Amherst wins third straight State Title
By John Kemmeter
The Amherst High School football team overcame a second-half deficit to win its third State Title in a row Thursday, Nov. 16.
Down 21-14 in the third quarter against sixth-ranked Lake Country Lutheran (13-1) in the WIAA Division 5 State Championship Game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, the top-ranked Falcons (13-1) used a pair of touchdown runs from senior quarterback Marcus Glodowski to regain the lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Glodowski then had a key interception late to close out his record-setting performance, as Amherst won 28-21 to claim its third consecutive State Title and fourth in six years.
“It’s really amazing, especially with the three-peat,” said Amherst senior wide receiver/cornerback Carter Zblewski. “You’ve got to put the work in,you’ve got to put everything you have in to get here, and we’re just very fortunate to get here at all.”
“Three times in a row is awesome,” said Amherst senior offensive guard/linebacker Max Villnow. “And it’s definitely good to go out with a game like that.”
The Falcons entered the State Championship Game without senior running back/linebacker Bryce Holderman, a Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) Honorable Mention All-State selection at linebacker and the Central Wisconsin Conference (CWC) Large Defensive Player of the Year this season, who suffered a concussion in the team’s 35-6 victory over Grantsburg in the State Semifinals a week earlier, after he had rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“I wish I would’ve been out there, but I was rooting them on the whole time,” said Holderman, “Keeping their heads up, making sure that when they did something good, you jumped around and got them excited, and when they did something bad, you still were there to pick their heads up.”
In its fourth consecutive State Championship Game appearance, Amherst got off to a fast start Thursday afternoon, as Glodowski had 58 yards rushing on five carries on the opening possession of the game and scored on a one-yard touchdown run to cap a 72-yard drive that gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead with 8:50 left in the first quarter following the extra-point kick from Zblewski.
After Lake Country missed a 42-yard field goal, Amherst drove to its opponents’ 16-yard line, before a fourth down pass from Glodowski was intercepted in the back of the end zone.
Facing third-down-and-14 on the next series, Lake Country junior running back Dane Vance took a screen pass 69 yards to the Amherst 15-yard line, and on the next play junior quarterback Ethan Wilkins threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Michael Schumacher to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:44 to go in the second quarter.
The Falcons answered on the ensuing possession, as Glodowski cut past a pair of defenders near the line of scrimmage to break into the open field for a 27-yard touchdown run to give the team a 14-7 lead with 5:42 remaining in the second quarter.
“I saw a couple of holes, made a couple of guys miss,” said Glodowski. “And somehow ended up in the end zone.”
On the next drive, Wilkins completed 6-of-6 passes for 62 yards and Vance, the cousin of Amherst junior running back/outside linebacker Josh Rieck, scored on a one-yard touchdown run with 1:27 to play in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
The Falcons used a 12-yard run from Rieck and a 36-yard completion from Glodowski to Zblewski to reach the Lake Country 13-yard line with 16 seconds left in the half, before they turned the ball over on downs at the five-yard line with 10 seconds to go, as the game went into halftime tied 14-14.
“We shot ourselves in the foot, and I wasn’t very happy,” said Amherst football head coach Mark Lusic. “We were moving the ball, it was just a missed block here, a missed block there, and two times in the red zone (that came up empty).
“We actually played pretty well offensively,” he said. “And defensively, the difference was the adjustments at halftime.”
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