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Mason Keyes tosses 4 TDs, DeForest's passing game goes deep against Stoughton
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Mason Keyes tosses 4 TDs, DeForest's passing game goes deep against Stoughton

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DEFOREST — DeForest junior quarterback Mason Keyes didn’t begin Friday night’s game against Stoughton thinking about the deep ball.

“We were going to try to checkdown all game, but the deep passes were open,” Keyes said. “So, we were going to hit them.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Keyes threw four touchdown passes — two apiece to senior receivers Deven Magli and Max Weisbrod — and ran for another score in host DeForest’s 40-14 victory in a non-conference football game between two state-ranked teams.

Keyes, who had 202 first-half passing yards as the Norskies (2-0) opened a 27-14 halftime lead, finished 17-for-25 for 291 yards against the Vikings (1-1).

“Unfortunately, we just got outplayed,” Stoughton coach Jason Becker said. “DeForest is extremely well-coached and they are an extremely disciplined football team. We knew defensively we needed to contain their QB and we didn’t do a great job of that. He made some great plays with his feet and, obviously, some great plays with his arm tonight.”

Weisbrod caught seven passes for 126 yards, including touchdowns of 20 and 25 yards. North Dakota commit Magli had five receptions for 114 yards, with second-quarter touchdown catches of 40 and 47 yards that broke open the contest.

“We have talent everywhere,” said Keyes, whose father, Bud Keyes, played quarterback for the University of Wisconsin and was a Green Bay Packers’ draft choice. “Our line is great. The wide receivers are crazy good.”

Norskies junior running back Cale Drinka added 157 yards rushing on 18 carries, including an 84-yard touchdown run that allowed DeForest to overcome a 7-6 deficit and seize a 13-7 lead with 1 minute, 32 seconds left in the first quarter. It was the start of 21 consecutive points for DeForest, which took a 27-7 lead.

“I thought we ran it really, really effectively and efficiently,” DeForest coach Aaron Mack said. “At the end of the day, it’s about staying on the field, not turning the ball over and putting points on the board. However, we have to do that, we are committed to doing it.”

DeForest’s defense also rose to the challenge against Stoughton’s formidable — and beefy — offensive line, which included 6-7, 270-pound senior right tackle Barrett Nelson, a University of Wisconsin commit; 6-3, 279-pound junior left guard Gabe Rousseau, who’s orally committed to Minnesota State-Mankato; and 6-3, 260-pound junior left tackle Griffin Empey.

Keyes capped the game’s first scoring drive with a 1-yard run after completing all six of his passes on the Norskies’ first series, including four passes to Weisbrod.

A screen pass from Stoughton senior quarterback Isaac Knutson to senior running back Darrick Hill turned into a 91-yard touchdown, giving the Vikings a 7-6 lead with 5:46 left in the first quarter.

But the Norskies — led on the defensive front by seniors Luke Castillo (who had two first-half sacks), Evan Oberg and Alex Winters — responded by slowing the Vikings’ running game. Stoughton also lost Hill to a first-quarter ankle injury.

“We were a little undersized tonight, but you wouldn’t know that with the way they competed,” Mack said about the Norskies’ defense.

Hill’s injury with 4:23 left in the first quarter was a setback, considering Stoughton piled up 355 yards rushing against Oregon in last week’s opener, led by the 5-9, 185-pound Hill (271 yards on 30 carries, four touchdowns).

DeForest — after its 42-0 victory last week over Mack’s high school alma mater, Madison East — entered Friday’s game ranked ninth in the Large Schools Division in The Associated Press state poll and ranked fourth in Division 2 in the state coaches’ WisSports.net poll. Stoughton, which edged Oregon 27-21, was ranked sixth in Division 3 in the WisSports.net poll.

“I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do (at the beginning of the game),” Becker said. “We took advantage of their aggressiveness on that screen pass to get that touchdown to Darrick and certainly he started with a nice run (of 35 yards). He was doing exactly what he did last week — running hard.”

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