The Vikings thought their offense could go score for score with the Waunakee football team’s offense. The Vikings thought wrong.
“We’ve got some playmakers…” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Pat Rice. “That’s one of the things that makes us tough to defend. There’s Wuensch, Keller, Lewis, Morgan out of the backfield, Blang. There’s a lot of weapons that you have to deal with… It’s hard to take all those things away, with the receivers, the backs, the quarterback that we have.”
Powered by five touchdown passes from Caden Nelson and three touchdown receptions by Andrew Keller, Waunakee scored on their first eight possessions – all but the final possession of the game that ran out the clock – to earn their second blowout victory in as many weeks.
After recovering an onside kick attempt by Stoughton to open the game, the Warrior offense went straight to work, methodically marching down the field. Alec Morgan finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run through an enormous hole opened up by the Hogs.
That started a back-and-forth early battle between the Warriors’ and Vikings’ offenses. The next two possessions for each team ended in touchdowns – both on throws from Nelson to Morgan and Caden Lewis, respectively for the Warriors – and Waunakee’s lead stood at 21-14 midway through the second quarter.
It was at that point when Waunakee’s defense finally clamped down. Stoughton’s final two drives of the half resulted in zero points, while the Warrior offense just kept on rolling.
Morgan tacked on another short touchdown run followed by Nelson’s third scoring pass of the day – this time to Keller in the back corner of the end zone – to put Waunakee up 35-14 at halftime.
After the break, it was back to business. While Stoughton narrowed Waunakee’s lead to 15 points on the half’s opening possession, Waunakee’s offense kept on rolling.
With Nelson forced to the sideline for a play, backup Quentin Keene stepped in and delivered a jump ball to Keller, who came down with a ridiculous one-handed grab over his defender to record his second touchdown catch of the day.
“I don’t know,” Keller responded when asked how he managed to make the highlight-reel one-handed grab. “We rep one hand in practice, so that was the perfect time to use that.”
With a 42-20 lead, Waunakee was poised to put the final nail in the coffin for Stoughton’s chances as the fourth quarter opened. In the first five minutes of the quarter, Nelson found Hayden Blang and Keller for his fourth and fifth touchdown passes of the night, giving the Warriors a 36-point lead and a running clock.
“Our number one going down – Caden Lewis – coach told me I had to step up,” Keller added. “Keene threw me a good pass, [Nelson] threw me two… You’ve got to congratulate them.”
Though the Vikings did manage one final score, Waunakee ran out the clock out on their final possession of the night to secure the 56-26 victory.
“We’re playing well right now…” said Rice. “That’s the cool thing about this group: there’s a lot of guys that will get their turn… Happy we got that W.”
Nelson accounted for 262 yards through the air, going 18 for 21 in addition to his five scoring tosses. Morgan added 80 yards rushing on 15 carries, followed by 48 rushing yards by Ben Meinholz and 40 by Nelson.
Jordan Wuensch was Waunakee's top receiver, racking up 75 yards on seven catches, followed by Lewis with 62 yards, Blang with 61 and Keller with 29.
With the win, Waunakee upped their record to 2-0 on the season. The Warriors return home next Friday to open up Badger North play against Beaver Dam. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.