MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (July 13–20)
WFCA 8-PLAYER ALL-STAR GAME: South 35, North 16
By Jason Nihles
OSHKOSH — Belmont coaches Brandon Wiese and Matt McKinley had one final chance to coach recent Belmont gratuates Riley Christensen, Mitch Douglas and Michael Douglas.
The Belmont trio, which led the Braves to an unofficial 8-Player state title last fall, officially closed out their prep careers Friday night by helping the South All-Stars win the 2021 Wiscosnin Football Coaches Assocation 8-Player All-Star Game with Wiese serving as the team’s head coach and McKinley as an assistant.
After a year off due to the pandemic, the WFCA All-Star Games were held Friday and Saturday at Titan Stadium on the campus of UW–Oshkosh.
The South erupted for 21 third-quarter points to rally from an 8–7 halftime deficit to run away with a 35–16 victory.
Christensen opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run to put the South All-Stars up 7–0 with 4:50 left in the opening quarter.
But the North answered early in the second quarter when Clayton running back Gunnar Lewis scored from a yard out and McDonnell Central offensive lineman hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Lewis to take an 8–7 with 10:23 left in the quarter, a lead the North took into halftime.
The South trailed deep into the third quarter until Wausau Newman Catholic quarterback Dylan Ackerman scored on a two-yard touchdown run, then tossed a two-point conversion pass to Wonewoc–Weston’s Kaden Sprotte to give the South at 15–8 lead.
It was the first of three touchdowns in less than five minutes for the South.
Christensen recovered a North fumble at the 15 yards line on the ensuing possession, and two plays later scored on an 8-yard run to make it 22–7.
The South defense forced a three-and-out a short time later and capped the 5-play, 49-yard drive with a 1-yard run by Greenwood’s Sullivan Whitford to extend the lead to 28–7 with 2:11 left in the third quarter.
The North made it a two-score game less than two minutes into the fourth on another Lewis 1-yard TD run, but Ackerman found Williams Bay’s Jake Oertl for a 10-yard TD pass a few minutes later to provide the final margin of victory.
The South finished with 197 yards rushing on 46 carries with Christensen (14 for 68 yards), Ackermann (16-66) and Whitford (14-72) all going for at least 60 yards. Ackerman added 98 yards and a score on 6 of 12 passing as well.
Alma Center Lincoln’s Jack Anderson completed 10 of 15 passes for 120 yards and rushed for 38 yards on nine carries.
Lewis finished with a team-high 57 yards and two TDs rushing, while Florence’s Corbin West caught six passes for 63 yards.
Michael Douglas finished with five tackles, while Christensen added three tackles and a fumble recovery on defense. Mitch Douglas played on the offensive line.
The South team forced five turnovers by the North squad, recovering four fumbles and intercepting the North as well.
The WFCA All-Star Games serve as a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This year’s coaches and players raised more than $300,000.
2021 WFCA 8-Player All-Star Game
South 35, North 16
(from Friday, July 16 @ Titan Stadium, UW–Oshkosh)
North.....0 8 0 8 — 16
South.....7 0 21 7 — 35
S: Riley Christensen 11 run (Charlie McCarty kick), 4:50
N: Gunnar Lewis 1 run (Noah Christopherson pass from Lewis), 10:23
S: Sylan Ackerman 2 run (Kaden Sprotte pass from Ackerman), 6:31
S: Riley Christensen 8 run (McCarty kick), 5:24
S: Sullivan Whitford 1 run (McCarty run failed), 2:11
N: Lewis 1 run (Lewis run) 10:35
S: Jake Oertl 10 pass from Dylan Ackerman (McCarty kick), 7:08
First downs — N 13, S 15. Rushing — N 43-139, S 46-197 . Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — N 11-23-1, 129; S 6-13-1, 98. Fumbles–lost — N 4-4, S 1-1. Penalties-yards — N 4-27, S 1-10.
Rushing — N: Gunnar Lewis 17-47, Jack Anderson 9-38, Tanner Opsal 11-23, Brayden Bie 3-18, Corbin West 1-7; S: Sullivan Whitford 14-72, Riley Christensen (Belmont) 14-68, Dylan Ackerman 14-66.
Passing (comp-att-int, yards) — N: Jack Anderson 10-15-0, 120, Tanner Opsal 1-8-1, 9; S: Dylan Ackerman 6-12-0, 98, Riley Christensen 0-1-1, 0.
Receiving — N: Corbin West 6-63, Clayton Janesch 2-46, Gunnar Lewis 2-20, Corey Boesen 1-0; S: Jake Oerly 2-19, De-Shawn Barsness 1-38, Brennan Shaughnessy 1-0, Sullivan Whitford 1-17, Charlie McCarty 1-4.
Tackles — N: James Krenzke 9, Schuyler Gilhausen 7, Kade Kroeplin 7; S: Cody Libelt 9, Spencer Evenson 8, Ethan Russell 6, Michael Douglas (Belmont) 5, Luke Steebs 5, Riley Christensen (Belmont) 3.