Bangor vs. Independence/Gilmanton

Bangor’s Carter Hortsman finds his way into open field during the first quarter of Friday’s 60-6 win over Independence/Gilmanton. Second-seeded Bangor plays at top-seeded Edgar in a WIAA Division 7 state quarterfinal on Friday.

Rory O’Driscoll, La Crosse Tribune

Bangor High School football coach Rick Muellenberg didn’t get much sleep on Friday night.

Rick Muellenberg


There were too many reasons to be excited about what the Cardinals had done and the opportunity that now — officially — awaited.

So Muellenberg met with his coaches — and all of their families — to discuss what went well in Friday night’s 60-6 WIAA Division 7 second-round playoff victory over Independence/Gilmanton.

They discussed the 370 rushing yards, the 30-point first quarter, the 30-point second quarter and more.

“We didn’t have any turnovers and only had two penalties,” Muellenberg said. “So that was good.”

They also certainly touched on the quarterfinal game that will be played next Friday in Edgar, Wis. Bangor (11-0) meets Edgar (11-0) in a rematch of last season’s Division 7 semifinals and a game that people all over the state have anticipated since the Wildcats eliminated the Cardinals from the playoffs almost a year ago.

Muellenberg watched film of the win over Independence/Gilmanton when he got home late Friday night and again from another viewpoint early Saturday morning.

Then he started diving into Edgar and its 35-0 second-round win over Pittsville and its 35-0 first-round win over Athens.

Muellenberg slept for roughly 3 hours while celebrating the team’s 37th win in 38 games and getting ready to play the only team that beat his during that stretch.

“I did get to go bow hunting for about 90 minutes,” Muellenberg said. “That’s how I broke up some of the time.”

It’s hard to see how the Cardinals don’t have a chance to beat the defending state champions. The Cardinals have excelled offensively by averaging 54.7 points per game and defensively by yielding 3.4.

But they know they are lining up with another dominant team on its home field when they hit the road on Friday. The Wildcats aren’t scoring as much — they average 37.3 ppg — but they are playing even better defense and have allowed a whopping two touchdowns all season.

The coaching staff didn’t get together on Saturday but will sit down as a group with its players today and start the planning process. Assistant coach Kevin Kravik has likely already started that while traveling with his wife Roxanne to visit their son Kellen on parents weekend at Illinois State University.

“He’ll be working on that trip,” Muellenberg said. “Roxanne will drive.”