Bishop Ryan first to claim Penny Trophy

Bishop Ryan running back Braden Kalamaha kicked off his senior campaign the way he hopes to end it: hoisting a trophy.

The Lions trounced Velva 20-0 to collect the Penny Trophy on Friday evening in the inaugural playing of the Copper Bowl – the annual season opener between Ryan and Velva

The game ended early in the second quarter due to recurring flashes of lightning.

“We put in a lot of work in the summer and we have a lot of drive,” said Kalamaha while teammates roared in celebration, taking turns holding the Penny Trophy in the Ryan locker room. “We’re hoping to get a state championship.”

Ryan (1-0) opened its season with a three-and-out series before junior safety Tanner Sanders picked off Velva quarterback Drew Effertz and returned the ball six yards to the Aggies’ 45-yard line.

Three plays later, Kalamaha shed a tackler and ran in for a 22-yard score to put the Lions ahead 6-0.

Velva (0-1) botched a snap on the first play of its next possession and Kalamaha recovered the ball at the Aggies’ 34.

Kalamaha capped a 10-play drive spanning 4 minutes, 35 seconds with a touchdown run from one yard out.

“He’s a hard runner,” Ryan coach Brad Borkhuis said of Kalamaha, who rushed six times for 35 yards. “We like the way he saw the field. He found some cutback room as well and he’ll just get in more and more rhythm and we’ll be good.”

Ryan senior quarterback Austin Eggl connected on five straight passes on the next drive – two to Nick Berentson, two to Brody Bosch and a 14-yard touchdown strike to Jake Magnuson. Kalamaha ran in the two-point conversion to give the Lions a 20-0 lead with 37 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Eggl, a second-year starter, converted 8 of 10 passes for 90 yards. Borkhuis said he looks for the Lions’ uptempo offense to be “extremely efficient” and for Eggl to have an “85-plus-percent completion percentage.”

“He managed the game well,” Borkhuis said. “He took what they gave us. When they wanted to clog up the middle, he picked apart the outside, so he did a pretty good job of that.”

Flashes of lightning appeared in the distance around 8:14 p.m. causing officials to pause the game. Lightning strikes reappeared every few minutes and the game ended with 9 minutes, 9 seconds left in the second quarter.

Ryan and Velva’s coaching staffs met around 9:15 and the Aggies conceded the win.

“I would have no problem making it up,” Borkhuis said, “but I’m sure after the score in the first quarter, that’s not going to be something desirable on both ends.”

Ryan racked up 146 yards of total offense and seven first downs. Velva was limited on offense to 20 yards and one first down.

The Penny Trophy – which is solid oak and has an 18-inch diameter, resembling an oversized coin – will remain on display at Bishop Ryan High School until Copper Bowl II next fall.

“We always have that tough rivalry and just coming out with a win is a great way to start the season,” Kalamaha said. “It’s a good way to show that we’re the real deal and show what we can do.”

Ryan Holmgren covers high schools sports and general assignment. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgrenMDN.