Written by Steve Ostermann
Wednesday, 03 November 2010 19:34
Top-seeded foe strikes quickly in handing CG-B early exit from playoffs
There was no shortage of fight in the Cedar Grove-Belgium football team this season.
However, a shortage of execution against a formidable opponent gave the Rockets an early exit in the WIAA Division 5 playoffs last week.
After falling behind, 14-0, in the first two minutes, Cedar Grove-Belgium regrouped but couldn’t catch host Brillion in a 30-0, first-round loss on Oct. 26.
“We lost the coin toss, and it went downhill from there,” Rockets coach Chris Zablocki said.
“We gave up two early touchdowns and had to play catch-up the rest of the way.”
Brillion (10-0) showed why it received a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and a No. 2 state ranking by unleashing a pair of quick-strike scores.
The Lions got a 52-yard touchdown run from Justin Zeamer on their first play from scrimmage to take a 6-0 lead.
After forcing the Rockets to punt on their first possession, Brillion doubled the margin when James Van Thiel fielded the kick and raced 43 yards for a score. Will Jensen’s two-point conversion run made it 14-0.
“We were in a hole right away, which isn’t the way we wanted to start,” said Zablocki, whose team finished the season 6-4.
“Our kids kept playing hard and settled down after that, but it was tough to move the ball against Brillion’s defense.”
Cedar Grove-Belgium kept the Lions off the scoreboard the rest of the first half but saw its comeback hopes slowly fade after that.
In the third period, Brillion scored a safety when Van Thiel, a senior linebacker, tackled a runner in the end zone. Tanner Behnke’s 36-yard touchdown run helped make it 23-0.
A 1-yard touchdown burst by Jensen in the fourth quarter capped the scoring.
The Rockets’ best scoring chance ended with a turnover deep in Brillion territory.
Cedar Grove-Belgium managed just 123 yards in total offense against an active, hard-hitting defense, including 100 yards on the ground.
Andre Giles led the Rockets’ rushing attack with 65 yards on 15 carries, and Andrew Brisley had 61 yards on 10 attempts.
“You have to give Brillion a lot of credit,” Zablocki said. “Their defense was very solid.
“They have a senior-heavy team, and their seniors really stepped up in a big game for them.”
The Lions finished the night with 271 offensive yards, 261 of which came on the ground. Behnke led the way with 131 yards on 20 rushes, and Zeamer had 54 yards on just three carries.
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s loss was a departure from deep postseason runs it made the last two years, including advancing to a Division 5 state title game in 2008 and reaching the quarterfinals last year.
However, Zablocki praised the play of this year’s team, which qualified for the playoffs by overcoming injuries and the loss of more than a dozen of last season’s starters to graduation.
“This team faced a lot of adversity but stuck together and had another solid season,” he said. “It was not a down year for us. We lost a lot of starters, and some of our other players got hurt, but everyone kept fighting hard.
“I’m really proud of this team.”
On the way to the playoffs, the Rockets finished third in the Central Lakeshore Conference with a 5-2 record after winning titles the two previous seasons.
WIAA Division 5 Playoffs
Brillion 30, Cedar Grove-Belgium 0
First downs 8 13
Rushes-yards 37-100 43-261
Passing yards 23 10
Total yards 123 271
Passing 4-7-1 2-30
Fumbles-lost 4-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 5-35 5-40
CG-Belgium 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brillion 14 0 9 7 - 30
Brillion - Justin Zeamer, 52-yard run (kick failed).
Brillion - James Van Thiel, 43, punt return (Will Jensen run).
Brillion - Safety, Van Thiel tackled runner in end zone.
Brillion - Tanner Behnke, 36, run (Matt Van Druten kick).
Brillion - Jensen, 1, run (Van Druten kick).