GAME OF THE WEEK (Nov. 14–20)
WIAA FOOTBALL DIVISION 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Black Hawk 22, Edgar 15
MADISON — Black Hawk is not used to playing the role of underdog, but the Warriors certainly thrived in that role in their state championship clash with Edgar on Thursday morning.
Despite entering their second straight state appearance with an unbeaten record, the #2-ranked Warriors were considered by many prep pundits around the state to be aunderdogs to the top-ranked and also unbeaten Wildcats.
However, Black Hawk did what it does best– unleashing its punishing rushing attack and physical defense upon Edgar to rally from behind in the second half to knock off the Wildcats, 22-15, to claim the WIAA Division 7 state championship title at UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 15.
“This is unbelievable,” said Black Hawk head coach Cory Milz after leading his Warriors to their second state title in school history. “For the first time all season, we came in as underdogs. I don’t think anyone outside our locker room fully expected us to beat the Edgar Wildcats except for our players. We were able to play loose, and I feel our guys played an exceptionally physical football game. We just wanted to make it a great game and, look at that, we’re state champions. That’s awesome.”
Using a 37-14 loss to Bangor in last year’s D7 state finale as motivation during the off-season, the Warriors (13-0 overall) entered the 2018 season with one goal in mind– winning a state title.
After going undefeated through the regular season to capture their second consecutive Six Rivers Conference title and then blowing through their playoff opponents– including a 24-6 Level 4 revenge victory over Bangor– to earn their second straight state finals appearance, Black Hawk completed their perfect season with a come-from-behind victory over the Wildcats (13-1).
“Our kids, after that game last November, made it a point (to get back to state). It was a goal of theirs. They started working right away. That’s why I’m so proud of them because they said they wanted to be state champions, they put the work in and did what was necessary to get here, and then they closed the deal on it,” Coach Milz expressed. “How could you be more proud of a group of guys who did everything they said they would do and backed it up?”
Black Hawk showed they were there to play from the opening play with senior Brandon Schiferl forcing and recovering a fumble by Edgar quarterback Karson Butt at midfield.
Three plays later, senior fullback Mitchell Quinn burst through a huge hole at the line of scrimmage and powered his way into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown run. Quinn tacked on the two-point conversion to put the Warriors ahead 8-0 less than two minutes into the game.
“That was great. Getting that first touchdown right off the bat helped set the tone. I thought for a second I might get caught, but I just kept on chopping my feet and I got in there,” recounted Quinn. “Last year didn’t end up the way we wanted it to. We came back today and got redemption. It’s a great feeling.”
Edgar wasted no time answering the Warriors’ score, driving 59 yards in just 59 seconds to deadlock the score at 8-8. Butt completed passes of 12 and 43 yards to move the Wildcats down to the Warrior 4-yard line, and then he took it in from the 4 for the score. Butt hooked up with Simon Brehm for the conversion to even things at eight all.
Following a quick Black Hawk punt, the Wildcats went right back to work on offense, reeling off another 59-yard scoring drive to take a 15-8 lead with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter. Butt connected with Brock Handrick on a 4-yard scoring strike to thrust the ‘Cats into the lead, and Austin Miller added the extra point kick.
It was the first time all season the Warriors had trailed at any point in the first quarter of a game.
The Warriors were looking for an answer themselves on their next drive until an interception by Edgar’s Drew Guden stopped them inside the red zone.
However, two plays later, senior Rece Shelton got the ball back for the Warriors when he forced and recovered a Butt fumble at the Edgar 14. Then, three plays after that, senior tailback Colby Argall ran it in from the 1 to trim the deficit to 15-14.
The two-point try failed, leaving the Warriors down by a point with 7:46 remaining in the half.
Penalties limited the Wildcats to minus-40 yards on their final two possessions of the first half, but the Warriors were unable to generate much offense of their own as they went into the intermission trailing for just the second time this season.
“I thought in the first half our backs ran a little tentatively. They were challenged at halftime and I thought they really responded in the second half,” admitted Milz. “They were running behind their shoulder pads and picking up key first downs and yardage.”
Just like Edgar did to start the game, the Warriors turned the ball over on their first play of the second with Handrick picking off a Kyle Lovelace aerial at the Warrior 41. Unlike the ‘Cats, Black Hawk’s D rose to the occasion, stopping Butt on a 4th-and-7 run at the BH 37 to force a turnover on downs.
The Warriors took control of the game from there, marching 63 yards on a methodical 18-play scoring drive that ate almost 10 minutes off the game clock.
Black Hawk ran the ball 17 out of the 18 plays with Argall carrying the ball 11 times for 32 yards and Quinn adding 18 yards on four totes. Lovelace capped the impressive trek by racing untouched into the end zone from a yard out to put the Warriors ahead to stay with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Argall hit Schiferl for the conversion to extend the lead to 22-15.
Black Hawk’s defense continued to throttle the Wildcats’ offense the rest of the way, holding Edgar to minus-five yards on their next possession, and then recovering another fumble with 2:21 remaining to keep the lead intact.
“We got off blocks and tackled really well. We took them out of their running game. What an effort by our guys,” said Milz.
The Warriors’ offense played keep away the entire fourth quarter, burning six minutes and 48 seconds off the clock on an 11-play, 55-yard drive that was nothing but running plays. And, following junior Cayden Milz’s fumble recovery at the Edgar 39, the Warriors picked up the one first down they needed to run out the remainder of the clock.
After scoring on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter, the Wildcats were held to minus-10 yards of total offense on their final six possessions.
Black Hawk possessed the ball for more than 19 of the 24 minutes in the second half and out-gained the Wildcats, 139-24, over that span.
“In the second half, the way we ran the football behind our offensive line was key. Our kids hung on and fought,” noted Coach Milz. “I thought our line played exceptionally well today. To be able to maintain possession of the ball and keep their offense off the field was our key to the victory. I believe they were not expecting us to come out and run the football like that.”
The Warriors ran the ball 58 times for 259 yards and finished with 288 total yards, while limiting the Wildcats to 96 rushing yards and 164 total yards on the day.
It was the 10th consecutive game the Warriors ran for more than 220 yards, and the 11th time in 13 games they held their opponent under 100 rushing yards.
Manning the line for the Warriors were center Hunter Bredeson, guards Avery Baumgartner and Jayden Stietz, tackles Gunner Foecking, Nick Hull and Nick Whotcomb and tight ends Shelton and C. Milz.
“When everybody knows what you want to do and you’re still able to do it, that comes from the big guys up front. I can’t say enough about their effort,” said Milz.
Argall went over the 2,000-yard rushing mark for the season during the game after gaining 109 yards on 34 carries with a score. The Warriors’ All-State back ends his prep career as the Warriors’ all-time leading rusher with 4,634 yards and scorer with 510 points. He also amassed over 6,000 all-purpose yards and scored 75 TDs during his career.
“All the credit goes to the guys up front. They worked their tails off today. They have been carrying the workload all year. and they don’t get a lot of credit. I’m so proud of them,” said Argall.
Lovelace added 75 yards on 15 carries with a TD and he completed 4-of-6 passes for 29 yards with two interceptions, while Quinn tallied 75 yards on nine carries with a TD.
“Our line blocked their butts off. We knew coming in we’d have to run the ball on them. We came out and got the job done. We’ve been on the other end of this and it really sucks. We finally got to experience winning a gold ball. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect story,” remarked Lovelace.
On defense, Shelton led the way with seven tackles and a fumble recovery. Quinn and Argall each registered four tackles.
“It feels amazing. Everybody doubted us and we pulled it out. In the second half, we knew we had to get the offense going and we had to keep getting defensive stops,” said Shelton.
Schiferl added a key fumble recovery on defense to start the game, and he also had a timely fumble recovery on offense as well prior to Argall’s TD run in the second quarter.
Butts went 6-of-9 through the air for 68 yards and a TD and he ran 12 times for six net yards and a score to lead Edgar. Kyle Brewster led the Wildcats with 33 rushing yards on three carries and Mason Stoudt added 30 yards on three totes. D. Guden had two catches for 55 yards for the ‘Cats.
Ty Guden led Edgar’s D with 13 tackles.
Playing in their final prep game at Black Hawk in Thursday’s state championship game were seniors Mitchell Quinn, Tyler Triem, Brandon Schiferl, Kyle Lovelace, Rece Shelton, Colby Argall, Jace Tuescher, Jayden Stietz and Hunter Bredeson.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s amazing how we were able to do this, but we’re going to miss these seniors. They have been a big part of our team the last three years. They’ve had a tremendous amount of success,” noted Coach Milz about his senior class who posted a 34-4 record during their varsity career. “I’m sad to see them go, but I’m proud of them.”
WIAA D7 State Championship Game
Edgar……… 15 0 0 0 – 15
Black Hawk….8 6 8 0 – 22
BH – Mitchell Quinn, 44 run (Quinn run)
E – Butt, 4 run (Brehm pass from Butt)
E – Handrick, 4 pass from Butt (Miller kick)
BH – Colby Argall, 1 run (run failed)
BH – Lovelace, 1 run (Brandon Schiferl pass from Argall)
Team Stats: First Downs – E 6, BH 15. Rushing – E 25-96; BH 58-259. Passing – E 6-9-0, 68; BH 4-6-2, 29. Fumbles-Lost – E 5-3; BH 4-0. Penalties – E 7-47; BH 2-10.
Black Hawk Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td) – Colby Argall, 34-109-1; Kyle Lovelace, 15-75-1; Mitchell Quinn, 9-75-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds) – Lovelace, 4-6-2-0, 29. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td) – Rece Shelton, 2-13-0; Cayden Milz, 1-9-0; Argall, 1-7-0.