Ogden, Thomsen too much for Wolverines

Aaron Chapman (6) takes a moment after the Wolverines fell at Monona Grove Friday night. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk


MONONA – Monona Grove running back Jackson Thomsen set the tone early for the Silver Eagles Friday night at home against Waterford in a WIAA Division 2 Level 2 playoff game.

On the first play, Thomsen busted through the line for a 65-yard touchdown run, igniting a 200-yard, four-touchdown performance.

Monona Grove quarterback Alec Ogden added a plethora of big plays through the air, and the top-seeded Silver Eagles jumped out to a 27-7 halftime lead en route to a 40-14 victory to remain undefeated (11-0).

It marked the second consecutive season that fourth-seeded Waterford saw its season ended by Monona Grove, the No. 4-ranked team in the state in Division 2.

The Wolverines saw their seven-game win streak snapped, but a valiant effort Friday kept Waterford in the game most of the first half.

Waterford head coach Adam Bakken said the final score didn’t indicate how close the game was.

“It’s never easy for any coach to tell their seniors their high school career is over,” he said after the game Friday night. “It’s a game they’ve been playing for 8-10 years. It’s an incredible group of kids. The leadership, with only 13 seniors, from day one, they made sure the younger guys knew what was expected of them, held them to a high standard.”

“I love this team. It’s one of my favorite teams I’ve ever coached in 18 or 19 years of coaching high school football. They did a lot of great things. We were beat by a better team. I wish we could’ve capitalized on a few more opportunities.”

Waterford (8-3), a relatively young team which began the season 1-2, reeled off seven straight wins behind its senior leadership.

“I’m hurt,” said senior Aaron Chapman, who led the Wolverines with six catches and 48 yards. “I know I’m going to miss this a lot, and it’s going to take a little bit to let it soak in and get over it.”

“There’s nothing like high school football,” added senior Danny Noll. “We’re all brothers. It was an amazing season, and I love all these guys. We’re going to miss it a lot. We had some mental mistakes, but we kept fighting.”

Joe Schauer prepares to fire a pass Friday night. Schauer made some impressive throws. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

Waterford offense starts clicking

After two Thomsen touchdown runs put the Grove up 14-0 midway through the first quarter, Waterford finally got things going offensively with a little trickery.

Late in the first quarter facing a third-and-8 at the Grove 10, Joe Schauer hit Will Ketterhagen, who flipped the ball backward to a streaking Tanner Keller on a hook-and-ladder play. From the 1, Chapman punched it in to cut the lead to 14-7.

Then, the Waterford defense clamped down and forced a punt. The Wolverines faced a fourth-and-4 inside their own territory, and despite screams of “fake” from the Grove sideline, Waterford senior Benny Michalowski took the direct snap in punt formation and darted off left tackle to put the Wolverines in business in Monona Grove territory.

The Wolverines advanced to the Grove 27, but a pass on fourth down was no good, and the Silver Eagles took over with five minutes before half.

Ogden went to work. He completed a 50-yard pass and ran for 16 yards on fourth-and-3 before diving over the defense to extend the lead to 21-7.

Then, after a nice kickoff return by Keller, Schauer hit Chapman in stride on an out pattern before scrambling into Grove territory. On third-and-3, Schauer drew the defense with a pump fake to the left, which left Matt McCormick wide open streaking down the left sideline.

But McCormick stumbled and dropped the ball, a play that could’ve gone for a score and cut the lead to one touchdown.

Instead, Waterford turned the ball over on downs again, and Odgen, who finished 17-for-25 with 249 yards, only needed three plays and 48 seconds to lead his team 60 yards.

Ogden, who is receiving interest from the University of Iowa and several Division 2 schools, calmly hopped in the pocket for about five seconds before launching a pass 50 yards toward the goal line, where Colton Moran out-jumped Chapman despite tight coverage. Thomsen scored on the next play, and the Grove was in control with a 27-7 halftime lead.

The potential 14-point swing was back-breaking for the Wolverines.

“We missed a pass down on our end, and they go down and score, and it’s 27-7,” Bakken said. “Not that it should’ve been, but it could’ve been 21-14. We had our opportunities, and we had some in the second half as well. It’s never easy ending a season with all the work you do.”

“We came back against Burlington last week, so we knew we could do it again,” Chapman said. “In the locker room at halftime, there was no doubt we could fight and get back in the game.”

Waterford players Boyd Biggs (66), Jack Trautman (3) and Zach Maydak (54) walk off the field after Friday’s game. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

Goal-line stand opens second half

After Waterford punted on its first possession, the defense stopped the Silver Eagles on four straight plays at the 2-yard line for an impressive goal-line stand.

But by the end of third quarter, Ogden again showed his brilliance.

After the Waterford defense ramped up the intensity again at the goal line to force the Grove back to the Waterford 20 and a seemingly impossible third-and-goal, Ogden fired a dart into the end zone, where a leaping Moran snagged the touchdown and increased the lead to 33-7.

Thomsen added a 60-yard touchdown run before Michalowski added the Wolverines’ final score, a five-yard run with 6 minutes left.

Monona Grove racked up 511 total yards.

Schauer finished 10-for-18 for 97 yards.

Michalowski led the Wolverines with 77 yards rushing, and Keller added 70. Dominic Miller added 48 yards on 10 carries.

Ketterhagen caught three passes for 43 yards.

Noll said the Wolverines benefitted from a strong bond this season.

“We really bonded more than in previous years,” Noll said. “We all wanted to be part of something bigger, we wanted to go far, we had goals, and we held ourselves accountable.”

“We kept fighting,” Chapman added. “The younger kids stepped up a lot this season. The seniors are a great group of kids.”