Football: Copper Kings take down Gremlins, 31-7

Houghton quarterback Cam Markham, center, throws a pass against Calumet on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Houghton, Mich. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

HOUGHTON — The Calumet Copper Kings controlled both sides of the ball on Saturday and wore out the Houghton Gremlins defense for a 31-7 victory on the road.

“Our offensive and defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage,” said Calumet head coach John Croze. “Offensively, our line was able to see what the Houghton defense was doing and got control of it.”

Possession was the name of the game in Saturday’s match up as the Copper Kings (5-2) ran 58 plays compared to 37 for the Gremlins (4-3).

That equated to 27:30 minutes of Calumet finished the day with 27:30 time of possession, while Houghton had 20:21.

As a result, the Copper Kings had 19 first downs — the Gremlins had just six.

“We needed to keep our defense off the field more and sustain some more drives on offense, and we couldn’t,” Gremlins’ head coach Micah Stipech said.

The first quarter was a back and forth battle between the twenties with neither team scoring. In the opening minutes of the second, Calumet’s Dryden Nelson put the Copper Kings on the board with a 10-yard run jaunt into the end zone. It would be Nelson’s first of three touchdowns on the afternoon.

As well Nelson would run an impressive, team best 180 yards on 21 attempts before the game was over.

His second touchdown came with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter. This time it was a 16-yard dash and with a Tom Erkkila extra point, the Copper Kings were up 14 -0 at half.

“At half time I told guys we needed more energy, and if we did get some points on the board it was a game,” Stipech said.

The Gremlins heeded his call and did get on the boards with a big touchdown pass at the 7:44 mark. Quarterback Cam Markham capped of a two-play drive with a 90-yard pass play to Kade Farrell. Ray Shaw’s extra point is good and it is 14-7 game.

“We needed to keep that momentum going and we couldn’t,” added Stipech. “We had some plays that we didn’t make and our guys seem to get down on themselves.”

Stipech said his team’s three interceptions which resulted in a Copper Kings touchdown didn’t help with momentum.

“We knew that a good team like Calumet was not going to beat themselves, and they didn’t,” he said.

The Copper Kings would close out the third with a 26-yard pass play from Paul Sturos to Carter Kilpela and a touchdown.

In the fourth, Nelson would nab his third TD on the afternoon with a nine-yard run and Erkkila would cap off a perfect day of kicking with a 37-yard field goal that went straight through the uprights.

The Gremlins visit Negaunee on Friday. The Copper Kings host Hancock for their homecoming game.

CHS 0 14 7 10 — 31

HHS 0 0 7 0 — 7

Second Quarter

CHS — Nelson 10 run (Erkkila kick), 10:20.

CHS — Nelson 16 run (Erkkila kick), 1:21.

Third Quarter

HHS — Farrell 90 pass from Markham (Shaw kick), 7:44.

CHS — Kilpela 26 pass from Sturos (Erkkila kick), 2:35.

Fourth Quarter

CHS — Nelson 9 run (Erkkila kick), 11:02.

CHS — FG Erkkila 37 kick, 5:17.


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