MIDDLETON, Wis. — It was a difficult sequence for the Bangor High School football team to handle, and one that made Black Hawk a WIAA Division 7 state finalist for a second straight season.
Senior Kyle Lovelace put together two game-changing plays — an interception in his own end zone and a 78-yard touchdown run — moments apart to give the Warriors a 24-6 semifinal win over the Cardinals in Middleton, Wis., on Friday in the Division 7 state semifinal at Middleton High School.
“It did and it didn’t,” Bangor senior Brendan Burke said when asked if that sequence deflated Bangor as it tried to qualify for a second consecutive championship game. “They scored, but we were getting the ball back, and that’s good for us.
“We just didn’t do what we had to do.”
The Cardinals (11-2) had a two-point deficit pushed to 10 when the Warriors (12-0) opened the third quarter with a 67-yard touchdown drive.
Colby Argall carried eight times for 48 yards and finished it by scoring from the 2. He also carried on the conversion that produced the 16-6 lead.
Bangor, which beat Black Hawk 37-14 in last year’s championship game at Camp Randall Stadium, responded with a lot of Carter Horstman and made good on three fourth downs while driving to the Black Hawk 14-yard line.
Horstman rushed for a team-high 98 yards, but Black Hawk kept him out of the end zone after he scored six touchdowns in last week’s 48-6 quarterfinal win over Highland.
Quarterback Trevor Jones dropped back to pass on first down from the 14 and looked for Zane Langrehr behind two defenders in the end zone.
Lovelace jumped up and brought the ball down on what became the second-to-last play of the third quarter.
“We felt good about it and took a chance,” Bangor coach Kevin Kravik said. “(Langrehr) was open early, but we couldn’t get him the ball, and (Lovelace) made the play on it.”
The turnover was compounded by Lovelace breaking free for the 78-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Argall passed the ball to Brandon Schiferl in the back of the end zone for the 24-6 lead.
Jones completed his first three passes of the game, and those plays resulted in 58 yards and a touchdown. Black Hawk intercepted two of his passes in the second half.
Black Hawk followed its stop on Bangor’s first possession with an 82-yard touchdown drive that lasted 13 plays. The Warriors faced just two third downs, and Argall scored from the 5 to get the touchdown. Lovelace kept the ball on the two-point conversion.
The Warriors beat the Cardinals up with a pitch to the right side throughout the first half.
Lovelace executed that play through Argall three times for 38 yards. The first gave the Warriors their first first down and momentum on the opening touchdown drive.
“They were very physical,” Burke said of the Warriors. “They played a more physical game than we did.”
The Cardinals pulled to within 8-6 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Jaden Fargen on the next possession. A penalty moved the ball back on what was going to be an attempt to tie the game, but Bangor shifted to an extra-point kick that was short.