By Brian Kalish
November 4, 2016
Amherst– After their game against Amherst on Friday night in Level 3 playoff action, Winnebago Lutheran coach John Boggs was able to list off some of the tough competition his team faced this season including Southern Door, St. Mary’s Springs, Laconia and Omro.
After falling to the Falcons by the final score of 44-27, Boggs made a stark admission.
“We haven’t played a lot of teams like that,” Boggs said. “They’re ranked number one in the state for a reason.”
The win propels Amherst to the Division 5 semifinal, where they will face off against Stanley-Boyd for a chance to make a return trip to Camp Randall in the championship. Stanley-Boyd upended Durand 31-20 to advance to Level 4.
Amherst hung a lot of big numbers on a Vikings defense that hadn’t given up more than 20 points the entire season.
Brandon Piotrowski passed for 242 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 101 yards to lead the Falcons. Amherst’s receiving duo of Marcus Glodowski and Joshua Cisewski accounted for 198 yards and four touchdowns.
Glodowski, who has emerged as a significant offensive weapon for the Falcons, capped off a six-play, 51-yard opening drive with a touchdown reception on fourth and goal at the two yard line to give Amherst an early lead.
“Our quarterback threw the ball really nicely and we got good protection for him and our receivers went up and made plays,” Glodowski said. “We practice every day going up and getting the ball. If (Brandon Piotrowski) throws it up to us, we want to go get it.”
Disaster struck the Vikings on their first play of their first offensive series when they fumbled and Amherst’s Cole Vannuys recovered to give the Falcons excellent field position at their own 32 yard line.
Again it was Glodowski making a big play, this time a 31-yard reception to set up a Chandler Benn rushing touchdown for the Falcons’ second score of the contest.
While the Falcons were able to once again get off to a fast start, Winnebago Lutheran did just enough to keep things uncomfortable on the home team’s sideline.
Vikings’ quarterback Eric Schmitz was on target for much of the night, completing 13 of 21 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown. Schmitz also hurt Amherst with his legs, rushing for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
“He was throwing the ball all over the field and he has some nice receivers,” said Amherst coach Mark Lusic.
Winnebago Lutheran was able to pull to within 10 points at 22-12 when they scored a highlight reel double pass touchdown with 5:59 to go in the first half.
“We had a few breakdowns, you know, the double pass,” Lusic said. “We knew it was coming, but it happens.”
Amherst answered on the ensuing possession as Glodowski pulled in a 19-yard touchdown strike from Piotrowski to push the lead to 29-12 going to the intermission.
Cisewski, who has been dynamic all season, put two more big scoring plays under his belt. The first was a spectacular 55-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. The second was a 41-yard scoring strike.
While the Vikings’ defense stacked up the line in an attempt to stop the run, it was the play of Amherst’s perimeter players that made the difference in the game.
The second half saw the teams trade scores, but it was ultimately the fast start by Amherst that put the Vikings in a hole from which they were unable to extract themselves.
“We made plays on the perimeter, you know Josh Cisewski, what can you say? (Piotrowski) did enough,” Lusic said. “It wasn’t always perfect… We’ll make some adjustments here and it’s Stanley-Boyd we got, so here we go again.”
Amherst and Stanley-Boyd have some recent Level 4 history. The Falcons defeated the Orioles in Level 4 in 2014 to advance to the state championship game where they ultimately fell against Lancaster. That Level 4 game was played at D.C. Everest.
The location of this year’s contest will be Merrill with game time slated for 7 p.m.