Swanson's block sets up winner
A little divine intervention never hurts.
The Lake Country Lutheran varsity football team had a little help late in the fourth quarter and ultimately held onto the football and the game Tuesday night at Kettle Moraine High School with a 14-7 win over Johnson Creek in the first round of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs.
Lake Country Lutheran had that lead with less then two minutes to play. Facing a third down and 5 yards to go, the Lightning, run-happy most of the night due in part to extreme wind, stayed on the ground with senior running back Jake Berra.
Berra gained three yards, then fumbled the ball forward. Sophomore lineman Tim Bahr pounced on the ball and gave his team an unconventional first down. From there, the Lightning ran out the clock, with Johnson Creek out of timeouts.
“It’s nice to have God on our side," said coach Greg Brazgel. "We know He’s taken care of some things for us in the past, and I was glad He showed up here again tonight. “We were fortunate to get out of here with a win tonight, finding a way to beat a very good football team.”
Lake Country Lutheran struggled with unforced penalties most of the night to the chagrin of Brazgel.
“We didn’t come ready to play tonight, and I was a little disappointed with some of the stuff we did, but we were able to show up late in the game and get the W, which is what counts,” Brazgel said.
The Lightning (9-1) trailed against the Blue Jays before Cal Swanson's blocked a punt with 8:30 to play, giving Lake Country Lutheran a short field. Seven plays later on a 10-yard touchdown run from junior running back Brady Andersen, the Lightning had the lead, and senior quarterback Garrett Stocke ran in the 2-point conversion for good measure.
Calvin Cicona scored earlier in the game, and the extra-point attempt was no good.
Johnson Creek (7-3 overall) scored first, chewing up most of the clock in the first quarter and parts of the second on an 18-play, 65-yard drive punctuated by a touchdown run from junior Ruger Roehl.
The ball wasn’t in the air much at all.
“The wind was certainly a factor, but we didn’t let it bother us in terms of play calling,” said LCL offensive coordinator Erik Malm. “We’ve been running the ball effectively this season. We thought we could pass if we had to, but we’ve been successful on the ground with an unbalanced line and another dose of running by committee. I thought they did a good job keying on Garrett, so other guys stepped up.”
Once again, the Lightning enjoyed calling the artificial turf field at Kettle Moraine home.
“Yeah we love playing here ... maybe the good people at Lake Country Lutheran can get together and get us a field like this of our own some day," Brazgel said with a laugh.
Top defensive players for the Lightning, who play in the second round against defending state champion St. Mary's Springs on Saturday, were Stocke, senior Matt Brueser, senior lineman Dave Moore, senior Steve Styza and senior linebacker Berra.
“We’ve got to clean stuff up if we’re going to be successful on Saturday," Malm said. "Everyone knows that."
Lake Country Lutheran will host St. Mary's Springs at Kettle Moraine at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will be available at the gate.
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