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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (8-Player Football State Semifinal): Wausau Newman Catholic 49, Belmont 16
MIDDLETON – Belmont’s inaugural season of eight-player football came to a close with a 49-16 loss to the Newman Catholic Cardinals in a WIAA State Semifinal playoff game held at Middleton’s Otto Breitenbach Stadium on Friday, Nov. 8.The Cardinals (12-0 overall) turned a pair of early miscues by the Braves (9-3) into quick touchdowns to build up a 14-0 lead just over two minutes into the game, and then– after Belmont pulled back with five points late in the first quarter– they pasted 28 unanswered points on the scoreboard over the final three quarters to secure their first berth in the eight-player State Championship Game.“We are certainly proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team this year. Our players adapted to the change and put in the work this off-season to take advantage of the new opportunity. It’s always hard to fall short of the title game, but we accomplished many things as a team that have not been done in our school in a long time,” commented Belmont head coach Brandon Wiese.Newman forced a Riley Christensen fumble at midfield on the Braves’ first play from scrimmage, and the Cards cashed in the turnover on their very next play with senior quarterback Ben Bates hooking up with senior wideout Joe Stephan on a 51-yard bomb for a 7-0 lead.Belmont’s second drive ended with a punt following a three-and-out, but the snap sailed over Christensen’s head and, after he finally recovered the ball, his kick was blocked by the Cardinals and recovered by Stephan at the Braves’ 6-yard line.Freshman Thomas Bates took it in from there on the Cards’ first play to extend the lead to 14-0 at the 9:54 mark of the first quarter.Junior Will Cutler gave Belmont a spark with a 58-yard kickoff return to the Cardinal 30.
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