Brodhead falls in WIAA Division 4 semifinal
If Brodhead-Juda senior Greg Lynch is too hoarse to answer questions in class Monday, it won’t be a symptom of bronchitis.
The hulking 6-4, 270-pound left tackle cut loose a blood-curdling holler as he headed to the sideline late midway through the fourth quarter of Brodhead-Juda’s 31-17 WIAA Division 4 semifinal loss to West Salem at Bob Mael Field here Saturday.
Tyler Lincoln had just coughed up his third fumble, all of which were recovered by the Panthers. The Cardinals lost four of five fumbles, plus a Jimmy Covert interception for five Brodhead turnovers.
“We thought we could get some turnovers and I thought we needed to get five stops,” West Salem coach Wayne Sackett said.
To make matters worse for the Cardinals, each fumble occurred at pivotal times.
Trailing 31-15 early in the fourth, Lincoln fumbled at West Salem’s 3-yard-line and Panther quarterback/defensive back Dan Schneider picked the out of mid-air at the one.
Salem eventually conceded a safety, but after Elias Klar returned the ensuing free kick to the Panther 40, Lincoln lost control of the ball again on a 3rd-and-1 sweep.
The one fumble the Cards didn’t lose was equally-crippling. Covert had the ball jarred loose on a 3rd-and-1 play-action pass play in the second quarter.
Covert’s only passed was intercepted.
Lincoln’s numbers through the last four contests are rivaled by few backs’ production around the state. Sackett was well aware of the threat.
“Our kids just stuck their nose in there and stayed with it,” Sackett said. “Lincoln is a kid that on any given play can take it to the house.”
Brodhead-Juda, who was knocked from last year’s playoffs on a last second-heave against Evansville, was stung by another flooring play at the end of the first half.
After Matt Gorniak’s 21-yard field goal gave Salem a 17-7 lead, the Cardinals were perhaps still enjoying their defensive stand as a squib kick was mishandled by up-man Derrick Rundle and recovered by the Panthers.
With just three seconds on the scoreboard, Schneider was flushed right and on the lefty’s desperation heave, Jacob Welch jumped over Caleb Frost in back of the end zone to take a 24-7 advantage into the half.
“The weird thing is that I didn’t even know where the defender was, all I was focusing on was the ball,” Welch said “Once I caught and came down with it the celebration began. That was the biggest thrill in the world.”
Brodhead fullback Gary McAdory got his club within nine at 24-15 late in the third, but Panther tailback Hunter Burke answered with a 55-yard run to open the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals racked up 245 yards on 50 carries to Salem’s 167 on 33. But the handful of mistakes are the reason West Salem will now play the winner of Kettle Moraine Lutheran and Somerset in Thursday’s championship game at Camp Randall.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I think we moved the ball as well as we wanted to,” Cardinals’ coach Jim Matthys said. “We just killed ourselves and shot ourselves in the foot a few to many times. Eventually it’s going to catch up with you. Luckily it didn’t hit us last week, but it did this week.”
WEST SALEM 31, BRODHEAD-JUDA 17
West Salem 7 17 0 7—31
Brodhead-Juda 7 0 8 2—17
Scoring summary: BJ—Gary McAdory, 1 run (Klar kick). WS—Welch, 8 pass from Schneider (Gorniak kick). WS—Burke, 8 run (Gorniak kick). WS—Field goal, Gorniak, 31. BJ—McAdory, 1 run (McAdory run). WS—Burke, 55 run. BJ—safety, Schneider tackled in end zone.
Statistics: First downs—WS 13, BJ 14. Rushes—WS 33-167, BJ 50-245. Yards passing—WS 176, BJ 0. Passes—WS 20-14-0, BJ 1-0-1. Fumbles—WS 0-0, BJ 5-4. Penalties—WS 4-38, BJ 3-15.