UNION GROVE — It looked like Tyler Tenner was just going to go out of bounds near the Cambridge 20-yard line.
But the Racine Lutheran running back spun back toward the field of play just before going out of bounds at the left-sideline, slipping by a would-be tackler and breaking another tackle. After breaking a few more tackles down the sideline, Tenner was finally taken at the Blue Jay 2-yard line before he punched it into the end zone the next play.
It was plays like that from Tenner that Cambridge saw Friday night and will feel for a long time to come.
Tenner rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns as Racine Lutheran defeated the Cambridge, 55-7, in a WIAA Division 6 level 2 playoff game in Union Grove.
“He’s (Tenner) a phenomenal athlete,” Cambridge head coach Mike Klingbeil said. “Our kids are good athletes, but he’s a step above.”
Tenner also became the state’s all-time leading rusher in the third quarter of the game, breaking the previous record of 6,870 yards. He finished the game with a career total of 6,903 yards.
This wasn’t the first time Tenner gashed the Cambridge defense. Last season, Racine Lutheran ended the Blue Jays’ undefeated season in a Level 3 playoff game, 41-21. Tenner ran for 310 rushing yards.
“The problem is he’s too strong for our fast guys and too fast for our strong guys,” Klingbeil said. “Our big guys tried to get him and he jukes them. Our fast guys try to get him and they hang on and can’t bring him down. That goes for last year and this year.”
It didn’t take long for Tenner and company to get to business. Tenner capped off a five-play 39-yard drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown to open the game’s scoring with 9 minutes, 53 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Crusaders also got a 2-yard rushing touchdown from senior Jaylen Houston in the first quarter and continued to add to their lead in the second quarter.
Tenner and Houston both found the end zone again in quarter two. It was a 2-yard score for Tenner and a 44-yard burst from Houston.
Racine Lutheran threw its only touchdown of the game with 37.3 seconds left in the first half on a 30-yard score. Nolan Kraus ended the first half with a pick six off junior Ezra Stein as time expired to put the Crusaders up 40-0 at the break.
The Blue Jays had trouble keeping possession throughout the game, turning the ball over six times.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Klingbeil said. “You’re not going to win any games when you turn it over that many times.”
Cambridge’s lone score of the game came off the opening-kickoff in the second half, which was taken to the end zone 65 yards out by junior Jacob Moody.
Tenner scored his second touchdown of the quarter, and fourth of the game, with 1:44 left in the third to make it 55-7. It was on that drive that Tenner broke the state’s all-time rushing record.
The Blue Jay seniors leave their mark in Cambridge, helping the team to three-straight Capitol South championships.
“They mean a lot,” Klingbeil said. “They’ve carried on the tradition of the senior classes we’ve had before.”
Racine Lutheran will host Fond du Lac Saint Mary’s Springs on Friday.
RACINE LUTHERAN 55
Cambridge 0 0 7 0 — 7
Racine Luth 14 26 15 0 — 55
RL — Tenner 3 run (kick good)
RL — Houston 2 run (kick good)
RL — Tenner 2 run (kick good)
RL — Houston 44 run (kick good)
RL — Kraus 30 pass Jansen (kick failed)
RL — Kraus 60 interception (kick failed)
C — Moody 65 kickoff (kick good)
RL — Tenner 25 run (two point good)
RL — Tenner 6 run (kick good)
Passing (comp.-att-yds.int) — C Stein 6-18-99-3, RL Jansen 4-8-73-0. Rushing — C Curtis 13-39, RL Tenner 23-237. Receiving — C Downing 2-48, RL Houston 2-32.
Rushing yards (att-yds.) — C 26-70, RL 38-393. Passing yards — C 99, RL 73. Fumbles lost — JC 3, RL 0.