MARQUETTE — If you look at every high school football schedule for every U.P. team, Calumet may have the toughest three game stretch to start the season.
The Copper Kings open their campaign with Northland Pines, followed by non–conference stints against Negaunee and Ishpeming.
Calumet does have plenty of veteran experience coming back this year. Head coach John Croze has 17 returning starters from a team that won seven games last year before bowing out to Menominee in the postseason.
The Copper Kings have plenty of talent on both sides of the football.
“Our two defensive ends last year were all conference, we have Robbie Erkkila back as an all U.P. running back. We have lots of talent, I’m real excited,” said Croze. “We’ve stepped up before starting 0–3 and finishing 6–0. We’re trying to avoid putting ourselves in an early hole. We’re really happy with the team we have and I know we’re going to be very competitive.”
“I think we’ll be pretty good this year. We have a lot of returning starters, so most of us know what’s going on. We should be decent,” said senior quarterback Sam Kariniemi. “It all starts with Northland Pines, Negaunee, and Ishpeming. They’re all big tests. If we get by them, we should be pretty good if we do well against them.”
To get ready for Northland Pines next week, Calumet scrimmaged in Marquette Friday against the host Redmen and Westwood.