LAKE MILLS — The Lakeside Lutheran football players were still milling about their home field, taking pictures with family and friends.
And there was Caleb Raymond holding, well, a big stick.
The Warriors senior lineman explained that about seven games ago, he found said stick and brought it to his team to more tangibly articulate one of their phrases: “Bring the wood.”
“We want to swing the big stick,” Raymond said.
On Friday, Lakeside swung a mighty big stick as the Warriors overwhelmed Edgerton in the second half for a 45-14 victory in a WIAA Division 4 state quarterfinal at Lakeside Lutheran High School.
Lakeside (11-1) will face Racine St. Catherine’s on Friday at Waukesha North for a trip to the state final on Nov. 15 at Camp Randall Stadium.
In a game pitting two red-hot teams, the Warriors raced to a 17-0 lead. The Crimson Tide had managed to run three offensive plays to that point. But Edgerton wasn’t out of the game by any means to start the second half.
With the ball and Edgerton trailing 17-7, the Tide drove to the Lakeside 34-yard line. But the Warriors forced a fumble by Edgerton quarterback Jaden Johnson which was recovered by Isac Veers at the Lakeside 30.
Seven plays later, Lakeside quarterback Jack Monis hit Veers, who shook his coverage with a nifty double move, on a 48-yard post strike for a 24-7 lead.
Edgerton didn’t fold. Skyler Gullickson returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield and the Tide marched to the Lakeside 5. But a failed fourth-and-goal pass from Johnson to Gullickson left Edgerton with nothing, again.
Lakeside needed all of five plays to get the Edgerton 1 and Monis punched the ball in for a 31-7 lead.
Two sequences, two 14-point swings.
Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said Lakeside was by far the best team they faced. Lakeside took away the running game and made the Tide one-dimensional, Gregory said, and the second big swing, when Edgerton could have cut its deficit to 24-14, was the final straw.
“Then they go 95 yards in five plays and then they were sharks that smelled blood and it was all over from there,” Gregory said.
Edgerton (10-2) lost wide receiver Mason Simmons at halftime, after he injured his shoulder on an interception at the end of the first half. That affected what Edgerton wanted to do in the run and pass game.
But Gregory also credited Lakeside for what they did defensively. Lakeside coach Paul Bauer said they watched tape from Edgerton’s win last week against Lodi.
“We were determined to just basically try to create a wall,” Bauer said. “Not penetrate. Just create a wall. Everybody stay a little disciplined.”
Lakeside held Edgerton to 203 yards of total offense and forced four fumbles, turning three of them into 17 points, including a fumble return for a touchdown by Cameron Paske.
For Edgerton, which was back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and looking at a state semifinal berth for the first time since 1990, Gregory extolled his team for the season it put together.
Gregory said in the postgame huddle the only reason he didn’t retire last spring was because he wanted to coach this group, this season.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he told his players, before spending time to talk to each and every one.
For Lakeside, the Warriors are headed to the semifinals for the first time. The foundation was built by a senior class of 19, which Bauer said is large for Lakeside.
“They just want to keep going,” Bauer said.
There are still sticks to be swung.
Edgerton 0 7 0 7 — 14
Lakeside Lutheran 7 10 21 7 — 45
LL — Ponyicsanyi 8 run (Vater kick)
LL — Buchta 2 run (Vater kick)
LL — FG Vater 30
E — Johnson 1 run (Gullickson kick)
LL — Monis 1 run (Vater kick)
LL — Paske 23 fumble return (Vater kick)
LL — Buchta 2 run (Vater kick)
LL — Veers 48 pass from Monis (Vater kick)
E — Johnson 15 run (Gullickson kick)
First downs — ED 13, LL 26. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — ED 19-107, LL 54-374. Passing yards — ED 96, LL 92. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — ED 8-23-0, LL 6-14-1. Fumbles-lost — ED 4-4, LL 0-0. Penalties-yards — ED 3-35, LL 3-15.
Rushing: ED, Johnson 11-65. LL, Ponyicsanyi 16-123.
Passing: ED, Johnson 8-23-0-93. LL, Monis 6-13-0-92.
Receiving: ED, Gullickson 6-81. LL, Veers 1-48.