Defending champion Amherst (13-1) won its second straight Division 5 championship with an entertaining 38-35 victory over Cedar Grove-Belgium (12-2) Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Carter Zblewski kicked a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the game to break a 35-35 tie and provide the margin of victory, despite a record-setting performance by the Rockets’ Josh Weiss.
He threw for an all-division finals record 383 yards and five touchdowns in the losing effort. His 51 attempts and 36 completions also were tournament records. Reid Hilbelink also set an all-division record with 14 receptions for 164 yards and two scores. Ethan Bochtrup had 13 catches for 155 yards.
The Rockets opened the game with a 7-play, 64-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead, culminating with a 13-yard pass from Weiss to Hilbelink. The Falcons answered by marching 57 yards in seven plays to knot the score at 7-7. Chandler Benn ran in from one yard for the score. Cedar Grove-Belgium responded with another scoring drive of 71 yards, capped by another Weiss-to-Hilbelink connection from seven yards out. Again the Falcons tied the game at 14-14 with a 3-yard Benn run.
The Falcons scored twice in the final two minutes of the second quarter to build a 28-14 halftime lead. Devin Ostrowski scored on a 4-yard scamper, and Brandon Piotrowski hit Josh Cisewski with a 30-yard touchdown strike after a Marcus Glodowski interception of a Jason von Heimburg option pass set the Falcons up in Rocket territory.
The Rockets rallied in the third quarter with a pair of Weiss scoring tosses to tie the game at 28-28. Matt Dirkse hauled in an 8-yard pass, and von Heimburg added an 11-yard scoring reception. Cedar Grove-Belgium took the lead at 35-28 in the fourth quarter with another von Heimburg touchdown catch that covered 10 yards.
Piotrowski tied the game with 5:12 left in the game on a 2-yard plunge, and a Rockets’ turnover on the ensuing drive set up the Zblewski heroics.
Ostrowski led the Amherst ground game with 71 yards and a touchdown, and Benn ran for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Josh Shude made three catches for 43 yards. The Falcons’ defense held the Rockets to 39 yards on 16 attempts.
Amherst has appeared in the title game in four of the last five seasons with three titles, and Cedar Grove-Belgium finishes runner-up for the second time in their two appearances in the finals.