POTOSI — When searching for a complete football team in this year’s WIAA Division 7 playoff bracket, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more complete team than Mark Siegert’s Potosi Chieftains.
A high-powered energetic offense combined with a stingy disciplined defense has taken the 2012 Chieftains where no team in school history has gone before.
With Saturday’s 48–28 Level 3 playoff victory over Cochrane–Fountain City, Potosi advanced to play in the state semifinals, the first team in school history to do so.
The Chieftains (11–0) earned the right to play fellow unbeaten Randolph (11–0) in the Division 7 state semifinal game at Middleton Friday at 7 p.m.
“It’s very, very gratifying to get to this level and to finally get over that hump, especially after the way last season ended,” said Siegert. “But there are some goals that we still have on the table that these kids have put out there a long time ago, and they want to get to it. They don’t want to leave it short and they want to go out on their own terms.
“It’s a big step. I’m really proud of the kids in the fact that they’re able to get to this level, ’cause it’s not easy. We’ve had some really good teams that came up short of this goal.”
The Chieftains could not be denied last Saturday, establishing their dominance over the Pirates with a 42–0 lead midway through the third quarter.
With Potosi’s starters on the sideline and the junior varsity squad on the field, Cochrane–Fountain City scored one touchdown in the third quarter and three more in the fourth, much to the disliking of Siegert and the Potosi fans.
“I thought the game was in hand,” said Siegert. “It was just for self-preservation, just to keep the kids healthy. I’d feel terrible if someone got hurt and it was 42–0.”
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Pirates got to within 42–20, forcing Siegert to put his starters back in the game.
A 65-yard touchdown pass from Tim Fritz to Hunter Leibfried sent a message to the Pirates and made the score 48–20.
In 11 games this season, Potosi’s starting defense has given up just three touchdowns, none since its meeting with Pecatonica/Argyle on Sept. 7.
“Our offense is fun to watch, kind of flashy and all that stuff, but the kids really take a lot of pride in playing solid defense,” said Siegert. “Everybody does their job so well, they have confidence in one another, and they don’t have to make up for other people’s mistakes.”
Cochrane–Fountain City, which averaged 33 points per game in its first two playoff games, was held scoreless by Potosi’s starting defense, then accumulated most of its yards late in the game against Potosi’s JV squad.
The Pirates managed 77 yards rushing on 18 attempts, and completed 19 of 35 passing attempts for 279 yards, two scores and one interception.
Senior linebacker Spencer Hawes led the Potosi defense with six tackles, while Mitchell Langkamp, Alex Wright, Travis Collins and Keegan Brown each had five. Langkamp also was credited for 2½ sacks, whiled Riley Hawes sealed the game with a fourth-quarter interception.
The Chieftains managed 313 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 54 attempts, getting two touchdowns each from Wright and Jase Udelhofen. Udelhofen finished with 193 yards and two TDs on 18 carries in less than three quarters of action, while Wright added 63 yards and two TDs on 14 carries.
While Wright (6’0”, 195 pounds) is the bruising fullback used to pound defenses up the middle, Udelhofen (5’8”, 150) is a huge threat on the outside who runs harder than anyone you’ll find twice his size.
“He really is a difference maker for us,” said Siegert of Udelhofen. “We’re very fast and athletic, but then you put him out there and he takes that to a different level as far as being explosive.”
One thing Potosi’s opponents have found out this year is that Udelhofen isn’t the only player to keep an eye on.
“It’s really balanced and it’s really complete,” said Siegert of this year’s team. “We just have real quality kids at every position, and we have kids that are really, really good back-ups. “Our depth is good at some positions, and our starters are as solid as you’re going to get at this level. This is a really complete team.”
As if the Potosi running game wasn’t enough to contend with, the Chieftains threw for 227 yards and three more touchdowns in Saturday’s game.
Fritz was nothing short of amazing, completing 9 of 12 passing attempts, including scores of 19, 51 and 65 yards. Langkamp hauled in four receptions, two for touchdowns, and finished with 99 yards receiving, while Chase Kruser had three receptions for 48 yards, and Leibfried one catch for a 65-yard score.
Judging by Randolph’s roster, the Rockets pose a particularly tough challenge with their size. But what the Chieftains give up in weight, they more than make up for in speed.
“We feel good about where we’re at, but we still are really hungry to keep it going,” said Siegert. “It’s going to be a stiff test, but we’re going to give it everything we have. I know these kids have another couple games in them.”
WIAA Division 7, Level 3 Playoff
Potosi 48, Cochrane–Fountain City 28
(from Saturday, Nov. 3 @ Potosi)
3) C–FC 0 0 6 22 — 28
1) Potosi 7 21 14 6 — 48
P: Alex Wright 3 run (Tim Fritz kick)
P: Jase Udelhofen 16 run (Fritz kick)
P: Wright 5 run (Fritz kick)
P: Mitch Langkamp 19 pass from Fritz (Fritz kick)
P: Langkamp 51 pass from Fritz (Fritz kick)
P: Udelhofen 7 run (Fritz kick)
CFC: Ruesgen 60 fumble return (pass failed)
CFC: Lisowski 1 run (pass failed)
CFC: Lyga 3 pass from Lisowski (Lisowski run)
P: Hunter Leibfried 65 pass from Fritz (kick failed)
CFC: Skroch 53 pass from Lisowski (Skrock pass from Lisowski)
First downs: C/FC 16, P 24. Rushing: C/FC 18-77, P 54-313. Passing yards: C/FC 279, P 227. Passes: C/FC 19-35-1, P 9-12-0. Fumbles-lost: C/FC 2-0, P 3-1. Penalties-yards: C/FC 4-20, P 6-38.
Rushing: C/FC: Lisowski 9-45; P: Jase Udelhofen 18-193, Alex Wright 14-63. Passing: C/FC: Lisowski 19-35-1, 279; P: Tim Fritz 9-12-0, 227. Receiving: C/FC: Lyga 7-115; P: Mitchell Langkamp 4-99, Chase Kruser 3-48, Hunter Leibfried 1-65.