CALUMET - Calumet's first drive was 16 offensive plays. Manistique's was three and a punt. First impressions looked a lot like final results in Friday's Division 6 pre-district playoff game at Agassiz Field.
The Copper Kings scored on every possession, the Emeralds on none, leading to a 45-0 thumping.
"We just kept it going and knew we could do it," Calumet quarterback James Sturos said.
Calumet’s Owen Kariniemi is tackled by Manistique’s Tyler Kangas after he returned a punt deep into Manistique territory in the first quarter of their Division 6 pre-district game at Agassiz Field Friday.
The senior had an excellent game on a windy night, completing 6-of-8 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns and running for a third.
Starting their initial drive on the 20, Calumet squeezed the ball for seven minutes, 41 seconds. Sturos concluded the march by tossing a 15-yard pass to a wide-open Owen Kariniemi in the end zone.
"It starts with the first drive with the offensive line. I thought they did a great job getting control of the line of scrimmage; 16-play drive into the wind, it's certainly a great statement," Calumet coach John Croze said.
Manistique 0 0 0 0 - 0
Calumet 14 16 8 7 - 45
CAL - Owen Kariniemi, 14-yard pass from James Sturos (Clark Kangas pass from Sturos), 4:19
CAL - Kangas, 3-yard run (pass failed), :09
CAL - Brendan Jacques, 22-yard run (Kangas run), 3:20
CAL - Paul Torola, 38-yard pass from Sturos (Kangas run), :00
CAL - Sturos, 3-yard run (Torola pass from Sturos), 5:18
CAL - Lucas Lahnala, 2-yard run (Torola kick), 6:49
First downs - Manistique 3, Calumet 18; Total offense - Manistique 74 (61 rush, 13 pass), Calumet 332 (221 rush, 111 pass); Rushing - MTQ, Kenner Brouillire 16-55; Zavier Gonzalez 1-6; CAL, Kangas 25-94, 1 TD; Tyler Roland 13-48; Jacques 6-48, TD; Leo Berg 1-10; Sturos 3-9, 1 TD; Braden Anderson 3-6; Lahnala 3-5, 1 TD; Noah Blake 1-1. Passing - MTQ, Tyler Kangas 1-10-3, Brouillire 1-3-10; CAL, Sturos 6-8-111, 2 TDs. Receiving - MTQ, Zack Lambert 1-10; Nathan Dalgord 1-3; CAL, Torola 2-47, 1 TD; Jacob Pieti 2-30; Lahnala 1-20; Kariniemi 1-14, 1 TD.
Even more importantly, Manistique's first drive consisted of Kenner Brouillire runs of three and two yards, an incomplete pass and a punt. The Copper Kings ran a fake reverse on the return and Kariniemi sprinted deep into Emerald territory. Sturos hit Jacob Pieti on third-and-long to get the ball into the shadow of the goalposts, followed by a 3-yard touchdown dive from Clark Kangas.
"We knew if we could not get a stop somewhere, we would have some difficulty with them," Manistique coach Todd Kangas said.
Things didn't get much better for the Emeralds, who had just 74 total yards (to Calumet's 332) and didn't advance the ball past their own 46-yard line.
"They forced their style of play on us and we didn't respond well enough to it," coach Kangas said.
Calumet's first drive of the second quarter was another lengthy campaign: 14 plays, 72 yards and a 22-yard touchdown run around the right end by Brendan Jacques, but the Kings killed this game off with a quick strike: a 38-yard bomb to Paul Torola, who beat his man and hit paydirt on the last play of the half. After Clark Kangas's second conversion run of the quarter, the hosts hit the locker room up 30-0.
Sturos and Lucas Lahnala tacked on short TD runs in the second half, the majority of which was played with running time.
The Copper Kings racked up 221 rush yards, but spread them out well. None had more than Kangas' 94 on 25 carries, and no one else had more than 48.
"It's nice in our offense because we can rotate a lot of guys in there and keep fresh guys at running back," Croze said.
Brouillire, an All-U.P. Dream Team pick at running back, was held to a modest 55 yards on 16 carries. The Emeralds finish the season 6-4.
"I think our eyes were kind of big this week as far as getting in here and what to expect," coach Kangas said.
The Copper Kings, who last won a playoff game the last time they were at home, in 2009 against Charlevoix, extend their eighth consecutive playoff run to a district final at Negaunee next Friday night. The Miners blanked Iron Mountain 20-0.