He can’t be stopped

Schram, Wykons run past Hurons in playoff game

News Photos by James Andersen West Iron County fullback Bryant Schram celebrates with teammate Noah Lewis after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of a Division 8 pre-district game against Rogers City on Friday at Rogers City’s Gilpin Field.

ROGERS CITY–All week long the Rogers City football team got a good look at Bryant Schram on film and knew he would be a tough player to stop.

Schram came as advertised on Friday and try as they might, the Hurons couldn’t stop him.

Schram ran for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help lead West Iron County past the Hurons 28-8 in a Division 8 pre-district game at Rogers City’s Gilpin Field.

The win moves the Wykons (8-2) to a district final matchup with Ishpeming next week.

From the opening whistle the Hurons (8-2) had no answer for Schram. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound fullback was like a bulldozer coming out of the Wykons’ backfield and nine of his 17 carries went for at least five yards.

His six-yard plow up the middle with 11:34 left in the first half and a field goal from Zach Quintero gave the Wykons an early 7-0 lead.

“Any time you get that much weight going that fast, it spells trouble,” Rogers City coach Jesse Fenstermaker said. “He just puts his head down and goes (and) eight, nine yards later is when he’s down. If you’re tackling him, you’re getting up a little slower every time.”

Brimming with playoff experience after last year’s run to the Division 8 semifinals, the Wykons scored early in the second quarter and didn’t look back. West Iron County scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter and added a punt return touchdown and a fumble recovery/return for a touchdown to build a commanding 28-0 lead at halftime.

For the game, the Wykons outgained Rogers City in offensive yardage 281 to 96.

Making their first playoff appearance in nine years, the Hurons stumbled out of the gate and could never recover. Rogers City’s attempts to establish its normally steady running game were repeatedly snuffed by the Wykons, forcing the Hurons to rely more on their passing game.

Rogers City punted on its first four drives and gave up the punt return touchdown and the fumble recovery touchdown in a span of just three plays in the second quarter.

“They scouted very well. We scouted, I thought, really well too,” Fenstermaker said. “We just at times didn’t have anything for them. We came up short on a lot of plays.”

Quintero fielded a punt around Rogers City’s 45 and took it to the house with 5:08 left in the second quarter and kicked the second of his four extra points on the night to give the Wykons a 14-0 lead.

After the Hurons got the ball back, they ran one play for no gain before Trey Bociek scooped up a fumble on a handoff and returned it 35 yards for a score. In a span of just 1:05, West Iron County scored 14 points and held a 21-0 lead with 4:03 left in the half.

These guys held their heads strong and fought tooth-and-nail to the end,” Fenstermaker said. “They battled. We weren’t outmatched tonight, we just shot ourselves in the foot a lot.”

Schram scored his second touchdown of the night, finding his way in a three-yard run with 12 seconds left in the half, helping to cement West Iron County’s halftime lead.

Things didn’t improve much for the Hurons in the second half, but they finally got on the board with 5:45 left in the game when Caleb Bade hooked up with Kaleb Budnick for a 22-yard score. Bade threw a successful conversion pass to Ethan Hincka to make it 28-8.

Bade was 7-of-17 passing for the game for 73 yards and a touchdown. Budnick led Rogers City’s receivers with three catches for 44 yards. Michael Karsten had two catches for 18 yards and Hincka had two catches for 11 yards.

Budnick led all Rogers City ball carries with 27 yards on four carries.

Noah Lewis added 56 rushing yards on seven carries for the Wykons, who took out many starters in the third quarter and ultimately had 10 different players run the ball in the victory.

Fenstermaker credited his 10 seniors with helping restore some pride in Rogers City football this season. The Hurons earned a playoff spot, hosted a playoff game and finished with eight wins for the first time since 1998.

With their help, Fenstermaker is hopeful this is just the beginning of a new era of success for the program.

“They were by far the greatest leaders I have ever seen on a football team and they laid the foundation for years to come,” Fenstermaker said. “We went from not a lot of people having high expectations for us, other than ourselves, to 8-1 and in the playoffs. That’s something nobody will ever be able to take away from us. We came out and we played every game as hard as possible.”