Friday’s high school football game at Beryl Newman Stadium in Baraboo went to script.
The winless Thunderbirds, who entered the night scoring 11.3 points per game, played host to unbeaten Waunakee, the state’s highest-scoring team at 54.0 points per game coming in. Waunakee looked like one of the best teams in the state on Friday, handing Baraboo a 62-0 Badger North Conference loss.
“They’re really good, and you could tell that they were running through their list of things they want to accomplish in a game,” Baraboo coach Steve Turkington said of the Warriors, ranked third among large school teams by the Associated Press. “I don’t think they look at what we’re doing; they’re just working on things throughout the game. That’s the sign of a really good team. ... Our kids were trying to compete as hard as they could.”
The T-Birds (0-8, 0-6 Badger North) didn’t let the disparity get to them early on, coming out and holding the Warriors (8-0, 6-0) to a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession.
“They were dancing in the hole and we stopped them on three plays,” Turkington said. “After that, they just went straight ahead.”
Baraboo’s first offensive possession turned sour quickly, as quarterback Brock Turkington didn’t handle the opening snap cleanly and Waunakee took over at the Baraboo 38-yard line. The Warriors made the T-Birds pay for the miscue when Javian Dayne scored on a 19-yard run with 9 minutes, 51 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Baraboo’s second possession, led by quarterback Graham Langkamp, ended with a loss of yards on third-and-1. After a T-Birds punt, Waunakee marched 71 yards, capping the possession with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Nate Carter to Riley Zuhde. The extra point was mishandled, leaving Waunakee with a 13-0 lead.
The Warriors added on early in the second quarter, as Dayne took it in from 34 yards out to give Waunakee a 20-0 advantage.
The T-Birds fumbled on their ensuing possession and the Warriors were right back in business, taking over at the Baraboo 22. Waunakee struck on the next play, as Carter connected with Luke Laufenberg for a touchdown pass that gave the Warriors a 27-0 lead with 10:10 to go in the first half.
Waunakee’s next possession also took one play, a 55-yard touchdown run from Dayne. The Warriors faked the extra point and Kamden Olsen connected with Kyle Pahnke to give Waunakee a 35-0 lead.
Baraboo’s ensuing possession lasted one play in a different way, as Langkamp’s pass was intercepted by Logan Kvalo at the 28-yard line. L.O. Johnson's lone touchdown of the night came on a 2-yard touchdown run that gave the Warriors a 41-0 lead with 6:03 to go in the half.
The T-Birds picked up their first first down of the night on the next possession, reaching their own 41-yard line before they were forced to punt.
Dayne added his fourth and final touchdown of the night with a 30-yard run with 53 seconds left in the half. The Warriors also ended the half at Baraboo’s 5-yard line after the T-Birds fumbled a handoff deep in their own territory. However, the Baraboo defense held and Waunakee took a 48-0 lead into halftime.
The second half was played with a running clock, as Waunakee led by more than 35 points — the fourth straight game the Warriors have played the entire second half with a running clock. Waunakee, which got second-half touchdown runs from Olsen and Will Ross, has outscored opponents 440-48 this season.
The Warriors also recorded their third shutout of the year, while the T-Birds were shut out for the third time in their last four games.
“They’re just trying to keep their kids engaged, because they’ve had running clock on all season,” Turkington said. “I’m proud of our guys for continuing to fight; they haven’t quit in any of our games. For the most part, they just play hard and they care. There’s something to be said for that. Regardless of the outcome, our guys are guys that just don’t give up. You’ve got to be proud of them for that.”
Waunakee dominated on the ground, finishing with 331 rushing yards on 42 attempts. Dayne led the way with 13 carries for 185 yards and four touchdowns. Baraboo finished with just 47 total yards, led by Evan Vodak's 25 rushing yards.
Waunakee wrapped up at least a share of the Badger North Conference title, needing a win over Beaver Dam (4-4, 4-2) next week to secure the title outright. Mount Horeb (7-1, 5-1) is the only team in striking distance after recording a 35-28 home win over DeForest (5-3) on Friday.
Baraboo will wrap up the season by hosting Reedsburg (2-6, 2-4) on Friday. The Beavers are coming off a 3-0 overtime win over Portage (2-6, 2-4) on Friday.
The T-Birds have lost five straight games to Reedsburg and have been shut out in the last three, including a 21-0 home loss to the Beavers last season. Baraboo’s last victory in the series came in a 40-34 win at Reedsburg on Sept. 9, 2011. The T-Birds are looking to avoid their first winless season since they went 0-9 in 2009.
“It’ll be similar to the Sauk (Prairie) game I think,” Turkington said, referring to Baraboo’s 30-14 loss at Sauk Prairie on Sept. 29. “It’s two similar teams with the same kind of level of talent and ability that are struggling going toe-to-toe and slugging it out. It’ll probably be a low-scoring game. Whoever makes the least amount of errors is going to win the game. Similar to Sauk, where we made the most errors and lost.
“So we’ve got to take care of the ball, line up correctly, do all those things and I think we’ll be in decent shape.”