BY MURRAY GLEFFE
WESTON—In a winter wonderland, the West De Pere Phantoms football team defeated the Rice Lake Warriors by a final of 35-14 to advance to the title game. (Nov. 9)
Quarterback Josh Blount rushed 29 times for 203 yards and four touchdowns while Kaden Kosobucki had 79 yards.
The Phantoms rushed for 344 yards in the game and did not attempt a single pass.
Evan Frisque led the defense with 13 tackles.
Meanwhile the Warriors triple option attack was led by DeAirus Clerveaux who rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Brother Marquez Clerveaux added 67 yards on just eight carries.
Just prior to game time, a heavy band of snow and wind hit Stiehm stadium with the temperature dropping into the teens and wind chill near zero.
The Phantoms received the opening kickoff and moved right down the field despite the trying conditions. Running back Cody Cavil did much of the damage accounting for 39 yards.
The Warriors stiffened inside the red zone and on fourth on goal from the Rice Lake three, Blount was stopped just short of the goal line and West De Pere turned the ball over on downs.
The Phantoms showed right from the start of the game that their defense was going to dictate.
“We came out and hit them hard,” said Jake Karchinski. “We knew they were fast, and we got to them early.”
A quick three and out set the Phantoms up at midfield and they wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. On the second play, Blount scurried 43 yards up the middle of the field, and then finished the drive off two plays later when he went in from three yards out to give West De Pere an early 7-0 lead.
“We responded with points on our second drive,” said Jack Batten, West De Pere football coach. “We had a good stop on defense to give us an opportunity to score first.”
Midway through the second quarter, after a succession of punts, Blount struck again from 43 yards to give the Phantoms a 14-0 lead.
That score stood up till halftime with West De Pere holding the Warriors to just 89 yards at the break.
If you like points, the third quarter provided entertainment for those braving the elements up in the stands and those playing on the field.
Rice Lake received the kickoff in the second half and didn’t move the ball on their first possession.
Quarterback/punter Peyton Buckley then had the ball snapped over his head and the Phantoms recovered at the Warriors three-yard line.
It only took one play as Cavil busted up the middle to give West De Pere a 21-0 lead.
“That score to start the third looking back was huge,” said Batten. “We were fortunate to capitalize on a mistake they made.”
The Warriors running attack then was unleashed as they scored on consecutive possessions to cut into the Phantoms margin.
“We got sloppy midway through the third quarter,” said Batten. “We didn’t stay the course with our defensive assignments and those running backs made us pay.”
West De Pere answered back just before the end of the third quarter when Blount went in for his third of four touchdowns to go up 28-14.
The Phantoms added a fourth quarter touchdown to go up three scores and put the game away to advance to 13-0.
They will face (Waukesha) Catholic Memorial in the Division 3 title game Nov. 16 at 10:00 a.m.
“These fans and students were out here 45 minutes before game time getting us going,” said Batten. “It was a tremendous atmosphere and just blessed to be one of two teams standing in November.”
West De Pere 7, 7, 14, 7 35
Rice Lake 0, 0, 14, 0 14