Defense carries Bradford to title
But he didn’t hesitate to
remind his defensive starters of the poignant message he delivered to them during two-a-day practices.
“I told our defense (that) ‘We’re going to go as far as (you) take us,’” Kennedy said. “People around Kenosha know I’ve said that all along.”
Now the rest of the state knows that Kenosha Bradford (14-0) is a school that produced more than Division I running backs.
Frustrating a Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln option offense for 48 minutes Friday, the Red Devils’ defense stepped up one final time, knocking down a pass on fourth-and-18 at their own 3 with two seconds left, to shut out the Red Raiders, 7-0, and win the school’s first WIAA Division 1 state championship in its first try.
One of the six players that went down with season-ending knee injuries was senior tailback Vonte Jackson, a University of Wisconsin recruit who tore the ACL in his left knee in the first half of the first game.
From that point on, it became a committee approach and a unit dedicated to defense. Six different players carried the ball at least 55 times during the season, but none more than senior John Myers. The team’s leading rusher, Myers scored the game’s only touchdown on a pitch to the left with 3 minutes, 51 seconds remaining.
Senior captain and University of Wisconsin recruit Vince Biegel finished with 10 tackles for Lincoln (12-2), which finished runner-up at state for the third time after second-place finishes in both 1980 and 2005.
-- West De Pere 39, Wisconsin Lutheran 24—West De Pere was in unfamiliar territory on Friday, trailing a game—any game—since losing in the state title tilt two years ago when Wisconsin Lutheran’s Shawntrell Garner blocked a punt and scooped up the loose ball for a score on the first play of the second quarter.
The Phantoms (14-0) restored order, however. Jay Tollefson rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns and passed for two more scores to lead West De Pere to its second straight state championship.
Adihia Bell rushed for 101 yards and two scores for Wisconsin Lutheran (11-3).