HOLMES TOWNSHIP – The price of copper may have changed since 1997, but ask the Wynford Royals.
They have possession of the Picking Copper Kettle and have no desire to unload it.
Wynford won the kettle — emblematic of the Royals’ annual game with backyard rival Bucyrus — for the 18th consecutive year, by routing the Redmen, 56-7, in the 39th renewal of the Copper Kettle Classic.
“Our focus all week was to get off to a fast start,” Wynford coach Gabe Helbert said. “Our kids were excited to play Bucyrus. We also wanted the outright (Northern 10) championship.”
The Royals were very focused. After the defense held Bucyrus (2-8, 1-7 N10) to a 3-and-out to start the game, the offense wasted no time.
Quarterback Zach Hoffman connected with Tony Watson on a 67-yard pass on the left sideline on Wynford’s first play from scrimmage to give the Royals a 7-0 lead. Big plays and turnovers became the theme of the first half.
“They are absolutely the real deal,” Bucyrus coach Aaron Eckert said. “There is a reason they are 9-1 and league champions, undisputed league champions. They really didn’t have any close games.”
There was no doubt as to the outcome after the first quarter. Kyle DeJean got into the scoring column on a pass from Hoffman covering 29 yards.
Following a Bucyrus turnover, Wynford (9-1, 8-0) struck again. Hoffman hooked up with Josh Gregory for a 10-yard score and later hit Watson for his second touchdown, this one from 31 yards out.
“We hadn’t caused a lot of turnovers in the last couple of weeks,” Helbert said. “We needed to do that. I was happy the kids took it to heart.”
The second quarter was nearly a copy of the first, except the four scores in this frame were on the ground. Another fumble set up a 5-yard run by Hoffman.
Nick Looker — who went over 1,000 yards rushing this season — scored from 34 and 16 yards. Cole Fortner raced 67 yards for the other tally and a 56-0 halftime lead.
“Whenever you give good teams great field position, you are going to have trouble,” Eckert said. “Those quick scores take the wind out of your sails.”
Looker ended with 114 yards on nine carries, all in the first half to lead the Royals. Hoffman was 5-of-9 for 156 yards and four scores. Watson caught two balls for 98 yards. Wynford piled up 413 yard of total offense.
Bucyrus averted the shutout when Damon Parsell found Clinton Carr from nine yards away with just over two minutes left, to set the final score.
Parsell and Gavin Lewis combined to go 7 of 13 through the air for 41 yards and one interception. Bailey Johnston ran for 23 yards on 11 attempts.
“It was the last week of the regular season,” Helbert said. “But there is a lot of football to be played, at least we hope there is.”
The Royals will host a first-round playoff game on Saturday against an opponent to be determined.
The Redmen ended a year plagued by injuries.
“We would take steps forward and then steps back,” Eckert said. “We lacked consistency and that’s the name of the game if you are going to win. We challenged the kids at halftime to win the second half and we did.”