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Sophomore running back helps Darlington rally from 28–0 deficit in 35–34 Level I playoff victory over BSMS
Darlington sophomore running back Easton Evenstad avoids a tackle by Brandon Hoppman and raced to the end zone for a 78-yard touchdown run to help the Redbirds rally past Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg 35–34 last Friday night in a WIAA D6 Level 1 playoff game. - photo by Tom Gunnell

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.

Easton Evanstad, So., RB/DB, Darlington football

     Darlington sophomore running back Easton Evenstad had a touchdown run of 78 yards and a touchdown reception of 61 yards in the third quarter to help the Redbirds rally from a 28-7 halftime deficit to defeat Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg 35–34 in a WIAA Division 6 Level 1 playoff football game. Evenstad finished with 179 all-purpose yards after rushing five times for 89 yards and a score and adding four catches for 90 yards and another score.

     The Knights took advantage of a myriad of Darlington miscues to build up a 28–0 lead late in the first half. However, their inability to stop the Redbirds’ big plays and some turnover woes of their own in both halves proved costly as they were unable to land the knockout punch when they had the Birds on the ropes.

     Instead of playing it safe and regrouping during the halftime break, Darlington went to the air and struck pay dirt just moments later with junior Cayden Ranking hauling in a 66-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Braden Davis to get them on the board. The ‘Birds went into the intermission fired up despite trailing 28-7.

     The momentum continued to swing in the Redbirds favor at the start of the third quarter when sophomore Easton Evenstad busted loose on a 78-yard TD jaunt to cut the deficit to 28–14. The Birds got it to 28–21 on a 1-yard TD run by Davis with 3:33 remaining in the quarter; then, following a quick interception by junior Parker Fitzsimons, Davis teamed with Evenstad on a 61-yard scoring strike to even the score at 28 all.

     Evenstad and the 10th-ranked Redbirds (7–3) will travel to top-seeded Mondovi Saturday to meet the Buffaloes (10–0) in a Division 6 Level 2 playoff game. Mondovi blanked Whitehall 54–0 in its playoff opener.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)

Kaydan Addie, Jr., F, Platteville/Lancaster boys soccer

     Addie scored three second half goals to lift Platteville/Lancaster to a 4–2 victory over fifth-seeded Evansville in Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 regional final at Platteville High School. In the process Addie became the school’s all-time single season record holder with 38 goals and is currently second on the program’s all-time list with 71 career goals, behind only Jesse Brown, who scored 88 from 2001–04. Platteville/Lancaster improved to 16–1–1 on the season and will now face top-seeded and top-ranked McFarland (14–2–2) in a D3 sectional semifinal Thursday at 4 p.m. at McFarland High School.

Mason Aide, Fr., Iowa–Grant boys cross country

     Aide finished fifth in his first sectional race out of 130 runners with a personal-best time of 17:06.1 at Saturday's WIAA Division 3 Boscobel Sectional to help the Iowa–Grant boys finish second and earn a trip to the WIAA State Cross Country Championships, that will be held this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. The Iowa–Grant boys last qualified for state in 2001, when they finished third.

Bailey Butler, Jr., OH, Black Hawk Volleyball

     Butler led her team in kills (44 total) and digs in three regional matches as the #8-ranked Warriors (25–4–1) rolled to their first regional championship title since 2007 with sweeps over Albany, Argyle and Fall River. Butler tallied 16 kills and eight digs to fuel Black Hawk's 25–10, 25–15, 25–9, victory #10-ranked and #2-seeded Pirates (30–10 overall) in a WIAA Division 4 Regional Final match at FRHS on Saturday. Oct. 26.

Cole Crubel, Sr., QB, River Ridge football

     Crubel accounted for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the Timberwolves' (7–3) to a 47–0 WIAA Division 7 Level 1 playoff victory over De Soto last Friday night. Crubel ran for a 13 yard touchdown three minutes into the first quarter, then tossed a 99-yard TD pass to Brayan Barrita on the T'wolves' next possession. Later in the opening quarter, he scored on a 59-yard run on a fake punt, and toassed a 65-yard TD to Barrita early in the second quarter to make it 33–0.

Hayden Knapp, Jr., QB, Lancaster football

     Knapp had a breakout game, running for a team-high 156 yards and three touchdowns, and complete 8 of 12 pass attempts for 126 yards and two more scores to lead the Flying Arrows (9–1) to a 56–12 victory over Osseo–Fairchild in the first round of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs. Lancaster will meet top-seeded Mineral Point (10–0) in a Level 2 game at UW–Platteville Friday night, a rematch of the de facto SWAL championship game that the Pointers won at Lancaster 33–7 two weeks ago.

Niko Karavergos , So., Shullsburg cross country

     Karavergos became Shullsburg's first-ever cross country state qualifier after finishing after finishing eighth overall in a personal-best time of 17:30 in the boys’ race to claim the fifth and final individual state berth in the boys' race at the WIAA Division 3 Sectional Cross Country Meet in Boscobel.

Kaycie Martensen, So., Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton cross country

     Martensen captured her second straight girls’ individual sectional title posting a winning time of 18:28.5 in the 5,000-meter race at the 2019 WIAA Division 2 Sectional Meet hosted by River Valley High School at the Spring Green Municipal Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 26. Martensen conquered the 5,000-meter race in a time of 18:28.5 . She crossed the finish line over a minute ahead of runner-up, Brodhead/Juda junior Madelynn McIntyre. 

Ben Udelhofen, Sr., QB/LB, Potosi/Cassville football

     Udelhofen accounted for 276 yards, four touchdowns and three two-point conversions to lead the Chieftains (8–2) to a 42–6 victory over Highland in last Friday's WIAA Division 7 Level 1 playoff victory at Potosi High School. Udelhofen rushed for 112 yards an a pair of TDs, and completed 9 of 17 passes for 164 yards and two more scores. He also threw a pair of two-point conversion passes to Nick Edge, and ran for another.