CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. – Luck (13-0) featured a dominant rushing attack to claim the 2019 State eight-player football championship with a 42-27 win over Newman Catholic at Dorais Field Saturday.
Levi Jensen took the game’s first snap from scrimmage and ran 65 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead after the failed point after attempt. That was the foreshadowing of things to come for Jensen and the Luck rushing attack.
Jensen turned a 4th-and-1 situation into a 72-yard scoring run at the 9:08 mark of the first quarter to give the Cardinals a 14-0 lead.
After stopping the Fighting Cardinals on downs on the Luck 2-yard line, Jensen sprinted 98 yards to the end zone to give Luck a 22-0 advantage with 5:03 to play in the quarter.
Newman Catholic got on the board with a 29-yard pass from Ben Bates to Joe Stephan with 1:54 remaining in the quarter to trim the Fighting Cardinals’ deficit to 22-7. They scored again following a Luck turnover early in the second quarter to draw within eight points at 22-14 on a 15-yard scamper by Joe Stephan at the 11:54 mark of the second quarter.
Luck and Jensen struck again on the ensuing drive on a 62-yard run by Jensen that set up a 1-yard plunge to increase the Cardinals' lead to 28-14 with 10:53 to play in the first half, which would be the last scoring play of the half. Jensen put up gaudy rushing totals in the half with 338 yards and four touchdowns.
After forcing a Newman Catholic punt on the opening drive of the second half, Bennett Jensen streaked up the middle and rushed 43 yards for a touchdown to expand Luck’s lead to 34-14. The Fighting Cardinals answered on the next drive with a 35-yard scoring strike from Bates to Dylan Ackermann to narrow the gap to 34-21 with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter.
The Fight Cardinals battled back to get to within one score at 34-27 after Bates ran in from a yard out with 8:51 to go in the game. However, Levi Jensen ran for his fifth touchdown of the game on a 38-yard burst to increase the cushion to 42-27 to cap the scoring at 6:26 remaining.
Levi Jensen rushed for a record 432 yards on 25 carries for the Cardinals, and Bennett Jensen chipped in with 51 yards on 12 carries for an offense that rushed for 500 yards in the game and was 0-for-3 passing. The defense was led by Levi Jensen as well with a game-high 10.5 tackles. Riley Runnels was also disruptive on the defense with 5.5 tackles, including two sacks and two tackles for loss.
Ben Bates completed 29-of-51 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns for Newman Catholic. Thomas Bates led the Fighting Cardinals’ rushing attack with 91 yards on 13 carries. Charlie McCarty caught a record 18 passes for 180 receiving yards and two scores. Ackermann led the defense with nine tackles and a fumble recovery.
Luck wins its first title in the second year of the eight-player football. The Cardinals were runner-up last season. Newman Catholic (12-1) finishes runner-up in its first title game experience.