Blackhawks turn back Westby Norsemen

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Bradyn Saint stiff arms a Westby defender. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

Maddox Cejka throws a pass versus visiting Westby Friday night.

Max Amundson passes for a 2-point conversion.

Seth MacEachern returns a kickoff for Prairie du Chien.

By Colton Thompson


Friday was the first round of this year’s Division 4 football playoffs. The Westby Norsemen (0-5) traveled to Prairie du Chien to take on the Blackhawks (4-3). The Hawks were looking to jump ahead and score early by using a good dose of Bradyn Saint. They were able to do that as he scored early and often in the first half and, at the end of the night, the Hawks walked away with a 29-22 victory.

Westby won the coin toss and elected to defer and PdC chose to receive the ball to start the game. Prairie du Chien was able to put together a great first drive on big plays from Maddox Cejka to Brady Russell and two big rushes from Bradyn Saint. One being the 35-yard run to put the Hawks at the 1-yard line and the second being the 1-yard rushing TD to put the Hawks up 6-0. The Hawks ran a 2-point conversion and were able to convert it on a pass from Max Amundson to Chase Fisher to put the Hawks up 8-0. The Norsemen started with the ball at their own 24-yard line. After 2 rushes, Dillon Ellefson was able to connect with Grant McCauley for a 72-yard touchdown pass to put the Norse within 2 points. Dillon Ellefson threw a pass to Cade Fleming for the 2-point conversion and tied the game at 8-8. 

On the Blackhawks’ first drive of the second quarter, they came back out ready to score. Bradyn Saint was able to rush 4 times for a total of 21 yards and cap it all off with another touchdown. Joey Xiya hit the PAT to put the Hawks up 15-8. PdC came out ready on defense and forced a three and out. The Hawks got the ball back after a punt and started at their own 33-yard line. They were able to march down the field for 51 yards after an 18-yard rush and a 33-yard rush from Bradyn Saint. The Hawks were pushed back by a holding penalty and were unable to get anything going after they were moved back and Westby was able to force a turnover on downs. On the Hawks’ next possession they were forced to punt but it was muffed at the Westby 7-yard line and Chase Fisher recovered it at the Westby 2-yard line. After a rushing touchdown from Saint, PdC was up 21-8. Maddox Cejka completed a pass to Max Amundson for the 2-point conversion and the Hawks went up 23-8.

PdC attempted an onside kick to start the second half and was able to recover it after Brady Russell jumped on the ball at the Westby 33-yard line. PdC was stopped early after a fumble on the fourth play of the drive. Westby took over at their own 38-yard line. On Westby’s third play of the drive, Dillon Ellefson was able to connect deep again with Grant McCauley, this time for a 65-yard touchdown. Dillon Ellefson connected with Garrison Korn for the 2-point conversion to make the score 23-16. 

PdC got the ball back with 3:13 left in the third quarter. Amundson had a 14 and a 16-yard rush to move Prairie up the field quickly. Cejka connected with Russell twice for a total of 22 yards to move PdC up even further. The drive ended with a 5-yard rushing touchdown from Amundson. The PAT was no good but the Hawks were up 29-16. 

Westby’s Briggs Hellwig returned the kickoff for 48 yards to set the Norsemen up at the PdC 30-yard line. A personal foul on the kickoff moved the Norse up 15 yards to start at the 15-yard line. On the fourth play of the drive, Garrett Vatland ran the ball in for a 4-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good and the Hawks still had the lead at 29-22. 

Westby’s first drive of the fourth quarter started at their own 29-yard line with 11:28 to go. There was a holding penalty on the first play to make it first and 23. Westby was able to get the first down after three plays on big runs from Brett Jorgenson. Westby reached the 50-yard line on a keeper from Dillon Ellefson but was moved up 25 more yards on a late hit and holding penalty both on the defense. Two plays later, Aden McCluskey was able to force a fumble and Amundson was able to jump on it to make it PdC football with 7:11 to go in the game.

The Hawks were able to run 5:17 off the clock while moving up the field for 39 yards and made Westby use up the last of their timeouts. The Hawks were held on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs. Westby started at their own 40-yard line with 1:54 to go and no timeouts left. Dillon Ellefson threw an interception to Garett Young on the first play of the drive to close the ball game out for the Hawks. Maddox Cejka kneeled the ball three times to end it with a 29-22 victory for PdC.

The leading rusher for the Hawks was Saint with 24 rushes for 154 yards and 3 TDs. Amundson had 15 rushes for 46 yards and 1 TD. Leading the receivers was Brady Russell with 7 receptions for 77 yards. Amundson had 4 catches for 23 yards, and Garett Young had 1 catch for 29 yards. Christian Black led in tackles with 8, Amundson had 7 with a fumble recovery as well. Young added an interception and Aden McCluskey was able to force a fumble.

Last game of season

Prairie du Chien will be looking to win their last game of the season as they will be taking on Nekoosa who beat Viroqua in their first round playoff game. The game is on Nov. 19 at John C. Mulrooney Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.

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