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‘Cats overcome Abby challenge

‘Cats overcome Abby challenge ‘Cats overcome Abby challenge

Wildcats are peaking for the playoffs

By Ross Pattermann

There may not be another football team in the state that has had as hard a schedule as Edgar.

Certainly, there’s no other team that has played as many ranked opponents as the Wildcats in central Wisconsin.

The ‘Cats have had tilts against Stratford, Hurley, Colby and now Abbotsford, with all four teams currently or formerly ranked.

So there’s no surprise that the ‘Cats have taken some lumps, taken some losses and have had to learn some lessons. But three losses isn’t something the ‘Cats concern themselves with. After all, a three loss Edgar squad still hoisted the gold ball in Camp Randall in 2016, and that season is firmly on the minds of this year’s team.

“It’s certainly talked about,” senior lineman Waylon Wirkus said. “It lets us know to push harder and reminds us that even with a few losses, that goal is still right there. It gives us that extra little boost, extra motivation to get there.”

And if there’s one thing you can say about this team, it’s that they’re battle tested, and ready for any challenge. So when the Abbotsford Falcons busted off big plays on Friday night, the Wildcats just shrugged and went about their business in the 30-16 road win.

“We knew we were going to have to play them tough in the trenches,” junior lineman Brady Stencil said. “They have a really big offensive line, and it was a hard fought game, and we managed to pull it out.”

Both teams traded big plays and big stops through the night, but it was Edgar’s explosive play potential that tipped the scales in their favor, and they would need that as the Falcons went toe to toe with Edgar in the first half.

In fact, that’s when all the scoring took place, as the Falcons and Wildcats combined for 46 points in the first half, and then both went scoreless in the second.

The ‘Cats got rolling first, setting up their first score after QB Mattison Butt rolled out of the pocket to find Ashton Schuett on a deep pass inside Abby’s 10 yard line. That play set up a five yard Ayden Weisenberg score.

A two point conversion from Butt to Everet Brehm made it 8-0, but the lead was short-lived. Abby’s Evan Schunk broke free of Edgar on fourth and one to score from 38-yards out and the Falcons tied things up at 8-8 early in the first.

Edgar went back to the air for the second score of the night. Butt stood tall in the pocket even as Abby linebacker Mason Wellman bore in on him. Butt delivered a beautifully placed ball that sailed over Abby safeties and into the waiting hands of Schuett, who ran the last ten yards into the endzone for a 25 yard TD.

The Falcons stopped the two point conversion, and went on the attack. The home team battered their way forward with their massive offensive line that averages over six feet and over 250 pounds.

Ty Faltiesek scored from one yard out, and Falteisek ran in the two point conversion to go up 16-14 early in the second quarter. Edgar refused to wilt, and went back to work.

“Coaches just said keep playing hard, and we did that,” Stencil said. “We stayed low, our linebackers saw everything, and they made their plays.”

Brehm supplied the next big play, taking the hand-off and bursting down the sideline, leaving Falcons choking in his dust as he scored from 52 yards out, giving the ‘Cats the lead for good.

Edgar stopped Abby on a fourth down, and then converted on a fourth down that set up a 11-yard Karter Butt rushing TD with two minutes left in the half to gave Edgar a 30-16 lead going into the break.

Abby’s opening drive in the third quarter went down to the Edgar five yard line, but the ‘Cats forced a turnover on downs, and from there Edgar made first downs, bled clock, and picked up another convincing and confidence building win.

Butt had a strong day under center, finishing five of eight with 100 yards and a touchdown. Karter Butt and Everet Brehm added 70 and 56 rushing yards and one score apiece. Jordan Bunkelman and Ayden Weisenberger led the way on defense with 13 and 11 tackles. Peyton Dahlke recovered a fumble.

Edgar is still searching for an opponent this Friday, but if not, they’ll be ready for the playoffs. The game with Abby on Friday proved it, and Edgar knows they’re on the right path.

“We’re getting there. There’s definitely room for improvement,” Wirkus said. “But games like this are a good test, and we know where we want to go.”

IF I CAN’T GO AROUND, I’LL JUST GO OVER- Ayden Weisenberger goes airborne as he leaps over Abbotsford’s Evan Schunk for a first down in the ‘Cats 30-16 road victory over the Abbotsford Falcons.STAFF PHOTO/ROSS PATTERMANN