After slow start, CG-B dispatches Cambridge to keep state title hope alive
The Cedar Grove-Belgium football team advanced to the WIAA Division 5 state semifinals for the second time in four years Saturday, albeit after an inauspicious start.
On the way to a 26-13 win over host Cambridge, the Rockets lost a pooch kickoff to open the game and nearly lost another a short time later.HEAD COACH Chris Zablocki (right), his assistants and players celebrated a second-half touchdown during Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Division 5 quarterfinal win over Cambridge. Photo by Sam Arendt
They lost a fumble on their first possession, committed two penalties on their second offensive series and punted.
Yet at the end of the first quarter, Cedar Grove-Belgium only faced a 6-0 deficit. The Rockets’ defense held firm after that, and the Blue Jays failed on several scoring chances.
“It’s amazing, and that’s just the perseverance of these young men,” said Rockets coach Chris Zablocki, whose team improved to 12-0.
Those young men include defensive back Nick Peterson, a senior co-captain who said he and his teammates never gave up.
“It could have been bad, but we have some strong players on D. We never look down on our offense or individual players,” Peterson said.
“We just play every play like it’s our last.”
The Rockets rallied to take a 7-6 lead by halftime and never trailed again. Now they’re just one game from playing for a state title at Camp Randall in Madison.
In a game with an undercard of Alex vs. Alex, Cedar Grove-Belgium junior Alex Giles outrushed Cambridge senior Alex Resnick, 265 to 101 yards.
Resnick started the contest with more than 2,100 yards on the ground this season, and Giles had 1,956.
Both ran to a standoff in the first half, each accumulating about 50 yards. But the real Giles came out in the second half, when the tailback had 205 yards, including scoring runs of 63 and 45.
“They were looking to shut down our holes. I just had to run in, hit my hole fast, be patient and wait for the outside,” Giles said.
The 63-yard burst came on the Rockets’ first possession of the third quarter.
With Cedar Grove-Belgium backed up to its 6-yard line after a Cambridge punt, Giles ran five of six times on the drive. On the score, he bumped into his own lineman, made two tacklers miss and was off to the races.
Late in the third period, the Rockets got moving again, this time from their 25.
Giles caught his only pass of the game for nine yards and ran several times. On the final play of the period, quarterback T.J. Obbink completed a 28-yard pass to tight end Jon Herzog, who raced up the sideline to the Cambridge 36.
Giles then ran five times in a row, including two blasts out of the Rockets’ famous elephant formation in which offensive lineman Kyle Boehlen (280 pounds) moves to fullback and Alex May (283) replaces him on the line.
On second-and-8 from the 9, Obbink ran a bootleg with a run-pass option. With receivers covered and only blockers in front, the senior kept the ball and dived inside the left pylon for a touchdown.
The Rockets were up, 20-6, with 8:57 to play.