MARKESAN — Right before kickoff, Markesan senior lineman Tanner Webber told fellow lineman Bryce Friday, “Let’s play the game of our lives.”
One quarter into Friday night’s state quarterfinal game vs. Mineral Point, it was clear the Hornets were doing just that. Markesan tallied 24 points in the opening 12 minutes and cruised into the state semifinals for the first time in school history with a 47-26 victory over the Pointers.
“We’ve just got great kids,” Markesan head coach Travis Winkers said. “We really do and when you accomplish special stuff, you get emotional. It’s OK to show your emotions when it’s heartfelt.”
Markesan quarterback Carson Clark ended an eight-play drive on the opening series with a 1-yard keeper for a touchdown less than 2 minutes into the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Hornets recovered a fumble on the Pointers’ 18 yard-line. Mineral Point limited the damage by forcing a 20-yard Bryce Plagenz field goal with 8:14 left in the first.
The Hornets stopped Mineral Point on its own 8-yard line after the kick, and Friday sacked Pointers quarterback Isaac Lindsey on the next play at the Pointers 1-yard line. One snap later, a swarm of Hornets met running back Riley Workman in the end zone for a safety to go up 12-0 with 7:25 left in the first quarter.
After a rare empty drive, Markesan took the ball back when Ty Plagenz recovered a Workman fumble at the Pointers 48.
The Hornets capitalized with Peter Paddock’s 1-yard touchdown to go up 18-0 with 3:56 left. After Mineral Point turned the ball over on downs, Paddock scored again on a 4-yard touchdown run for a 24-0 lead with 1 second left in the quarter.
“That was huge,” Bryce Plagenz said. “That just showed how dominant we are. Our defense (doesn’t) let up.”
Mineral Point answered in the second quarter with 12 points, coming on a 7-yard touchdown run by Lindsey and a 4-yard pass from Lindsey to Mason Dailey for a 4-yard pass that cut the deficit to 24-12.
Bryce Plagenz took responsibility for both of those touchdowns.
“Those two touchdowns, those are on me, but our team had my back,” he said. “My offense had my back and they came back.
“I didn’t contain the outside and the QB had enough time to throw.”
He made up for it with an interception of Lindsey that led to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Drew Bernhagen and a 32-12 lead with 1:19 left in the first half.
Markesan added some cushion with two second-half touchdowns — a 4-yard run by Clark and a 42-yard pass from Clark to Zac Triggs less than a minute into the fourth.
The Hornets advance to face Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, which defeated Racine Lutheran 28-0 Friday night. The Ledgers defeated Markesan 35-0 in the season opener.
“There’s only been two teams that held us under 400 yards this year,” Winkers said. “Springs was one of them and we were down a lot of dudes — we were still learning who we are — and Pardeeville when we had five turnovers.
“We like our chances. Springs is really, really good, but we’re going to give them one hell of a battle.”
MARKESAN 47, MINERAL POINT 26
Mineral Point 0 12 0 14 — 26
Markesan 24 8 7 7 — 47
M — Carson Clark 1 run (kick good), 10:06, 1st
M — Bryce Plagenz 20 field goal, 8:14, 1st
M — Riley Workman tackled in backfield by Bryce Friday for safety, 7:25, 1st
M — Peter Paddock 1 run (pass failed), 3:56, 1st
M — Peter Paddock 3 run (kick blocked), :01, 1st
MP — Isaac Lindsey 7 run (kick blocked), 8:55, 2nd
MP — Mason Dailey 4 pass from Isaac Lindsey (pass good), 4:08, 2nd
M — Drew Bernhagen 3 pass from Carson Clark (pass good), 1:19, 2nd
M — Carson Clark 4 run (kick good), 2:07, 3rd
M — Zac Triggs 42 pass from Carson Clark (pass good), 11:21, 4th
MP — Liam Stumpf 52 pass from Isaac Lindsey (kick good), 9:47, 4th
MP — Riley Workman 35 run (kick good), 5:39, 4th
First downs — MP 9, M 16. Rushes-Yards — MP 30-144, M 38-141. Passing (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — MP 10-29-1, M 15-25. Passing yards — MP 151, M 314. Fumbles-Lost — MP 3-3, M 1-1. Penalties-Yards — MP 3-17, M 9-85.
Rushing: MP — Isaac Lindsey 20-107. M — Peter Paddock 12-50, Carson Clark 11-41. Passing (Comp.-Att.-TD-INT, Yds): MP — Isaac Lindsey 10-29-2-1, 151. M — Carson Clark 15-25-2-1, 314. Receiving: MP — Brandon Dolphin 3-36 21 1-59. M — Drew Bernhagen 8-188, Max Stellmacher 1-21, Zac Triggs 4-85.