It is easy to say the DeForest prep football team had a team win over Reedsburg in Level 2 of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs last Friday, but it was more than that. It was a community win.
After the Level 2 game was moved to McFarland due to poor conditions at Stalder Field, the game was moved back to DeForest due to a scheduling conflict. With snow hitting the area late last week, Norski players, coaches, parents and community members ascended on Stalder Field to clear off the snow on Halloween.
“It was pretty neat to see all the parents, players and alumni shoveling the field to get it ready,” DeForest coach Mike Minick said.
The field was playable, even though it was extremely muddy, and the Norskies rewarded the hard work with a 20-0 victory over the Beavers.
“That was a good team win,” Norski senior quarterback Trey Schroeder said. “Our offensive line and running backs played very well and everyone on defense did their thing,”
The win pushed the Norskies to a perfect 11-0 and advanced them to Level 3 for the first time since 2011.
“It feels amazing because we have worked so hard for this,” DeForest senior defensive tackle Alonzo Blevins said.
The top-seeded Norskies advanced to play seventh-seeded Monroe in Level 3. The game will be played in McFarland at 7 p.m. this Friday.
“We have to keep getting better every day,” Schroeder said.
Monroe pulled off its second upset of the playoffs to reach Level 3. They knocked off third-seeded Stoughton 14-7 on Friday.
DeForest last played in Level 3 in 2011, when they lost 17-7 to eventual Division 2 state champion Waunakee.
With less than ideal playing conditions, the Norskies turned to their ground game on Friday. They rushed for 201 yards, while only completing one pass.
“It was worse out there than I thought it was going to be, because I thought the ground would be frozen,” Norski senior offensive lineman Adam White said. “But, we came out and played hard and were physical. This is the type of conditions Norski linemen like.”
Gabe Finley led the way with 82 yards on 21 carries, while Alex Endres added 72 yards on 10 attempts.
“It was a little greasy out there, but it was the same conditions for both teams,” Minick said. “I thought we handled it well. “We knew we had to keep possession of the ball and keep their offense off the field.
After punting on its opening drive, DeForest scored on its second drive of the night. Finley capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The touchdown was set up by a long run by Endres.
“It was a big score because if you can get up on these guys, it puts a lot of pressure on their offense,” Minick said.
On their third drive of the game, the Norskies drove 53 yards in five minutes to increase their lead.
Norski quarterback Trey Schroeder ended the drive with his only completion of the game. He threw a perfectly placed ball down the center of the field and Nolan Hawk snatched it out of the air for a 23-yard touchdown.
“To be honest, I didn’t really see him,” Schroeder said. “I just knew where he was going to be. I just threw it and he made a heck of a play.”
DeForest took the 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“That was a big play by Hawk and nice throw by Trey,” Minick said.
The Norskies had a chance to add to their lead midway through the third quarter, but Reedsburg intercepted a pass in the end zone.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, DeForest defensive tackle Alonzo Blevins scooped up a fumble and returned it to the Beaver 12-yard line.
“It felt amazing because it is the first time I have gotten a scoop,” Blevins said. “I thought for a second I had a chance to score.”
Finley scored on the ensuing play to increase the lead to 20-0. The Norskies missed the extra-point kick.
“We have a lot of faith in our defense and they set us up for a touchdown,” White said.
DeForest’s defense did the rest of the work. The Norskies pitched their fifth shutout of the season and second against Reedsburg. DeForest blanked the Beavers 28-0 during the Badger North Conference season.
The Norskies held the Beavers to 80 yards of offense and six first downs.
Trey Warne led DeForest with seven tackles, while Devan Morand-Rivers finished with six.
The Norskies’ Jett Riese recorded two sacks and two tackles for loss, while Cole Yocum and Blevins both had a sack and two tackles for loss. Warne and Alex Endres both had a tackle for loss.
Like DeForest, Reedsburg completed just one pass. The Beavers only attempted two passes in the game.
Joe Statz led the Beavers with 58 yards rushing on 16 carries.