Richland Center defeats Prairie gridders

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The Blackhawks’ Max Schneider (64) tries to get to the Hornets’ quarterback.

Prairie’s Ty Wagner (21) pressures the Richland Center quarterback. (Photos by Erik Olson, Richland Observer)

By Colton Thompson


The Prairie du Chien Blackhawks (5-5) traveled to Richland Center to take on the Hornets (7-3) for level one of the Division 5 football playoffs. Their previous meeting earlier this season for conference play ended in a 13-7 Hornets win but this matchup was filled with a lot more scoring. The two teams battled back and forth until Richland Center pulled away in the second half and won 31-23.

The Blackhawks elected to receive on the coin flip to start the game and started on their own 26 yard line. Maddox Cejka got the offense going quickly as on the second play he found Max Amundson for 12 yards and a new set of downs. Ty Wagner then ran the ball for 12 yards and another Prairie du Chien first down. Then, the Hawks were faced with a third and fifteen after losing five yards on the next two plays. Maddox Cejka found Amundson again this time for 53 yards and a touchdown as Prairie jumped out and grabbed an early lead. Joey Xiya made the PAT and they were up 7-0. 

Richland Center started their first drive of the game at their own 22 yard line after a 17 yard return from Dyshaun Lee. Konner Ellenson ran the ball on the first three plays for a total of 16 yards. A few plays later Ellenson then ran again this time for 26 yards and moved the Hornets down to the Hawks 16 yard line. Ellenson ran it again and this time found his way into the endzone for a touchdown to bring them within 1. Bryce Hillers made the PAT and the score was now tied 7-7.

Prairie began their next drive at their own 35 yard line after a 13 yard return from Owen Oldenburg. Ty Wagner ran the ball twice for a total of 9 yards and then Kurt Wall, on third and one, got the extra yard needed for the first down. The Hawks were faced with a third and five when a snap went over Maddox Cejka’s head and was recovered by Bryce Hillers at the Hawks 19 yard line where Richland Center would take over on offense. 

The Hornets were moved up to the 9 yard line after a defensive pass interference call on the first play of the drive. Konner Ellenson was able to scramble into the endzone for a touchdown on the third play of the drive to put the Hornets up for the first time in the game. Bryce Hillers hit the PAT again and Center was now up 14-7. 

The Blackhawks got the ball at their own 35 yard line after Bryce Hillers kicked it out of bounds. On the first two plays Rhett Koenig ran twice gaining 8 yards and Maddox Cejka was able to scramble and get 3 more yards and a new set of downs. The Hawks got moved downfield 15 more yards after a personal foul was called against Center and they now had a first and ten at the Hornets’ 39 yard line. Ty Wagner was then able to rush for 7 yards and right after him was Rhett Koenig who got them 14 yards on two carries. The Hawks worked their way down to the one yard line where it was third and one. Ty Wagner punched it into the endzone for a touchdown and they were back within one. Joey Xiya hit the PAT and the game was now tied 14-14.

With 11:20 to play in the second quarter, the Hornets had the ball at their own 25 yard line. Konner Ellenson started their drive with a ten yard run to move them up to the 35 yard line. A personal foul on Prairie moved the Hornets up another 15 yards and into Blackhawk territory. Bryce Hillers ran the ball on back to back play for a total of 15 yards and a new set of downs for Center. The Hornets were then faced with a third and sixteen when Konner Ellenson found Sam Bosworth for 15 yards to make it a manageable fourth and one. The Hawks jumped offsides and it was then first and ten. The Hawks were able to hold the Hornets to a fourth and four and Bryce Hillers made a 21 yard field goal. The Hornets now led 17-14.

The Blackhawks regained possession with 3:41 to play in the first half looking to score before halftime. They were able to get two first downs, one on a rush from Ty Wagner and another on a completion from Maddox Cejka to Max Amundson. PDC was faced with a fourth and three at the Richland Center 15 yard line and brought the field goal unit out. Joey Xiya hit the PAT and the game was tied at 17-17. 

Prairie’s first possession of the second half started at their own 24 yard line with 8:47 to play in the third quarter. Rhett Koenig was able to rush for 12 yards and a first down within the first two plays. Then, Maddox Cejka connected with Trent Mallat for a 64 yard touchdown to regain the lead. Joey Xiya missed the PAT and the Hawks now led 23-17. 

Richland Center returned the kickoff for 17 yards to put them at their own 34 yard line for their next possession. Ellenson found Sam Bosworth on the first play of the drive for 14 yards. The Hawks were then called for a pass interference that moved the Hornets into Blackhawk territory. One play later, the Hawks were called for another pass interference and the Hornets now had first and ten at Prairie’s 19 yard line. Ellenson found Bosworth again and this time for a 16 yard touchdown to tie the game. Zach Hillers came on to kick the PAT and it was good to put the Hornets up 24-0. 

Richland Center regained possession with 2:20 to play in the third quarter at the PDC 10 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Ellenson found Bosworth again and this time for 9 yard making him one yard short of the touchdown. Ellenson was able to run it in for a touchdown and the Hornets now led by seven. Zach Hillers hit the PAT again and the score was now 31-23. The Hawks were unable to score and tie the game as the night ended with a Blackhawk loss 31-23.

The leading rusher on the night was Ty Wagner with 15 rushes for 66 yards and 1 TD, Rhett Koenig has 16 rushes for 45 yards as well. Maddox Cejka was 9-18 with 170 yards, 1 INT, and 2 TD. The leading receiver was Max Amundson with 6 catches for 87 yards and 1 TD, Trent Mallat had 2 receptions for 76 yards and 1 TD, and Seth MacEachern had 1 catch for 7 yards. Leading the defense was Max Amundson 10 tackles and .5 TFL, Luke Kramer had 9 tackles and .5 TFL, and Ryan Wall had 8 tackles with 1 sack and 2 TFL.

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