Peterson: Copper Bowl memories varied

The Copper Bowl was to be played for the 68th time this Friday night before it was canceled.

It’s a sporting event with many — and varied — memories for me.

Many of those memories were of great individual feats by players.

But some involved the weather, which as any longtime resident knows, can be unpredictable in the Copper Country this time of the year.

Here’s a few of those memories.

In the 1974 game, Hancock was rolling to an easy 53-0 win when tailback Steve Salani broke loose for a long run late in the game.

The play was interrupted when a Houghton player (Tom Doll) on the sidelines tackled Salani in frustration. When they could stop laughing, the referees threw a penalty flag. Salani had five touchdowns to his credit that day.

In the 1963 game, Houghton scored a 26-0 victory as quarterback Jon Fryxell threw for a school record 239 yards. Most of those passes went to end Don Stipech, whose nephew Micah, now coaches the Gremlins.

The late Fryxell, one of the most charismatic athletes ever at HHS, was also a standout basketball player. His passing record that day would stand for many years.

In a blinding snowstorm in 1988 at Houghton, you could barely see the players on the sidelines.

Hancock scored a 7-0 win as Chris Raasio scored on a long run in the second quarter. It was one of the coldest days I can ever recall covering a game.

The 1981 Copper Bowl at Condon Field was played in four inches of standing snow.

But the elements didn’t bother Bill Hauswirth of the Gremlins, who scored all of his team’s points in a 14-6 win that snapped a 15-game losing streak by Houghton in the series.

Hauswirth, who set many receiving records later at Michigan Tech, also had three interceptions in that game.

In the 1985 game, Houghton tailback Brady Schaefer was going for the Upper Peninsula career rushing record held by Don Michaelson of L’Anse.

Schaefer broke the mark late in the game, which had been delayed for an hour because of lightning. The game was stopped to present the football to Schaefer — another first in the series.

Hancock qualified for the playoffs in the 1995 game with a 39-14 win behind the running of Eric Salani.

It was the first-ever playoff berth for the Bulldogs, who missed the post season despite going unbeaten two years running a decade earlier.

I’m positive there were other Copper Bowls that evoked memories for people, but those are ones that stand out for me.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today