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Beavers Sports

Reedsburg Goes for Glory, Settles for Silver

Varsity - 2008 Season
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 by Bill Cooney

WIAA state football: Reedsburg goes for glory, settles for silver
JOHN MANIACI -- State Journal
Reedsburg's Matt Lennon is pulled down by Waupaca's Connor Kiesow on the Beavers' try for a two-point conversion in the final minutes of Friday's Division 3 title game at Camp Randall Stadium.
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FRI., NOV 21, 2008 - 7:06 PM
WIAA state football: Reedsburg goes for glory, settles for silver

After a split-second of hesitation, Reedsburg prep football coach Brian Pottinger figured the decision of the season — and perhaps the biggest one in his program's long history — had to rest on the shoulders of his 11 offensive starters.

The Beavers had clawed their way back into the WIAA Division 3 state title game against Waupaca on Friday at Camp Randall Stadium, pulling within a point on quarterback Tyler Mazur's 1-yard touchdown run.

With 2 minutes, 59 seconds left, Pottinger had his team line up for an extra point attempt, but the Comets jumped offsides.


That's when Pottinger called a timeout, and had thoughts of going for the win creep into his mind.

After a brief team meeting, the call was made. In came Mazur, fullback Justin Huinker and tailback Matt Lennon — the trio that paved the way for Reedsburg's record-setting offense this season — for a two-point conversion attempt.

"We've got a good offense and we're a yard-and-a-half away from a state championship," Pottinger said after the Beavers fell short, 21-20. "I just had that much confidence in our kids that we could do it."

Mazur took the snap and pitched right to Lennon. But the play was blown up from start, and Lennon, the speedy senior running back, was dropped by Waupaca's Connor Kiesow and Mike Solberg behind the line of scrimmage, well short of the goal line.

"It was a decision I made," said Pottinger, the third-year coach who implemented the high-scoring veer option offense when he took over.

"It's a tough call either way, but that's why you're in this position. You've got to make those tough decisions sometimes."

Afterward, Mazur — who saw his offense total just 226 yards, its second-lowest output of the year — agreed with his coach's no-guts, no-glory decision.

"It's to win. To win a state championship," said Mazur, whose unit had averaged 392 yards rushing in the playoffs.

"You're going to win or you're going to lose. And we went for the win. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but I thought it was a good play call and that's all we can do about it."

Down seven at halftime and trailing in several key statistics — 143-92 in total yards and 9-1 in first downs — the Beavers (10-4) trailed 21-7 after Solberg's 3-yard TD run capped a 26-yard drive with 1 minute left in the third quarter.

After Matt Pingel — who totaled 13 tackles, two sacks and two blocked punts — had a 45-yard kickoff return, Reedsburg answered with a Mazur TD plunge to pull within 21-14 early in the fourth.

The Reedsburg defense held again, and Pingel got a piece of his second punt to give the Beavers good field position and a chance to win despite a lopsided time of possession advantage (31:12 to 16:48) for Waupaca (14-0).

The drive that pulled Reedsburg within a point was kept alive by Mazur's 28-yard completion to Lennon on fourth-and-6.

And after Mazur punched in his third 1-yard TD run of the game, Waupaca won its second state title with a pair of defensive stops.

Reedsburg got the ball back with 1:16 left, but Mazur was intercepted by Matt Williams three plays later.

But the crucial stop came on the 2-point conversion.

"The whole game you could read the motion because (of) the wing," Kiesow said. "He would watch the quarterback and you could tell which way he was going. They had the split end in tight and I just read toss, tried to get to it."

When he did, the Beavers had to settle for silver.

"I'm just so happy we made it here," Mazur said. "It was just such a privilege to be here, and our guys played amazing."

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