WEST?BEND - The hopes of a trips to the UNI Dome and a State Championship were dashed Friday night for the West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate Wolverines. The season came to a disappointing close Friday in a 22-12 loss to the two-time defending state champion Mustangs of Armstrong-Ringsted, ending the Wolverines' season with a record of 10-2 overall.
The quarterfinal eight-man playoff game between the two district foes was an opportunity for the Wolverines to gain a measure of revenge on the Mustangs, after they had fallen to AR by a 41-18 tally in the last week of the regular season at Armstrong.
Friday's game at West Bend turned into a defensive battle. The Wolverines took the opening kickoff at their own 15 after a touchback, and started working on the offense, but could only get to the 23 yard line before having to punt.
The Wolverine seniors hoist the quarterfinal trophy at midfield to salute their fans at the end of Friday’s quarterfinal playoff loss to Armstrong-Ringsted. From left to right are Collin Thatcher, Sean Riesenbert, Logan Streit, Mitch Bonnstetter, Matt Goeders, Anthony Bruellman, Dylan Zaugg and Kolten Goodchild, who was in the back. --Dan Voigt photo
The Mustangs would take the punt at their 27, but also went nowhere in the face of the Wolverine defense, and were forced to punt the ball back after three downs, but the Mustangs would intentionally punt out of bounds all game long to keep the ball away from the punt return threat presented by Mitch Bonnstetter.
Starting at their own 32, the Wolverines would get a first down, but would then stall out and be forced to punt, but a big tackle on the return by Logan Streit put AR on their own five-yard line to start the possession.
A quick pass would get the Mustangs moving downfield until they faced a fourth and nine with 4:00 to go in the quarter, and elected to punt. The ball sailed out of bounds again, giving the Wolverines a first down at their own 21.
A holding penalty would cuff the Wolverines, backing them up to their own 12-yard stripe, and the AR defense would force a punt with 2:11 to go in the quarter. AR got the ball at the WBM/GCB 38 yard line, and began working their way downfield as the quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
With the ball at the Wolverines' 24 yard line to start the second quarter, AR would finally break the deadlock with 10:42 to go in the half off a five-yard run by Dakota Odermann. On the conversion, the snap for the kick was muffed and kicker Brett Thackery picked up the ball and threw to Adam Bistrup in the end zone for the two-point conversion and 8-0 lead.
The Wolverines would get the kickoff after an onside kick was fumbled, but recovered by Nathan Grimm at the WBM/GCB 23 yard line.
The Wolverines couldn't get anything to work in the possession and punted, putting the Mustangs on their own five yard line once again.
The purple and gold defense gave up one yard and forced a punt that was shanked again, leaving the Wolverines at the Mustangs' 35 for excellent field position. WBM/GCB drove downfield to the eight yard line, where the AR?defense stiffened and forced the Wolverines to a fourth and 13. A pass attempt by Jesse Zinnel was incomplete, turning the ball over on downs with 4:52 to go in the half.
The Mustangs went nowhere and punted, putting WBM/GCB at their own 34, but a hold on the Mustangs forced a re-kick, and this time the Wolverines ended up at the AR 26.
The Wolverines quickly got a first down a the 15 and then stalled out. Facing fourth and 10 at the 15, an incomplete pass turned the ball over a second time on downs inside the 20.
AR took over at their own 15 yard line and started the two-minute drill to roll downfield. With :21 to go in the half, quarterback Tyler Feddersen hit Evan Hagebock with a 23 yard pass for a touchdown. Brett Thackery's kick made the score 15-0.
The Wolverines got the ball at their 25 after an onside kick and quickly flew down the field off a big pass from Zinnel to Mitch Bonnstetter. Getting a first down at the 11, Zinnel fired off a pass to Logan Streit a the goal line, but the ball was jarred loose. On the final play of the half, Zinnel was intercepted in the end zone to end the half with the Wolverines trailing 15-0.
The Mustangs got the kick to open the second half and put together a drive that would result in a touchdown with 9:29 to go in the third, only to have the run called back on a holding penalty. AR would end up turning the ball over to the Wolverines on downs with 8:07 to go at their own 23.
WBM/GCB took over and with some nice runs from Bonnstetter and Streit, worked their way downfield, finally facing a fourth and five at the five yard line with 4:40 to go in the quarter. Mitch Bonnstetter got to the Mustang's two-yard line with 4:33 to go, but the Wolverines were turned away on downs for a third time in the red zone.
Armstrong-Ringsted took over and on second down and 10 at the two, Feddersen broke loose and galloped 78 yards for a score with 4:19 to go in the quarter. Thackery's kick made the score 22-0 and the Wolverines set up for another squib kick from the Mustangs.
WBM/GCB got the ball at their 33 after Dustin Johnson fell on the loose ball, and the Wolverines started driving again. Working their way down to the AR 26, the Wolverines faced fourth and one and got the first down off a keeper by Bonnstetter with 2:20 to go in the quarter.
With a first down at the Mustangs' 24, the Wolverines kept battering away at the AR?defense and got a first and goal at the seven with 1:05 to go in the quarter. After no gain on the next play, the Wolverines finally broke the ice when Bonnstetter burst into the end zone from seven yards out with :20 to go in the quarter. The two-point run attempt by Bonnstetter was stopped just short of the goal line to make the score 22-6 at the end of the third frame.
The final stanza began with Armstrong-Ringsted facing second and eight at their own 27 yard line. The Mustangs would work to the Wolverines' 34, where they faced a fourth and one with 8:25 to go in the game. An apparent touchdown catch by Hagebock was called back on a holding penalty by the Mustangs with 6:27 to go in the game, and facing fourth and 12 at the Wolverines' 23, the Mustangs turned the ball over on downs.
WBM/GCB went to work right away, but couldn't pick up any yardage, and after a sack of Jesse Zinnel back to the 15, the Wolverines turned the ball over on downs with 4:50 to go in the game.
AR couldn't make use of the good field position, as the Wolverine defense stood tough and got the ball back on downs at their own seven yard line with 2:42 to play.
The Wolverines went to work from their own seven and got a first down at the 26 yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on AR. On first down at the 26, Jason Zinnel raced down the far sidelines and pulled in a pass from Jesse Zinnel for a 54 yard scoring strike with 2:24 to play in the game. The conversion run was stopped, making the score 22-12.
AR would get the ball and went three and out, giving the Wolverines a final chance at their own 33. WBM/GCB?would get to the AR 30 yard line, but would end up turning the ball over on downs with :22 to play and the Mustangs took a knee to end the game in the 22-12 final tally.
The Wolverines racked up 234 yards of total offense. Mitch Bonnstetter had 76 yards off 19 rushes while Logan Streti had 13 carries for 56 yards.
Defensively, the Wolverines got two sacs from Anthony Bruelleman, while Nathan Grimm and Dustin Johnson each had one sack.