Kimberly (14-0) won its fifth straight State championship and extended its nation-leading winning streak to 70 games with a 27-7 win over Sun Prairie in the Division 1 title game Friday evening at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Sun Prairie scored first following a fumble recovery on the Papermakers’ 19-yard line. On the second play after gaining possession, the Cardinals took a 7-0 lead when Jack Zander found Cooper Nelson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard scoring strike.
Kimberly tied the game just before the half on a 25-yard burst by John Nett. The Papermakers took the lead for good on the first drive of the second half. Alec Rosner sprinted 50 yards to the end zone to give the Papermakers a 14-7 advantage.
DJ Stewart added a 25-yard scoring run to cap a 9-play, 78-yard drive just before the end of the third quarter to give Kimberly control of the game. Stewart was responsible for the final score of the game on a 3-yard run with 1:23 remaining in the game.
Stewart gained a game-high 189 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Rosner ran for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Nett contributed 76 yards and a score to account for the Papermakers’ 355 rushing yards. Rosner completed 3-of-12 passes to three different receivers for 39 yards. Defensively, Drew VanderMissen, Boyd Dietzen and Tristan Argall led the team in tackles with six, and VanderMissen and Drew Lechnir each had an interception.
Jack Zander completed 8-of-27 passes for 78 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Cooper Nelson was his main target with five receptions for 61 yards and a score. Draven Peeples powered the Cardinals’ ground game with 127 yards. Marty Strey led all tacklers on defense with 13 stops. Ethan Ackley also had double figures in tackles with 10.
In continuing their win streak, the Papermakers have tied for the most State titles with seven. Of their five straight championships, four have been in Division 1 and one has been in Division 2. The last time Kimberly experienced a loss was Level 3 of the 2012 playoffs.
Sun Prairie (13-1) finishes runner-up in its third State appearance.
Waunakee (14-0) won its sixth State championship with a fourth quarter, come-from-behind 14-13 win over previously undefeated Brookfield Central in the Division 2 championship game Friday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
The Warriors’ Javian Dayne scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half to provide the points to overcome a 13-0 halftime deficit.
The Lancers scored midway throught the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead. Drew Leszczynski scored on a 9-yard run. The extra-point kick attempt failed, which would ultimately be the difference in the game. Brookfield Central scored again at the 5:23 mark of the second quarter on a 20-yard pass from Leszczynski to Zach Heckman for a 13-0 advantage. The Lancers missed opportunities to maintain the lead, but field goals from 25 and 33 yards missed the mark.
Dayne’s first score came from three yards out came with 11 minutes remaining in the game after a Lancers’ fumble. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on the Warriors’ next possession with a 1-yard plunge.
Dayne led the Waunakee offense with 107 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Nate Carter completed 8-of-21 passes for 115 yards. Sawyer Maly was the leading receiver with three receptions for a game-high 64 yards. On defense, Connor Smith recorded a team-high 12 tackles, and Ryan Reed had seven stops, including five behind the line of scrimmage.
Brookfield Central (13-1) was led offensively by Leszczynski and Zack Heckman. Heckman rushed for a game-high 174 yards. Leszczynski added 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground and completed 9-of-23 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown through the air. Julian Banda was the top receiving target with five catches for 62 yards. Nick Leszczynski had a team-high nine tackles for the Lancers.
The Warriors’ six State titles in their nine appearances in the final ranks second among all schools. The Lancers finish runner-up in their fourth State appearance.
Rice Lake (11-2) captured its second State title with a convincing 25-3 victory over previously unbeaten New Berlin Eisenhower in the Division 3 championship game Friday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
The most telling factor in the game was ball possession. The Warriors held a resounding advantage, possessing the ball for 36:18 compared to just 11:42 for the Lions. In addition, Rice Lake snapped the ball for 75 offensive plays in the game, which is one shy of the Division 3 State final record. New Berlin Eisenhower had only 29 plays from scrimmage.
The Warriors never trailed in the game. Billy Brown scored midway through the first quarter on a 6-yard to give Rice Lake a 6-0 lead. The Warriors increased their lead to 12-0 on a Brandon Sutton 2-yard run with 18 seconds remaining in the first half. Not willing to go into the lockerroom with a 12-point deficit, the Lions drove the ball 44 yards in 10 seconds to get Bryce Miller into position and convert a 33-yard field and narrow their deficit to 12-3 at the half.
Peyton Buckley added insurance late in the third quarter with an 18-yard pass to Averie Habas to extend the Warriors lead to 19-3, and Brown capped the scoring with a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Rice Lake featured a balanced rushing attack to compile 325 yards on the ground. Sutton led all rushers with 107 yards and a score. Buckley added 96 yards, and Brown chipped in with 79 yards and two touchdowns. Buckley had an efficient day throwing the ball, completing 6-of-7 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Habas was his favorite target with four catches for 53 yards and a score. Habas also led a stellar defensive effort for the Warriors with six tackles, including a sack, and Sutton had three tackles and an interception.
Bryce Miller completed 6-of-12 passes for 68 yards to lead the Lions’ offense. Stephen Halusan caught three passes for 28 yards, and Jake Belongia made a pair of receptions for 30 yards. Belongia led the team in rushing with 46 yards. Defensively, Mark Shields had a busy day, making a Division 3 State final record 23 tackles, and Joey Lang contributed with 11 stops.
The Warriors’ second title comes in their sixth appearance in the State finals. The first came back in 1979. New Berlin Eisenhower (13-1) finishes runner-up in its fifth appearance in the finals.