A Keegan Fleischman touchdown run closed the gap to two points.

However, Kewaskum was able to hold off the Lodi High School football team in the Blue Devils’ 29-20 loss Friday in Level One of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs.

“We played a very talented Kewaskum team on Friday night and things didn’t go our way,” said Lodi Head Coach David Puls. “Kewaskum is typically a Division 3 team, but this year they dropped into D4. The guys played with heart and effort, but we just didn’t make enough plays in the end.”

Lodi finishes the fall 2021 campaign with a 7-3 record, as Kewaskum moves on.

The Blue Devils fell behind 6-0 in the first quarter after a 70-yard touchdown run by Kewaskum’s Max Melzer, who finished with 186 rushing yards.

Jaylen Montgomery tied it by racing 26 yards for a score. Chandler Curtis kicked the extra point to give Lodi its only lead.

Kewaskum took a 12-7 lead into halftime after Matthew Buechel reached the end zone on a 3-yard run and stretched its advantage to 22-7 in the third quarter after Melzer ran for a 53-yard touchdown and Andrew Bolek kicked a 39-yard field goal.

Then, the Blue Devils staged a comeback, as Fleischman plunged in from a yard out in third quarter before another short run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Curtis again made good on the PAT, trimming the deficit to 22-20.

“Kewaskum took an early lead and we answered it to go up 7-6,” said Puls. “It was 7-12 at halftime with Kewaskum in the lead, but the team knew they had not played their best and we were determined to get back into the game. Kewaskum capitalized on some big plays to go up 22-7. We were able to capture some of the momentum back after we scored at the end of the third to make it 13-22. Chandler Curtis went with a surprise onside kick and recovered his own onside kick.”

However, Kewaskum got a 9-yard touchdown pass from Buechel to Benjamin Butler for some insurance.

“We needed to get the ball back a couple more times, but Kewaskum solidified their defense and stayed aggressive on offense,” said Puls. “They did not want to give us another opportunity to have one more possession with such a close game. They rolled the dice on a two-pt conversion and put the game out of reach at 20-29 with very little time left. It was obviously very disappointing to lose, but in the playoffs, everyone has a good team. You have to find a way to take care of the ball and make a few more plays than the opponent. We did not do that on a consistent basis Friday night.”

Puls added, “We will miss the seniors and everything they have given to the Lodi Football program. They had to battle through many challenges over the past two years and they never gave up. They showed a lot of perseverance through it all and we are very proud of them for that.”

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