Hepp stands tall for undefeated Monona Grove football team
WATERTOWN — Sam Hepp has a tendency to stand out.
A double-digit scorer on the basketball court, he has received attention from college recruiters after an impressive junior season.
Standing 6-foot-7, Hepp also tends to stand several inches above teammates and opponents on the football field — and he certainly stood tall Friday night.
The senior receiver had five receptions for 208 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half, as Monona Grove rolled to a 35-14 Badger South Conference victory over Watertown.
“They were there, and I just had to put my hands out,” Hepp said nonchalantly.
The victory sealed sole possession of the Badger South title for the Silver Eagles, who improved to 9-0 overall and 8-0 in league play.
“To be part of an undefeated, perfect season conference championship, it’s earned,” Monona Grove coach Brandon Beckwith said. “It’s not a right as a Monona Grove football player, it’s earned.”
Hepp had a fun first half, catching touchdown scores of 28, 48, 85 and 13 yards from senior quarterback Jordan Bishop. Hepp tied a school record with four touchdown receptions in a game.
“We have great receivers … and they want each other to score,” Bishop said. “They all want to score for each other, and tonight was Sam’s night.”
Hepp was the biggest beneficiary of Monona Grove’s pass-heavy attack. Bishop completed 10 of 16 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns against the Goslings (6-3, 5-2).
“He’s always got the advantage, you can’t deny that,” Bishop said of Hepp. “Sometimes one game, especially against better teams, you may have to play to those numbers. But I just go through my progression and find who’s open.”
The Bishop-to-Hepp connection helped Monona Grove achieve a few milestones: the undefeated conference title — their ninth in the past 10 years. It was also Beckwith’s 40th victory in his fourth year at Monona Grove.
“The scoreboard is a result of something. Wins and losses are a result of something,” Beckwith said. “We grind every day, and if it so happens if that win is on the board so be it.
“I’m lucky to be a part of a great program with great pride and tradition.”
Defense was a huge part of Monona Grove’s 35-0 halftime lead. The Silver Eagles forced four turnovers, and senior linebacker Trenton Herber had two late interceptions that set up MG’s final two touchdowns.
“The defense has done a great job this year, lot of plays, lot of turnovers,” Bishop said. “When they get turnover like that, we want to score for them because we see just how great they’re doing out there.”
Monona Grove 20 15 0 0 — 35
Watertown 0 0 0 14 — 14
MG — Hepp 28 pass from Bishop (kick failed)
MG — Reuter 26 pass from Bishop (Tomczak kick)
MG — Hepp 48 pass from Bishop (Tomczak kick)
MG — Hepp 85 pass from Bishop (Reuter pass from Jordan Bishop)
MG — Hepp 17 pass from Bishop (Tomczak kick)
WAT — Gifford 44 pass from Pauly (Kujawski kick)
WAT — Weinkaus 19 pass from Kujawski (Kujawski kick)
First downs — MG 7, WAT 9. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — MG 29-117, WAT 21-47. Passing yards — MG 288, WAT 181. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — MG 10-16-0, WAT 10-28-3. Fumbles-lost — MG 0-0, WAT 2-1. Penalties-yards — MG 7-75, WAT 4-20.
Rushing: MG, Killerlain 18-105. WAT, Sippel 6-37.
Passing: MG, Bishop 10-16-0-288. WAT, Pauly 9-27-3-162.
Receiving: MG, Hepp 5-213. WAT, Denault 2-46.