WIAA D-3: Monona Grove overcomes 17-point halftime deficit to win
MADISON, Wis. -- The frustration level in the Monona Grove
locker room could have been through the roof at halftime on Friday. Three
promising drives had stalled on fourth down inside Greendale's red zone, and
now the Silver Eagles trailed by 17 points without having scored a single
Instead, the first half proved something else to the Silver
Eagles. They could move the ball effectively. All they needed to do was cash in
on their second-half opportunities.
That's exactly what happened during Monona Grove's thrilling
21-17 comeback victory against Greendale for the Division 3 state championship
at Camp Randall Stadium. Monona Grove quarterback Tyler Blang exploded for 213
of his 217 passing yards in the second half, and running back Brock Offerdahl
punched in the game-winning 1-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds remaining.
Monona Grove (14-0) won its first state title since 1984
with a familiar come-from-behind approach. Two rounds earlier in the playoffs,
Monona Grove battled back from a 17-6 deficit against Catholic Memorial to win
"These kids just don’t have a quit button," Silver
Eagles coach Mike Stassi said. "They're just going to keep playing hard,
and if you give us a crack in the door, we're going to take it. And that’s what
made this group 14-0."
The comeback was especially surprising considering the way
Greendale (13-1) began the game. Monona Grove faced a fourth-and-three from
Greendale's 5-yard line in the second quarter when Blang tried a quarterback
keeper up the middle but came up just short. Referees brought the chains out,
and the play was less than a football length shy of a first down.
On the ensuing play, Greendale quarterback Josh Ringelberg
dropped back in his own end zone and hit receiver Nate Miller over the top of
the Monona Grove defense at the 23-yard line. Miller shed two tacklers near the
40 and ran untouched the rest of the way for a 97-yard touchdown to give
Greendale a 14-0 lead with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter.
It was the longest offensive touchdown at any level in the
history of the WIAA state championship game, breaking the previous long of 93
yards in Division 6 by St. Mary's Springs in 2005.
Kicker Frankie Rutkowski added a 31-yard field goal just
before halftime to put Greendale ahead 17-0 at the half, but it proved to be
the Panthers' final points.
Monona Grove trailed 17-14 when it took possession at its
own 28-yard line with 6:07 remaining in the game. Silver Eagles running back
Toren Young gained 28 yards on four carries to push Monona Grove into Greendale
Blang then hit receiver Jackson Riley on a 29-yard pass to
push the Silver Eagles inside the Panthers' red zone. Three plays later,
Offerdahl scored the game winner.
• Running back Toren Young, Monona Grove -- Although Young
didn't score a touchdown Friday, he carried the ball 31 times for 150 yards and
helped the Silver Eagles patch together their final touchdown drive. Young went
over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and finished the year with
1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns.
• Quarterback Tyler Blang, Monona Grove -- Blang deserves
credit for responding during the second half after being held in check to begin
the game. He completed 1 of 4 passes for just four yards as Monona Grove
entered halftime trailing 17-0. In the second half, he completed 8 of 13
attempts for 213 yards with touchdown passes to Jackson Riley and Trey Powers.
• Quarterback Josh Ringelberg, Greendale -- Ringelberg
completed 18 of 23 passes for 270 yards with one touchdown and one
interception. He lofted a perfect ball to teammate Nate Miller for a 97-yard
touchdown in the second quarter and played solid until the very end.
• "We didn't make the plays we needed to. It was pretty
apparent. You leave a lot of points on the field. A game of inches I guess you
could call it. At least two touchdowns that were right in our grasp and we
didn’t put it away. When you don't make the plays that you normally make,
you're going to get beat by a good team. And they're a pretty good team."
-- Greendale coach Rob Stoltz
• "We knew we had enough time. We've scored with less
time than that. We knew we could push it down and score. We just had to get
down there quick and waste as much time as possible so they didn’t have enough
time, either. So it worked out well and we won."
-- Monona Grove
quarterback Tyler Blang
• "I'm 1-0 out here (at Camp Randall Stadium). I've got
to keep on carrying this to Wisconsin next year."
-- Monona Grove left
tackle Jaden Gault, who is a Badgers commit for the Class of 2014.
• "Our QB from my freshman year, he's at Oshkosh. He
cuts hair. I said I needed to get my hair cut. I didn’t have a mohawk yet. All
the other guys did. I had to get a fresh cut for the state game."
on his haircut, which included a shaved "G" on one side and a star on