POTOSI - Going into last Friday night’s level II playoff game against Highland, Potosi football coach Mark Siegert was expecting a bigger challenge from the Cardinals this time around, than what he had gotten 14 days earlier in a 47-2 blowout.
Siegert got what he expected from the Cardinals, but his Chieftains were up to the challenge once more, as they collected a 19-0 victory, and advanced to the third round of this year’s WIAA Division 7 playoffs.
This year’s Chieftains could very well be on the verge of becoming the program’s most successful, if they can get by the Cochrane-Fountain City Pirates, whom they host this Saturday at 4 p.m. in a level III contest.
In Siegert’s 14 years as head coach at Potosi, his Chieftains have made the playoffs nine times now, and have accumulated a playoff record of 11-8. Four other teams under Siegert’s instruction have advanced to the third level of the WIAA playoffs, but none have gotten any further.
Last Friday night, it may appear that the Potosi offense had a more difficult time scoring against the Cardinals, but as coach Siegert was quick to note, Friday’s game had significant differences than when the two teams met on Oct. 12.
“For one thing, they didn’t turn the ball over as much, so they didn’t give up short fields and we didn’t score a defensive touchdown,” Siegert said.
“Plus, I thought that was more of a game we would have seen on week eight. That’s the kind of game I expected from an intensity and from a physicality stand point. It wasn’t any big surprise or anything like that,” Siegert added.
The Chieftains broke a scoreless tie on their second possession of the game, when senior Alex Wright scored on a two-yard TD run. Tim Fritz added the extra-point kick for a 7-0 lead that stood through the remainder of the first quarter.
Then, in the second quarter, Wright found the end zone again, this time on a one-yard TD plunge. The extra-point kick failed, leaving the Chieftains with a 13-0 halftime lead.
Potosi added to their lead on their opening drive of the second half, when Fritz connected with Mitchell Langkamp on a 14-yard slant pass. Looking to add two more points to the scoreboard, Potosi’s pass attempt failed, leaving them with a 19-0 lead.
That proved to be enough for the Chieftains, who relied on another stingy defensive performance that kept the Cardinals out of the end zone for the entire 48 minutes.
In 10 games this season, Potosi’s starting defense has given up just three touchdowns, the last coming in week three against Pecatonica/Argyle.
The Cardinals helped out Potosi a number of times Friday night, as the offensive unit had six false-start penalties and gave up 65 total yards on penalties.
Leading the Potosi defense with 12 total tackles and one interception was junior linebacker Keegan Brown, while senior defensive back Logan Udelhofen had 11. Jase Udelhofen, Spencer Hawes and Alex Wright each had 10 tackles.
Tyler Udelhoven kept the pressure on Highland quarterback Blake Bodenstein and accounted for two sacks to go along with one fumble recovery, while Hunter Leibfried and Mitchell Langkamp each had one sack.
Offensively, Potosi managed 271 yards rushing on 50 attempts and was led by Jase Udelhofen’s 162 yards on 26 carries. Alex Wright finished with 94 yards on 18 carries, while quarterback Tim Fritz scrambled for 15 yards on six attempts.
Fritz also completed 6-of-17 passing attempts for 53 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
His top target was Leibfried, who hauled in two receptions, one for 17 yards, the other for six.
Potosi’s next opponent is Cochrane-Fountain City, who brings with them a record of 8-2, losing non-conference games to Lewiston-Altura, MN., and Whitehall, who is a Division 5 team.
According to coach Siegert the Pirates run what he called a hybrid wishbone type offense, where they also spread the defense out and throw the ball all over the place.
Going into last week’s playoff game, quarterback Cale Lisowski (#11) had completed 117-of-200 passing attempts for 1,335 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Their top rusher is Jordan Eikamp (#31), who in eight games has rushed for 643 yards and eight TDs on 102 carries. Lisowski (#11) has 112 carries in nine games for 491 yards and nine TDs from the quarterback position.
The Pirates have four different receivers with at least 22 receptions on the year, all of which have scored at least one touchdown.
“They’re pretty diverse as far as what they can do, but the good thing is, these kids have seen 99 percent of the way you can move the ball from point A to point B,” Siegert said of his defense.
“Our kids have been preparing for this since forever. This is a culmination of not just weeks in the summer, or one season, this has been years in the making. This is something that they’ve wanted for a long time,” Siegert added.
“This is a group that was very, very successful even in their J.V. football years, and they want to make sure that they keep it going.”
If the Chieftains can keep it going, a win on Saturday would be the first time a team under Siegert has advanced to the state semifinals.
“It’s just a matter of playing one game at a time and making sure that we don’t leave anything on the table,” Siegert reiterated. “Because when it’s over, its’ over.”
Potosi 19, Highland 0
(WIAA D7 level 2 playoff game from Friday, Oct. 26, at Potosi)
Highland 0 0 0 0 - 0
Potosi 7 6 6 0 - 19
P - Alex Wright, 2-yard run (Tim Fritz kick)
P - Wright, 1-yard run (kick failed)
P - Mitchelle Langkamp, 14-yard pass from Fritz (pass failed)
First downs - H 14, P 16. Rushing - H 34-97, P 46-260. Passing yards - H 134, P 53. Passes - H 12-28-1, P 6-17-2. Fumbles-lost - H 2-1, P 2-0. Penalties-yards - H 9-65, P 5-50.
Rushing - H: Yager 23-76; P: Jase Udelhofen 26-162, Alex Wright 18-94, Tim Fritz 6-15. Passing - H: Blake Bodenstein 12-28-1, 134; P: Tim Fritz 6-17-2, 53. Receiving - H: McCollough 5-50; P: Hunter Leibfried 2-23.