MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 10–17)
8-PLAYER PREP FOOTBALL: Belmont 43, #7 Wisconsin Heights 16
BELMONT — The Braves had a lot to celebrate about during Belmont’s annual Community Fair football game on Friday night. Not only did the Braves finish victorious in the game for the first time in five years, they did so against a previously unbeaten, state-ranked and they did it in impressive fashion.
Quarterbacks Riley Christensen and Waylon Palzkill combined for all six of Belmont scores as the host Braves vanquished the visiting Wisconsin Heights Vanguards, 43-16, in an 8-player football game held at Belmont High School on Friday, Sept. 13.
Christensen had a monster game under a full moon on Friday the 13th, throwing for one touchdown, rushing for two more and catching a touchdown pass to lead the Braves (3-1 overall) over the #7-ranked Vanguards.
Palzkill added two TD runs and a TD pass for the Braves, who rolled up over 500 yards of total offense en route to their first Belmont Fair victory since 2014.
“It’s been a long time since we have gotten the chance to celebrate a Fair this way. I’m excited for the boys. They put in a lot of work in the off-season for a night like tonight,” said Belmont head coach Brandon Wiese.
Christensen got the Braves off to a fast start with a 63-yard touchdown strike to senior Kolton Westemeier just minutes into the game. He ran in the conversion for an 8-0 lead, and then scored on runs of 39 and two yards to extend Belmont’s lead to 21-0 with 1:18 to go in the first quarter.
Hunter Walz got the Vanguards (3-1) on the scoreboard with a 20-yard TD run in the closing seconds of the opening period, however the Braves answered back with a pair of second-quarter scores to grab a 36-8 halftime advantage.
Palzkill had a 1-yard scoring blast midway through the second stanza, and he hooked up with Christensen on a 24-yard TD pass with 2:05 remaining in the half to put the Braves ahead by 28 points.
Then, the sophomore signal-caller ripped off a 14-yard TD run with 3:55 to go in the third quarter to extend the Braves’ lead to 43-8.
A 48-yard TD run by Vanguard quarterback Ozur Kepler capped the scoring on the night.
Belmont rushed for 379 yards on 43 carries and added 144 passing yards on four completions to finish the game with 523 total yards. The Vanguards racked up almost 400 yards themselves with 237 rushing yards and 158 passing yards, but they turned the ball over three times to the Braves.
“We knew we had the guys to compete with anyone. We are starting to get in a groove. We have the athletes to make plays. Tonight we changed up some formations to get the ball in their hands, and they stepped up. I love what I saw,” explained Wiese. “Coach (Matt) McKinley does a phenomenal job with the defense each week, and tonight was no different.”
Christensen ran 19 times for 204 yards and two scores, went 3-of-7 passing for 120 yards and one score, and caught one pass for 24 yards and a TD to lead the Braves. He added two PAT kicks and two conversion runs, while leading the Belmont defense with 14 tackles (nine solo).
Palzkill ran 12 times for 118 yards and two scores and completed one pass for 24 yards and a score, while picking off a pass on defense. Westemeier hauled in two catches for 77 yards and a TD for the Braves.
On defense, Will Cutler tallied 10 tackles, Mitch Douglas added nine tackles and Tristen Gilbertson recorded eight stops with an interception. Brady Wedig had a sack and Josh Henkels recovered a fumble and had six tackles for Belmont.
Belmont will be back at home on Friday, Sept. 20, when they host North Crawford (0-4) in the Trojans’ first 8-player game this season, starting at 7 p.m.
Wisc Heights….8 0 0 8 – 16
Belmont….........21 15 7 0 – 43
B – Kolton Westemeier, 63 yard pass from Riley Christensen (Christensen run)
B – Christensen, 39 run (run failed)
B – Christensen, 2 run (Cody Lindholm kick)
WH – Walz, 20 run (Fields pass from Kepler)
B – Waylon Palzkill, 1 run (Christensen run)
B – Christensen, 24 pass from W. Palzkill (Christensen kick)
B – W. Palzkill, 14 run (Christensen kick)
WH – Kepler, 48 run (Walz pass from Kepler)
Team Stats: First Downs– WH 20, B 21. Rushing– WH 37-237; B 43-379. Passing– WH 15-26-2, 158; B 4-8-0, 144. Fumbles-Lost– WH 6-1; B 1-1. Penalties- WH 6-40; B 8-55.
Belmont Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Riley Christensen, 19-204-2; Waylon Palzkill, 12-118-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Christensen, 3-7-0-1, 120; W. Palzkill, 1-1-0-1, 24. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Kolton Westemeier, 2-77-1.