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Tuesday August 9, 2022
OVERTIME THRILLER: Gladstone Beats Calumet

Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos, and to hear post-game comments from Cole Potier, Brett Boudreau, and Coach Jeff Hansen. Also hear player spotlight interview with senior Payton Gingras.

The Gladstone Braves outlasted the Calumet Copper Kings, 26-20, in overtime in the varsity football season opener Friday night at rainy Agassiz Field.

The Braves scored on a touchdown pass from Cam Kelly to Nate Young in OT, then the defense made a goal line stand to preserve the win.

The game was played under adverse conditions, with heavy rain whipped around by a 15-mile per hour wind for most of the night. It was an entertaining game for thise who braved the conditions to attend. And it went right to the wire.

Gladstone did a nice job of putting together long, time-consuming drives, almost exclusively on the ground. They were excellent on third down conersions, mostly because they broke off chunks of yardage on first down, making the third down plays short ones.

After the Copper Kings punted on their first possession, Gladstone went on a 12-play, 80-yard drive with every play on the ground. Quarterback Cam Kelly broke off a 24-yard run into the red zone, and Cole Potier scored on a 14-yard touchdown run. He also scored the two-point play.

Calumet came back with a 65-yard, eight play drive, as quarterback Paul Sturos executed the option offense well. Running back Dryden Nelson scored from five yeards out to put Calumet on the board, but the Braves defense stopped the two-point run.

And when Gladstone got the ball back, it took only two plays for Potier to take a handoff to the house for a 75-yard touchdown. The two-point run failed but Gladstone led, 14-6.

Gladstone had a chance to expand on the lead when Eli Berthaume popped running back Kip Kangas, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Potier.

But after getting one first down, the Gladstone offense sputtered. And after a short punt, the Copper Kings went to work on a 66-yard, ten-play drive that included Sturos converting a fourth-and-2 in Gladstone territory.

Nelson's one-yard run, and his two-point run, tied the game at 14 at the half.

It looked ike the Braves would grab the lead in the third quarter when Kelly sprinted up the middle for a 45-yard run to the Copper Kings one yard-line. But there was a mixup in the handoff between Kelly and Potier and the fumble was recovered by Kangas.

The Braves gave up four straight first down runs but a pair of incomplete passes near midfield forced the Copper Kings to punt, and they nailed the Braves back to the 11 yard-line.

Gladstone managed two first downs but also had to punt, and that punt was blocked hy Kangas, giving the Copper Kings the ball in the final minute of the third quarter.

Gladstone's defense, though, made a key stop of Nelson on a fourth-and-four run, and the Braves took over at their own 26 yard line with just under eleven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Just as they did in the first drive,

Gladstone put on another long drive, and all on the ground. They converted a fourth and one at the 42-yard-line along the way, with Kelly, Potier, and Nate Young sharing the running duties.

They ended up with 4th and goal at the nine yard line, and Kelly dumped one off to Young. He caught it and raced toward the pilon, but was kept short of the goal line. But there was a facemask penalty called. It was not a personal foul, but enough to tack on a few inches to the play, and giving the Braves another fourth down chance from inside the one yard-line.

Potier cashed in with the one-yard run with 1:26 to play. He also got the call on teh two-point run, but was ruled to be short of the goal line, so it stayed 20-14.

Calumet, with three time outs left, moved into the two-minute drill, into the wind.

They worked the clock perfenctly, dumping off short passes, plus a 14-yard scamper by Sturos. The Braves literally dropped two game-clinching interceptions, and so the drive continued with a 4th-and-8 play from the Gladstone 19 yard-line. Sturos found Nelson on the "wheel route" along the left sideline, and he dove into the end zone for a touchdown with 21 seconds left.

The Copper Kings lined up for the go-ahead PAT kick, but Hunter Potier blocked it.

That kept the game alive for the Braves, tied at 20-20, heading into overtime. Undeer the MHSAA format, both teams get four downs from the opponent's ten yard line in the overtime period. Gladstone got the first crack at it, and on second down, Kelly found Young open on a swing pass in "trips" formation. Young went in untouched to make it 26-20.

Calumet got its opportunity, and Nelson had a pair of four-yard runs to the Braves two yard-line.But the Braves defense stuffed the third down run, setting up a fourth-and-goal run from just inches outside of the goal line. Sturos never got to hand it off, or run it himself, as Mason Kinonen made the tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Game over.

Potier ended up with 144 yards on 20 carries, and three touchdowns. Kelly ran for 168 yards on 23 carries, and he completed three of eight passes (all to Young), including the overtime winner. Young added 18 yards rushing on five carries.

For Calumet, Nelson had 137 yards on 22 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Sturos ran for 42 yards on nine carries, and completed six of 11 passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.

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