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Beavers Sports

One For The Ages

Varsity - 2009 Season
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2009 by Brady Ambrose
 One for the ages

Matt Lennon (25) celebrates with Alex Stolte (84) and the rest of the Beavers after Reedsburg's 16-13 win over Catholic Memorial.

 

Brady Ambrose photos

 

Matt Lennon (25) celebrates with Alex Stolte (84) and the rest of the Beavers after Reedsburg's 16-13 win over Catholic Memorial.

 

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Brady Ambrose/Times Press

 

Matt Lennon was looking for a little redemption.

 

After fumbling at the Waukesha Catholic Memorial 12-yard line on a potential game winning drive with 3:16 left in the game and his team trailing 13-9, Lennon was hoping for one more shot to send the Beavers back to Camp Randall. The junior halfback got it when he snared a 13-yard touchdown pass from Chad Mazur with one second left to give Reedsburg a 16-13 win over Waukesha Catholic Memorial, sending the Beavers to their second straight Div. 3 state championship game.

 

It was a miraculous comeback for Reedsburg, who trailed 13-3 at halftime and lost starting defensive lineman Nate Brey to a broken leg with 16 seconds left in the process.

 

"I didn't think I made it, personally," Lennon said of his dive. "I knew that there was a defender right by me, and I was just thinking, I have to dive, I have to dive. Luckily, there was enough room."

 

Lennon's touchdown, his second of the game, capped an amazing eight-play, 90-yard drive that started at the Beaver's 10-yard line with 1:33 to play.

 

For the first time in the playoffs Reedsburg trailed in a game. On their opening drive, the Crusaders drove from their own 23 to the Reedsburg 27 with a strong 16-play drive that was capped by a 37-yard field goal by Derek Peake. Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger said "After that first drive I thought 'Oh boy, here we go.'" But the Beavers answered right back on their first possession. Starting at their 32 Reedsburg moved out to near midfield with an eight-yard run by Andy Huber that gave Reedsburg a first down at the 44. On the next play Lennon took off on a 43-yard run to the Catholic Memorial 12, but in the next three plays the Crusader defense held the Beavers to just eight yards. On fourth-and-two Michael Hayes booted a 22-yard field goal that tied the game at 3-3 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter, capping a seven-play, 63-yard drive. On their next possession the Crusaders punted on fourth down and Tyler Archambo returned the kick to the Reedsburg 40. Mazur hit Andy Huber with a completion to the Crusader 40, but an illegal motion penalty pushed the Beavers back 10 after Lennon had given the Beavers a first down at the 31.

 

On second-and-11 at the 41 Mazur broke free and raced down the sideline for an apparent score, but the Beavers were called for an illegal block in the back on the play, and were later forced to punt.

 

Mazur got off a good punt the landed at the six-yard line and the Reedsburg defense held Catholic Memorial to a three-and-out. Taking over at their own 14, Huber picked up a first down to the 30, but on third-and-three Huber came up a yard short and Reedsburg punted on fourth-and-one. The Crusaders took over at their own 37 with 3:07 left in the first half. After picking up a first down to their 49, Catholic Memorial was whistled for a false start that pushed them back five yards. On second-and-nine Crusader quarterback Dominic Zanoni lofted a pass to Chad Hanish near the Beaver bench.

 

On the play Reedsburg's Lucas Gudenschwager went up and appeared to intercept the pass, but after a struggle on the ground the officials gave the ball to Catholic Memorial for a first down with 1:02 left. Two plays later Zanoni lofted another pass down the middle of the field that was caught by 6'4" wide receiver TJ Bray who had gotten behind Gudenschwager and Michael Hayes, giving the Crusaders a 37-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead with 44 seconds left in the half.

 

On Reedsburg's first play after the touchdown, Shane Rockweiler fumbled at the Beavers 21-yard line, and Curtis White recovered the ball giving Catholic Memorial a first-and-10 at the 21 with 39 seconds left. But the Beaver defense held, and forced a third-and-four play where Zanoni tried to hit Dan Rice with a pass, but the pass fell incomplete. But the Crusaders put more points on the board anyway when Derek Peake booted a 33-yard field goal. As if trailing by 10 points wasn't bad enough, Reedsburg suffered a huge loss on the play when Nate Brey went down with an apparent leg injury. In a scene eerily similar to the Beavers game at Beaver Dam last season, Brey stayed down on the carpet for a full half hour.

 

When EMTs finally arrived, an IV was put in, and Brey was wheeled off the field into a waiting ambulance and taken to a local hospital. Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger said Monday that Brey had undergone surgery Sunday and returned home Monday with a plate and eight screws in a broken fibula, plus two more screws to hold his ankle together.

 

The Reedsburg defense then got the Beavers a break to start the third quarter. After taking the kickoff, Reedsburg turned the ball over when Catholic Memorial's Steve Dejewski intercepted a Mazur pass at the Reedsburg 41. On their first play the Crusaders tore off a big run when Pete Karczewski broke through on the right side and rumbled towards the goal line, but Tyler Archambo came up behind Karczewski and knocked the ball loose at the nine-yard line where Grant Rudolph recovered for the Beavers. But first downs were hard to come by, as the two teams traded punts on their next possessions. On their third possession of the third quarter the Beavers started at their 24 with 4:37 left in the quarter. Mazur picked up four yards on second-and-10, and Lennon rushed for 11 yards to give Reedsburg a first down at the 39. But two plays later the Beavers fumbled again and Curtis White recovered his second fumble for the Crusaders at the Reedsburg 38. But once again the Beaver defense held and forced the crusaders to punt, and Austin Pucylowski got off a beauty that pinned Reedsburg back at their own three-yard line with 1:36 left in the quarter. The third quarter expired with the Beavers facing a fourth-and-two at their own nine-yard line, where Mazur punted again, and Catholic Memorial started the fourth quarter in good field position at the Reedsburg 48-yard line with a 13-3 lead.

 

On second-and-eight Michael Hayes came up with another huge defensive play when he went up and picked off a Zanoni pass attempt for Pucylowski at the Beavers 29-yard line. "Our defensive coaches made a few small adjustments at halftime, but nothing major," said Pottinger. "We just had to do things a little bit better." The adjustments apparently worked.

 

Taking over at their own 29 with 11:12 left in the game, Shane Rockweiler picked up seven yards, and Mazur hit Andy Huber with a strike to the 40-yard line as the Beaver offense now was starting to click. Mazur broke free for a 19 yard gain on first down to the Catholic Memorial 41, and on the next play Lennon raced for a 28-yard gain to the Crusaders 13." We kept trying to pound it up the middle on them," said Lennon, "but in the second half we started to work the perimeter and it was working." Lennon was tackled for a three-yard loss on first down, but on the next play Mazur and Lennon hooked up for a 16-yard scoring strike over the middle that pulled the Beavers with four points at 13-9 with 9:02 left in the game.

 

But Michael Hayes pushed the PAT off, bouncing it off the left goal post, keeping the score 13-9.

 

The Crusaders returned the kick to their 38 where they took over first-and-10. On second down Tyler Keele sacked Zanoni for a two-yard loss to bring up a third-and-10, and once again the Beaver defense held as they forced the Crusaders to punt again on fourth-and-eight. Lennon called for a fair catch on the punt and the Beavers took over at their own 21 with 7:11 to play. The Reedsburg ground game then kicked into high gear. On their first play from scrimmage Lennon raced 14 yards to the 35, and the Beavers picked up 15 more when the Crusaders were called for a 15-yard personal foul when they hit Lennon out of bounds. At their own 49, Reedsburg got into Crusaders territory with a three-yard run by Huber, and two plays later Lennon picked up 12 yards to the 34. Huber picked up another first down to the 23, but four plays later Lennon fumbled at the 12-yard line and Catholic Memorial's Matt Bernhardt scooped up the ball and rumbled all the way to the Reedsburg 35-yard line with 3:15 left to play. "When I put that ball on the ground, I was just thinking, 'Oh, man, I just lost the game for us,'" Lennon said. "We knew if we got the chance, we were going to capitalize on it."

 

With victory in sight, the Crusaders took over first-and-10 at the Reedsburg 35. On first down Karczewski picked up five yards to the 30, and Zanoni added five more to the 25. Karczewski then rumbled for 10 yards to the Beaver 15 with 2:27 to play, and added four yards to the 11 where Reedsburg took their first time out.

 

On the next play Karczewski was held to a one-yard gain and the Beavers stopped the clock again. On third-and-four at the nine-yard line the Beaver defense made another huge play when they stacked up Karczewski for no gain, but had to burn their final time out with 1:43 left.

 

 On fourth-and-four, Crusader coach Bill Young then made the call to go for it, instead of kicking a short field goal that would have given the Crusaders a seven-point lead.

 

Still up to the task, the Reedsburg defense and sophomore Colton Brott — who had played the entire second half for the injured Nate Brey — came up with the play of the year when they stopped Karczewski again two yards short of the first down, and the Beavers took over at their own 10-yard line with 1:33 left to play.

 

Pottinger said that "Colton did a great job. He's not as big as Nate, obviously, but he's quick and he gets to the ball. I don't think it really mattered,"Pottinger added about the Crusader decision to go for it on fourth. "You don't really expect a team to go that far. I think that was the right call on their part."

 

The Drive

 

With no time outs left and 90 yards away from victory, the Reedsburg offense then mounted a drive that will be talked about for years to come.

 

Mazur picked his way to the 19 and got out of bounds. Then with 54 seconds left Chad picked up six yards to the 25 and again stopped the clock by getting out of bounds.

 

On the next play Mazur hit Tyler Archambo with a 40-yard bomb to the Crusaders 35-yard line as Archambo recorded his first reception of the year. The coach said that "It was his first catch and we were just trying to use his speed and athleticism to make a big play when we needed one. It was just a great catch and throw by two playmakers."

 

The new-found Reedsburg passing attack rolled on as Mazur hit Chase Fearing for a 10-yard gain to the 25 with 22 seconds left.

 

Inches short of the first down, Mazur again rolled out to his left, reversed his field and picked up eight yards to the Catholic Memorial 13, where he calmly stepped out of bounds to stop the clock with 13 seconds left.

 

The Beavers were stopped for no gain on the next play, but on second-and-10 Mazur rolled out to his left and found Lennon near the goal line with a perfect pass. Matt turned around and was hit by Catholic Memorial's Mitch Schultz as he caught the ball, but Lennon reached across the goal line for the touchdown on one of the most incredible drives in recent memory.  "We practice it every day," Mazur said of Reedsburg's 2-minute drill. "We've used it maybe once or twice this whole season, but I didn't think it was going to come down to the semifinal game."

 

In Pottinger's mind, his team's final drive came down to instinct.

 

"I didn't say anything," he said. "It was just get into our hurry-up offense and do what we can, run the plays as fast as we can. I think the biggest decision was what snap count we were going to go on."

 

Mazur finished with 108 yards passing and Lennon rushed for 128 yards.

 

"You see what happens when the kids believe in what they're doing," Pottinger said after his team improved to 10-4. "They just keep executing and don't ever quit." Lennon added "I'm dead. Coach just said all that matters is who believes in us — and that last play all I was thinking was I gotta get in and we're going to Camp Randall."

 

The win sends the Beavers back to Camp Randall where they will play for the Div. 3 state championship for the second year in a row, taking on the West De Pere Phantoms, who beat Reedsburg's opponent last year — and defending state champion — Waupaca 17-7 Saturday at Kimberly.

 

Cath. Memorial  3 10 0  0 - 13

 

Reedsburg          3  0  0 13 - 16

 

1st, 5:23 WCM - Peake 39-yd FG

 

1st, 1:33 R - Hayes 22-yd FG

 

2nd, 0:44 WCM - Bray 37-yd pass from Zanoni (Peake kick)

 

2nd, 0:16 WCM - Peake 32-yd FG

 

4th, 9:02 R - Lennon 16-yd pass from Mazur (kick failed)

 

4th, 0:01 R - Lennon 13-yd pass from Mazur (Hayes kick)

 

Team Stats

 

First Downs: WCM - 10, R - 17

 

Fumbles: WCM - 2 (lost 2), R - 3 (lost 3)

 

Penalties: WCM - 4 for 40, R - 5 for 19

 

Rushing

 

Catholic Memorial- 44 carries, 181 yards.

 

Reedsburg - 52 carries, 278 yards.

 

Individual Stats:

 

Passing Zanoni (WCM) 3-8 for 57 yards, INT.

 

Mazur (Reedsburg) 6-9 for 108 yards, INT.

 

Rushing Karczewski (WCM) 22 - 102 yards.

 

Lennon (Reedsburg) 18 - 128 yards.

 

Receiving:

 

Bray (WCM) 1 - 37 yards.

 

Archambo (Reedsburg) 1 - 40 yards.

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