After an offensive first half Friday night, the Calumet Copper Kings and Gogebic Miners decided to play some defense in the second half.
The two teams were knotted at 22-22 after the first two quarters, but the only scoring in the final half came with six minutes to play when junior tailback Travis Ojala of CHS scooted in from 3 yards out.
Matt Ojala took a pass from Brent Loukus for the 2-point conversion for an important 30-22 victory.
The win lifted Calumet to 5-3 on the season and kept their hopes alive for a playoff spot.
“It was just a high-intensity game we had to have as far as the playoffs,” Calumet coach John Croze said afterward. “We came out in the second half, made some adjustments and got a win.”
The game, at times, turned into a battle between the standout running backs from each side.
Travis Ojala and Trevor Hendrickson accounted for well over 200 yards rushing for the locals, while Bailey Ribich and Jacob Suzik had big nights for the Miners.
Croze said Gogebic,
which closed at 3-5 on the season, was tough.
“They had backs who ran hard and they had some big linemen who opened holes for them,” Croze noted. “They’re a solid team.”
Calumet took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards to paydirt. Junior QB Brent Loukus capped off the drive with a nice 39-yard scoring jaunt.
Gogebic wasted no time evening things at 8-8 when Brayden Tomes spearheaded a scoring drive with some hard running. His 5-yard TD was the equalizer.
Travis Ojala’s 3-yard scoring run early in the second quarter put the Kings up 14-8.
Ribich, the slashing runner of the Gogebic offense, sprinted 31 yards for a score. Not long afterward, Tomes tacked on the 2-point conversion for a 16-14 lead.
Matt Ojala caught a 55-yard scoring pass from Loukus, who added the 2-point conversion with a run to put the northend crew ahead 22-16.
But Gogebic tied it up before the half ended when Parker Wilson tossed a short TD strike to Suzik. The 2-point run failed.
Calumet had a golden chance with 22 seconds left in the half after recovering a Gogebic fumble inside the Gogebic 12-yard line.
But two attempts into line the from 2 yards away misfired.
The second half defensive effort by the Kings was sparked by senior Nick Voelker, who was called on to replace the injured Cooper Twardzik.
“We asked Nick Voelker to go in at defensive end when Cooper (Twardzik) was hurt,” Croze noted. “He played outstanding at a position he hadn’t played a lot. We had to switch some guys to his spot and they all played real well.”
The game-winning drive by CHS was set up by stopping the Miners around midfield. The running of Ojala and Hendrickson got the ball into position for the clincher.
Calumet will host tough Gladstone Friday night in a crucial meeting.
“We know they (Braves) have one heck of a team,” Croze commented. “But I’m glad we’re playing on our field in Week 9. Hopefully we can keep our play going and make the playoffs.”
Gogebic 8 14 0 0 – 22
Calumet 8 14 0 8 – 30
CA – Brent Loukus 39 run (Matt Ojala pass from Loukus)
GO – Brayden Tomes 5 run (Tomes run)
CA – Travis Ojala 3 run (pass failed)
GO – Ribich 31 run (Tomes run)
CA – Matt Ojala 55 pass from Loukus (Loukus run)
GO – Suzik 4 pass from Parker Wilson (run failed
CA – T. Ojala 3 run (M. Ojala pass from Loukus)