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COMMENTARY

WIAA Division 5 state football: Jackson Flottmeyer shines on big stage as Blugolds win title

From the COLLECTION: Aquinas Blugolds: State champs in Division 5 series

MADISON — The biggest game of the Aquinas High School football team’s season began exactly the same as its first game back in August.

The snap went to quarterback Jackson Flottmeyer, who handed off to David Malin, who tossed the ball to Quinn Miskowski, who tossed it back to Flottmeyer.

Jack Christenson ran at an angle from the middle of the field toward the right sideline and found a little bit of daylight behind Mayville’s Blake Schraufnagel.

Flottmeyer dropped a throw just over the outstretched hand of Schraufnagel and into the arms of Christenson for a 37-yard gain to get the first explosion of noise from the Aquinas fan section at Camp Randall Stadium.

More than anything, the play signified that the Blugolds were going to be the Blugolds as they tried to win a WIAA Division 5 state championship.

The wind may have impacted passing performances in the first two championship games, but none of those teams had Flottmeyer. That turned out to be bad news for the Cardinals as Aquinas posted a 28-26 victory and completed a 14-0 season.

The buzz upon arrival at Camp Randall an hour before the 4 p.m. kickoff was all about wind. The ribbons attached to the top of the goalposts told the story with their constant swirling motion.

“No one can throw the ball down there,” I was told. “The wind is bad,” multiple people said.

But Flottmeyer could, and Aquinas was ready to prove that on the first play and every other chance it had against Mayville. To say the junior thrived in the spotlight would be an understatement.

“We practiced all week at Carroll Park, and the wind was just awful down by the river,” Flottmeyer said. “It was great to practice in those conditions and be ready for this. We didn’t think the wind would be that bad, but adjusting to it is a big part of why we won that game.”

He didn’t connect on every throw, of course, and he was intercepted once on a dangerous pass that was finished on a great play by Mayville’s Aaron Mittelstadt.

But Flottmeyer completed 16 of 24 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns — both to Miskowski — as the Blugolds won their first state championship since shutting out Kewaunee in 2007.

“We have the best quarterback in the state on our team,” said Miskowski, who caught three passes for 99 yards and scored on a 56-yard catch in the third quarter. “He can throw that ball whenever and however we need it thrown.”

That much was evident throughout the season, and this time it was on full display for a large crowd of people who’d never seen him play. There were several reasons for the Blugolds bringing home a title on Thursday, but it can be argued that Flottmeyer was the biggest.

“We were going into the wind, but that sucker can just spin it, right?” Aquinas coach Tom Lee said of Flottmeyer. “He is so good.

“I need a thesaurus. He’s very, very, very good.”

Back to the first play, which was one of three throws that demonstrated Flottmeyer’s level of play on the biggest of stages.

“That’s the same play we ran on the first play of our first game against Prairie du Chien,” Aquinas offensive coordinator Steve Kramer said. “I give a lot of credit to Coach Lee because he said yes when I asked if we could open with a trick play.

“(Christenson) maybe wasn’t as open as we thought he was, but Jackson made a great throw, and that was huge because it got us going.”

Christenson caught four passes for 90 yards, but the 37-yarder kick-started an opening drive that led to a touchdown.

The second big play didn’t come until the second half, and it was as important as they came because it was an immediate answer to Mayville taking a 20-16 lead with 5 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter.

It followed a 15-yard run by Calvin Hargrove on fourth-and-1 and came when the Blugolds faced a second-and-9 from its own 44-yard line. Flottmeyer dropped back into the pocket, let Miskowski beat the Mayville defense down the middle of the field and dropped a pass right on the receiver’s hands around Mayville’s 30.

Miskowski covered those 30 yards untouched to help the Blugolds stop a 20-point Mayville run and give them a 22-20 lead less than two minutes after it lost the lead for the first time.

“Jackson put it in the perfect spot,” Miskowski said. “That’s just what we expect from him. It was a nice, easy catch.”

The last play came after the Blugolds took possession following a fourth-quarter Mayville punt. Flottmeyer again looked long, this time down the left sideline. For Miskowski, of course, who was matched up with Cohen Raddemann.

Flottmeyer unleashed the pass as the receiver and defender ran, and Miskowski saw it first, turned to the inside and caught it just under Raddemann’s arms for a 36-yard gain. The adjustment was good but so was the throw, which was right where Miskowski could make the play.

“He made an amazing play on that, and I think all credit needs to go to him,” Flottmeyer said of Miskowski. “He made the play, and I just delivered the ball.”

Flottmeyer made a season out of delivering the ball, and he did it over and over again when his teammates needed it on Thursday.

It made them state champions.

Todd Sommerfeldt can be reached at todd.sommerfeldt@lee.net or via Twitter @SommerfeldtLAX

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