There was a lot on the line for the Viroqua High school football team, Friday, Oct. 5, as the Blackhawks hosted Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau at Blackhawk Field. The winner would not only move into sole possession of second place in the conference, but also lock up a spot in the upcoming WIAA playoffs.
The Red Hawks (2-1 Coulee and 4-3 overall) have finished as undefeated Coulee champs in 2016 and 2017 and have been regular participants in the WIAA end of season playoffs in recent years. The Blackhawks (2-1 and 5-2), meanwhile, wanted to prove they were for real this season with their five wins, thus far being the most for the program in over 20 years and having not earned a post-season playoff-birth since 1999.
The game was close early on, as both teams scored on impressive first possession drives, with G-E-T grabbing an 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, converting their point-after-touchdown try, while the Blackhawks came up short on their PAT attempt.
Viroqua’s first touchdown came after an impressive 12-play, 77-yard drive capped off by a one-yard plunge by Anthony Rappl with 1:18 left in the opening quarter.
After G-E-T built a 24-6 lead on a pair of second quarter touchdowns, the last coming with under a minute left on the halftime clock.
The Blackhawks responded quickly with a 57-yard scoring strike from quarterback Kasey Hammond to tight-end Christian Schneider as time expired. The Blackhawks PAT once again came up short, but the lead had been sliced in half and Viroqua trailed just 24-12 at intermission.
The late score raised hopes for the Blackhawks and their fans with the knowledge VHS would be receiving the second half kickoff. Those hopes would soon be dashed however, as the Blackhawks would lose the handle on a wet and slippery ball on the kickoff and G-E-T recovered at the Viroqua 28 yard-line.
Three plays later the Red Hawks scored to take control of the game grabbing a 32-12 lead. GET would add another touchdown and Bryce Burns would convert his fifth PAT run in five tries and the RedHawks had an insurmountable 40-12 lead entering the final quarter.
VHS junior running back Tyler Hannah would put the final points on the board for the Blackhawks on a one-yard run with 8:14 left in the contest. Hammond connected with Schneider on the two-point conversion, making the final score 40-20.
Snapshot of the game
Total yards: G-E-T 282, Viroqua 218
Rushing G-E-T 45-266, Viroqua 29-111
Turnovers: G-E-T 1, Viroqua 2
First downs: G-E-T 15 (14 rushing 1 passing), Viroqua 14 (8 rushing, 4 passing, 2 penalty)
Passing: G-E-T Schmidt 2-4-16-1 TD, Viroqua Hammond 7-17-107, 1 TD, 1 int.
Individual rushing: G-E-T Burns 16-138-2TDs, Viroqua Hannah 23-112-1 TD.
Individual receiving: G-E-T Thompson 1-22, 1 TD, Viroqua Schneider 2-71, 2 TDs