The DeForest prep football team led Friday’s WIAA Division 3 state championship game with Menasha at Camp Randall Stadium for all of 32 seconds. But, it was the most important 32 seconds of the Norskies’ season.
The Norskies got a late touchdown pass and two-point conversion to capture the state crown 8-7.
The win caps off a perfect season for the Norskies and gave them their first state title since 1982. They finished the season 14-0.
It was the final game for long-time coach, Mike Minick, who is stepping down.
DeForest’s offense had trouble moving the ball for a good chunk of the game and uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times.
However, the Norskies’ defense kept them in the game long enough for the offense to put together one spectacular championship drive.
Things looked bleak for the Norskies after their fourth turnover of the game. A fumble gave Menasha the ball at its own 36-yard line with 1:39 remaining in the game.
DeForest forced the Bluejays to go three-and-out on the ensuing drive and used all of its timeouts to get the ball back at their own 37 with 1:15 remaining in regulation.
On the first play of the drive, Menasha was called for pass interference to give DeForest the ball at the Bluejay 48-yard line.
A 28-yard pass to Logan Bierman and an 11-yard strike to Nolan Hawk put the Norskies in great position at the Menasha 13 with under 40 seconds to play.
Quarterback Trey Schroeder then found running back Gabe Finley in the middle of the field. Finley grabbed the pass and plowed his way into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown with :32 remaining.
The Norskies then decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion.
On the two-point attempt, Schroeder faked a run and hit Hawk on a pop pass to put the Norskies in the lead.
Menasha got the ball back at their own 30. The Bluejays ran four plays, the final of which was an interception by Adam Szepieniec to seal the victory.
DeForest trailed almost the entire game after the Bluejays scored on their first drive of the game.
On its opening drive, Menasha took the ball 67-yards in 12 plays and got a 9-yard touchdown run from Davontre Smith.
The Norskies finished the game with 258 yards of offense, including 161 on the ground.
Menasha had 182 yards of offense.
Schroeder led DeForest with 80 yards rushing on 15 attempts. He was also 6-of-15 passing for 97 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Menasha quarterback Cole Popp rushed for 68 yards on 19 attempts and was 11-of-20 passing for 80 yards and three interceptions.
Kody Kuchar and Devan Morand-Rivers led the Norskies’ defense with nine tackles apiece.
Kuchar, Jett Riese and Edwyn Erickson each had two tackles for loss, while Szepieniec, Marlon Cystrunk and Trace Grundahl all had interceptions. Morand-Rivers recovered a fumble.
For a complete story on the game check back online and in next week’s Times-Tribune.
Playing in their first state championship game since 2007, the Norskies claimed the second title in program history with an 8-7 victory over Menasha in the Division 3 title game at Camp Randall Stadium on Friday. DeForest’s only other title came in 19982.