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Beavers Sports


Varsity - 2008 Season
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 by Brady Ambrose and Bill Cooney


Matt Pingel (48) along with teammates Zach Downing, Josh Jorandy and Tyler  Mazur celebrate as the clock winds down Saturday during the Beavers win over Madison Edgewood.

Brady Ambrose/Times Press

Matt Pingel (48) along with teammates Zach Downing, Josh Jorandy and Tyler Mazur celebrate as the clock winds down Saturday during the Beavers win over Madison Edgewood.

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Brady Ambrose/Times Press

In what has become a very familiar script to the 2008 football season, the Reedsburg Beavers battered Madison Edgewood 34-3 Saturday afternoon, and in doing so advanced to the fourth level of the WIAA football playoffs for the first time in school history.

Led once again by an offense that amassed nearly 500 yards without throwing a single pass, plus a tenacious defense that allowed a lone field goal, the Beavers will play for a berth in the state championship game this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Beaver Dam against Wisconsin Lutheran.

Reedsburg won their third playoff game with a dominating defensive effort against an Edgewood team that had averaged 37 points per game in their last three outings, including a 42-14 win over Mount Horeb/Barneveld Nov. 1 in a level 2 game.

It took a little while but in the end, the Beavers held the Crusaders and quarterback Mario Minnaert to their lowest scoring effort of the season, and on offense, it was the Justin Huinker show as the Beaver fullback rushed for a season-high 337 yards on 29 carries, including 224 yards in the second half as the Beavers scored on five straight possessions. "We were worried about stopping their QB running the option but we decided to keep our defense simple and stick with what we've been doing so our kids could continue to play aggressively," said coach Brian Pottinger.

The first half turned into a defensive struggle as the teams traded possession after possession, and Edgewood got the first break of the game on a Beaver turnover. With 4:38 left in the second quarter, the Crusaders punted and Matt Lennon returned the kick to the Reedsburg 20. After a first down to the 32, Huinker took off on a 47 yard run to the Edgewood 21, but fumbled while being tackled by Connor Cosgrove, and Edgewood's Scott Ransom recovered at the 21. Edgewood moved out to the RAHS 44 and got another break when the Beavers were called for pass interference on an incomplete pass. On first and 10 at the 34, Mike Eshun rumbled to the 21 where the Crusaders called a time out with 1:08 left in the first half. Two plays later Eshun raced to the one yard line, but a false start pushed the Crusaders back five yards where Minnaert kicked a 24 yard field goal as the clock ran out, giving the Crusaders a 3-0 lead at halftime. "That was huge," Pottinger said of holding the Crusaders to three points. "Just a big boost to us. A big boost of morale going into halftime. I wish I could take credit for an emotionally charged motivational speech but it wasn't like that at all. Everything at halftime from the coaches and players was positive. We talked about a few things that we thought would work on both sides of the ball and they went out and took care of business in the second half."

Huinker and the offense then took over in the second half.

The Beavers took advantage of a poor kick by Edgewood and started at their own 40. Huinker picked up a first down to the 21, and Matt Lennon raced to the four yard line on the next play. After a false start pushed them back to the nine, quarterback Tyler Mazur, who rushed for 113 yards himself, scored from nine yards out to give Reedsburg a 7-3 lead less than two minutes into the second half. Pottinger said "I know the fumble motivated him and that's the sign of a great player who doesn't dwell on mistakes but goes out and gives that extra effort to be better the next time."

The Crusaders took over at their own 45 and moved into Reedsburg territory on a Minnaert to Joe Curtin eight yard completion. But on third and three Edgewood was called for a delay of game penalty. Minnaert threw an incomplete pass on third and eight and the Reedsburg defense forced another Edgewood punt, which sailed into the end zone. "It was a team defensive effort because we had good coverage and also a lot of pressure up front. One thing that has really helped us is the fact that our kids are seeing a lot of the other team's offensive plays during practice in a short period of time and that's due to platooning," added the coach.

The Beavers started at the 20 and huinker picked up 20 yards on the next two plays to the 40. Mazur rushed to the Edgewood 42 where the crusaders stiffened up their defense and forced a fourth and one. mazur picked up an easy first down to the 31, and Huinker scored on the very next play to give Reedsburg a 14-3 lead at the 3:50 mark of the third quarter.

The Crusaders were again forced to punt on their next possession, and the Beavers started their third drive of the second half at their own 13. Reedsburg put together a drive to the Edgewood 16, and on first down Mazur gave the Beavers a first and goal at the one. Huinker then scored with just three seconds left in the quarter to cap a 20 point scoring outburst, and the Beavers entered the fourth quarter with a 20-3 lead. The Beaver defense again rose to the occasion on Edgewood's opening possession of the fourth quarter. On third and four at their own 36, Minnaert threw an incomplete pass, and on the next play dropped back to attempt a another pass, but Alex Schmitt got a big paw up in the air and batted the pass to the ground, and the Beavers took over at the Edgewood 38.

At the 23 yard line, Huinker picked up five yards on third and six, and on the next play the Beaver fullback gained eight yards on fourth and one to give RAHS a first and 10 at the 10 yard line. Senior Zach Meyer then scored from seven yards out to put the Beavers up 27-3 with 7:37 left in the game. Senior Brent Landon then secured the win for the Beavers. The Crusaders took over at their own 27 after the Meyer score. On first and 10 at the 42, Minnaert hit Connor Cosgrove with a 13 yard completion to the Beavers 29, but Landon picked off Minnaert's next pass attempt at the Reedsburg 11 yard line. Mazur picked up a big first down to the Edgewood 33, a run that covered 36 yards. On second and 12 at the 35, Mazur barreled to the 16 yard line with 2:30 left to play. On the next play Huinker scored his third touchdown of the game and 14th of the season to give the Beavers the 34-3 win.

"You look up, you look at those linebackers and they're kind of playing on their heels and not attacking as hard as they were. You can definitely see it," Huinker said after the game.

"It means everything," said Pottinger, in his third year as head coach, and who has seen his veer option offense develop into a near-unstoppable force behind an average-sized, but quick offensive line, speedy running backs and the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior quarterback Mazur.

"I'm extremely happy for the kids. They're the ones that worked hard to get here. All the hours in the weight room in the summer. I'm just happy for them. It's an amazing group."

Bill Cooney of the Wisconsin State Journal contributed to this story.

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