Motivated by the return of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Roelke, who traveled up from Florida, the DeForest prep football team hammered visiting Portage 61-0 last Friday.
“We put a lot of effort into this for coach Roelke,” Norski senior quarterback Trey Schroeder said. “Everybody played a heck of a game.”
Roelke, who was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001, coached in DeForest for 32 years. He coached this year’s Norski senior class as freshman.
“It was an emotional moment to see him here,” DeForest senior defensive tackle Edwyn Erickson said. “We have a connection with him since he coached us as freshman and it was special moment.”
Current Norski coach Mike Minick, who replaced Roelke, was also emotional about seeing his former coach.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Minick said. “It was great to see coach Roelke come up from Florida and be a part of the game. The whole team was fired up to see him. They love that man. He is a great role model for these kids.”
DeForest improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Badger North Conference with the win. The Norskies have outscored their opponents 197-7 this season.
The Norskies treated Roelke to a dominating performance. DeForest outgained the Warriors 437-142 in total yards. The Norskies held a 369-62 advantage on the ground.
“You have to credit the offensive line,” Minick said. “There was a lot of room to run out there.”
DeForest came out firing on all cylinders and put 20 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter.
“It makes the game easier when you can have a start like we had,” Schroeder said.
Making his first start of the season, senior running back Evan Armstrong opened the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run on the Norskies’ second offensive play of the game.
DeForest’s defense then got into the scoring act when Deven Magli returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 13-0.
Before the first quarter came to an end, Schroeder came up with an 8-yard touchdown run to increases the advantage to 20-0.
The Norskies kept the pressure on in the second quarter. They scored on all three of their possessions to take a 40-0 halftime lead.
“Our offense playing well like this takes a lot of pressure off us on defense,” Erickson said.
Schroeder opened the scoring in the second stanza with a 3-yard touchdown run. He then tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Rauls.
Armstrong closed out the scoring in the first half with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Norskies turned to their backups in the second half and they came through with three more touchdowns.
On the opening drive of the second half, DeForest’s Mason Kirchberg busted loose for a 43-yard touchdown run.
The Norskies closed out their scoring with short touchdown runs by Gabe Finley and Mitch Hahn in the fourth quarter.
Schroeder finished the game 2-for-3 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Armstrong exploded for 105 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while Finley finished with 85 yards and a score on six attempts.
The Norskies’ defense pitched its third shutout of the season.
“If we keep cleaning up a few things, I think we can be really good on defense,” Minick said. “We just have to keep pushing forward.”
Trace Grundahl led DeForest with six tackles, while Alex Endres, Erickson, Kase Reierson, Marlon Cystrunk and Cole Yocum had four each. Erickson had a sack and two tackles for loss.
“We have been playing together since fourth grade and have a great chemistry,” Erickson said. “We always knew this group was going to be something special.”
Magli had two interceptions for DeForest, while Grundahl came away with one.
The Norskies will hit the road this Friday. They will play a conference game at Sauk Prairie at 7 p.m.