush the play before. A two-point conversion pass from Beckman to Marcus Boase actually took care of the tie, making it 14-14 just 40 seconds into the second half.

Nelson took over from there for Calumet, adding TD runs of 20 and 32 yards later in the third, and with each of Erkkila’s extra points, the Copper Kings led by 14.

Neither squad scored in the fourth.

Both teams return to action at 7 Friday night with Westwood heading to Ishpeming for a rivalry game between next-door neighbors, while Calumet will host West Iron County.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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