Rosholt beats Pacelli in key conference showdown
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
In a battle for a potential spot in the playoffs, the Rosholt High School football team pulled away to beat Pacelli Catholic High School at Community Stadium at Goerke Field Friday, Sept. 27.
The Hornets (3-3, 2-1) used a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half to take a 27-14 lead into halftime, and went on to a 40-14 win in Pacelli’s (1-5, 1-2) Homecoming Game.
“We kind of looked at this one as our playoff game pretty much, because we knew if we lost this game, it would be really, really hard to get in the playoffs,” said Rosholt senior offensive lineman/linebacker Tony Lemke. “So it was great to win this game.”
“Credit to Rosholt, they’re a good team,” said Pacelli football head coach Drew Nelson. “We had some blown defensive assignments and things on our end, that if we had those shored up, I think it would’ve been a little bit different ending of a score.”
With both teams needing three wins in the Central Wisconsin Conference (CWC) Small this season to secure a playoff bid, Rosholt and Pacelli squared off Friday night for the first time since Rosholt won 22-14 over the Cardinals in Level 2 of the 2012 WIAA Division 6 Playoffs.
The Hornets got on the scoreboard first Friday night, as it faced fourth down and 22 from the Pacelli 24-yard line, when junior quarterback Isaac Cychosz threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Josh Zick to give Rosholt a 7-0 lead following the extra point kick from sophomore Blade Niewiadomski with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
“They don’t have a safety back there, so we called a post for me,” said Zick. “It was wide open, I’m just glad that the ball got to me.”
Pacelli answered in the second quarter, when senior fullback Henry Basala scored on a four-yard touchdown run with 11:26 to go in the half to bring the Cardinals within 7-6 after the extra-point kick was no good.
Rosholt came back and scored on a 12-yard touchdown run from Zick to take a 13-6 lead with 9:21 remaining in the second quarter after the extra-point kick was no good, and senior running back Reese Anderson broke off a 21-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to push the lead to 20-6 with 6:34 to play in the second quarter.
Pacelli sophomore running back Brycen Cashin had a 45-yard run on the ensuing possession, and then capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run, before he ran in the two-point conversion to pull the Cardinals within 20-14 with 3:25 left in the second quarter.
“Rosholt came down and scored, and then we were able to come down and score and hang with them,” said Nelson. “Cashin’s a special player, but he’s not putting up those kind of stats without a good offensive line in front of him as well.”
Rosholt looked to add to its lead late in the first half and drove deep into Pacelli territory with under a minute to play, when Cychosz scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 12 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Hornets a 27-14 lead at intermission.
“We wanted to go in at halftime with some momentum, knowing that they had the ball coming in the second half,” said Rosholt football co-head coach Mark McHugh. “And it’s a credit to all of the guys; they did a good job going down the field.
“A great call by (co-head) coach (Shawn) Cychosz on that play,” he said. “We ran that play one other time this year and it was successful, and it worked for Isaac tonight.”
On Rosholt’s first possession of the second half, senior Adam Charnecke scored on a 21-yard touchdown run with 7:44 to go in the third quarter to increase the Hornets’ lead to 33-14, while Anderson scored on a 14-yard touchdown run with 10:38 remaining in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring on the team’s 40-14 win.
“We’re very pleased,” said McHugh. “We did some changes offensively, tweaked a little bit on the offensive line, and it showed tonight.
“Our execution was a lot better on the line of scrimmage, and we were able to get Reese on some big runs out there, as well as Josh Zick,” he said.
For Pacelli, Cashin rushed for 195 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries on offense and also had 11 tackles and an interception on defense, Basala finished with 57 yards rushing and one touchdown on 14 carries, and sophomore quarterback Drew Kedrowicz completed 6-of-19 passes for 99 yards, with zero touchdowns and one interception, while he also had five tackles and one interception on defense.
The Cardinals will be back home to take on Menominee Indian (1-2) in a CWC Small matchup at Community Stadium at Goerke Field Friday, Oct. 4, and also have conference games left against Almond-Bancroft (6-0, 3-0) and Wild Rose (0-6, 0-2).
“We were able to battle, but we just had to be a little bit more sure on defense there in that second half, and I think we would’ve been a little bit more competitive,” said Nelson. “It’s frustrating because you see things that we could’ve done better, some of those you learn from, and hopefully the kids did as well.
“And we’ll be ready for Menominee Indian,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rosholt rushed for 358 yards on 42 carries and finished with 445 total yards in the win, and will have a chance to clinch a playoff berth when it hosts Pittsville (2-1) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4.
“One of my biggest dreams is to have a home playoff game,” said Lemke, whose team also hosts Wild Rose in its conference finale Oct. 11, before it closes the regular season at Coleman Oct. 18. “Where we can have our Rosholt crowd cheer us on the whole time.”
“It’s my senior year, I want it to last as long as possible,” said Anderson. “Hopefully we go far in the playoffs.”