Goslings run over Red Hawks, become playoff eligible
Fall football weather returned Friday night.
Time for the mosquitoes to go away.
Time to run the football.
Senior running back Brian Katzenberger went over 150 yards rushing for the second time this season, toting the rock 18 times for 167 yards and a touchdown in Watertown’s 26-13 Badger South win over Milton on Friday night at Landsverk Field.
Watertown (5-1, 4-0 in conference) ran the ball 38 times for 239 yards and held Milton (2-4, 1-3) scoreless for three quarters to become playoff eligible for an eighth consecutive season.
Katzenberger made a living around the edge, inviting contact and dishing out plenty of his own like an ornery ram.
“I had so much fun,” Katzenberger said. “Our line did a phenomenal job and that was the best wide receiver blocking I’ve ever seen in Watertown. They’ve improved so much from last year, it’s outstanding. We always try to plan best for our next opponent. We just took advantage of the outside zone. It was great play calling. Great strategy throughout.”
Junior quarterback Ethan Pauly had another highly effective night in both phases. He completed 15-of-30 passes for 185 yards with one touchdown and one interception while rushing 19 times for 74 yards and two scores.
Pauly has consistently burned teams with his legs, dragging tacklers for extra yardage. He enjoyed watching Katzenberger do the same.
“He played amazing,” Pauly said of Katzenberger. “I told him, ‘You better play the best freaking game of your life here.’” He was so excited and just ran his butt off. It was a lot of fun out there.”
Watertown football coach Benji Kamrath also enjoyed seeing the ground game get untracked.
“(Brian) ran angry tonight,” Kamrath said. “I thought we did a really good job up front. Outside zone was a really fantastic play for us all night long. Their ends were really pinching hard to try and take away inside zone and trap, which allowed us to get to the edge. Our receivers blocked well down field and then Brian and Ethan both ran extremely hard and I thought somewhat angry, like they were just trying to get the extra yard time after time.”
Watertown moved the ball consistently with 424 yards of total offense, but again took a while to put up the points.
Senior kicker Paul Kujawski was 2-for-3 on extra points and missed a pair of field goal attempts, starting with a 25-yarder that sailed wide right in the first quarter.
Senior defensive back Jarek Lytle’s interception near midfield put the ball back in Pauly’s hands, but he overshot junior receiver Cade Oiler on a fourth down fake.
Missed fourth down conversions don’t bother Kamrath, who views a punt as a dirty four-letter word. Pauly hit junior receiver Daniel Denault on a corner route for a 23-yard gain on fourth-and-8 from Milton’s 41, setting up Pauly’s 3-yard TD run with 5:41 to go in the half.
“It’s amazing that my coach has the faith in me,” Pauly said. “I know I mess up a lot and I just come over to the sidelines and we just talk about it. He just tells me what I have to do differently and we come out and we execute.”
On the previous scoring drive, Pauly stayed alive in the pocket long enough to find junior receiver Kory Stas for a 16-yard gain on third-and-10 from Milton’s 42. Five plays later, Pauly ran it in over the left side from 6 yards out with 9:41 left in the second quarter to make it 7-0.
“We ran a boot left,” Pauly said. “He told me to hit the corner to get the first down. The outside end was coming down, so I had to step back, and my foot just gave out underneath me. It’s a little wet out here. I had to catch myself with the football, and I saw Kory down there. He was taller than the other DB, so I just threw it up there and let him have a jump ball.”
Katzenberger also had another strong night at linebacker. He batted down a fourth pass in the first half to kill one Milton drive and recovered a fumble at Milton’s 43 to set up Watertown’s second score.
Milton self-destructed again late in the half. Kujawski lofted a short kickoff and two Milton players collided attempting to catch it. Denault pounced on the loose ball at Milton’s 30. Katzenberger ran it all four times on the short drive and finished it off with his 3-yard score with 4:08 left in the half. Pauly’s two-point run was stopped short, leaving the score 19-0.
Katzenberger had a 60-yard run later in the half, but Pauly was intercepted on a long fourth-and-goal pass into the end zone.
Milton ran the ball well early before the Goslings adjusted. Senior quarterback Daniel Weitzel led the Red Hawks in rushing with 11 carries for 80 yards, but Milton never got closer than the 34 while he was running the offense. He finished 2-of-15 for 14 yards passing with one interception.
“Our defensive coordinator coach (Alex) Crogan, he studied film for hours and came up with our next defense for this team and it just worked throughout,” Katzenberger said. “Reading the tackles (was key).”
Kamrath also praised coach Crogan’s game plan.
“I thought our defensive plan with coach Crogan was fantastic,” Kamrath said. “We decided to get out of what we do base-wise and we just pressed everybody on the outside man and put a free safety over the top and put six in the box and for the most part did a good job with the running back. Their quarterback was able to escape sometimes. We just had some poor tackling on certain plays, but overall I thought we did a really good job.”
Weitzel left the game presumably due to injury in the second half. Junior backup Hunter Pernot converted twice on fourth-and-short runs and was effective enough through the air (5-of-13 for 124 yards) to help Milton make a game of it late.
Two passes covering 36 yards set up senior receiver Tyler Hughes’ 5-yard TD run with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter, but junior Zach Pleester blocked the extra point to leave the score at 19-6.
Watertown answered with a 65-yard scoring drive. Pauly converted on a fourth down fake with a 13-yard pass to Oiler. On the very next play, Pauly hit Stas on a slant for 35-yard touchdown. Kujawski’s kick made it 26-6 with 9:04 remaining.
“We converted some huge fourth downs,” Kamrath said. “Cade does a fantastic job of setting up his man on those routes. We had one fake called. It looks like they took it away and had a guy on the other side and we came with a different fake and he did a great job executing. Cade’s route was great. That kept the momentum for us.”
Milton cut the lead in half on Pernot’s 19-yard TD pass to senior receiver Masyn Ulrich with 5:50 remaining, and the Red Hawks got the ball back one more time but turned it over on downs on a dropped pass in the red zone with just over two minutes remaining.
“What they started doing and I thought it was good job by them — they couldn’t really get the play over the top, so they started running crossers,” Kamrath said. “They weren’t bringing pressure because we were playing man, so because we’re having guys running across the field, a ton of guys going both ways and they were getting a little gassed and they executed. Fortunately, they had a drop there late on their last possession. Our kids played really hard.”
Denault led the receivers with eight catches for 72 yards. Stas caught two passes for 67 yards. Oiler had four catches for 41 yards.
Junior linebacker Jacob Crogan and Kujawski each had 10 tackles to lead the defense. Katzenberger and sophomore linebacker Evan Pauly had nine each. Junior lineman Klayton Kopet had seven. Senior lineman Alex Nachtigall and Pleester each had six.
“There were opportunities to put the game away in the first half,” Kamrath said. “We could have been up two more scores. Instead of 19-0, we could have been up around 30. That part, we’re still working on, but there’s a ton more positives than negatives. We found a way to get that fourth conference win and be playoff eligible and stay in the lead for the conference title.”
Watertown travels to play Stoughton next Friday. The Vikings are 5-1 and 3-1 in conference after a 35-10 loss to Oregon.
Watertown 26, Milton 13
Milton 0 0 0 13 — 13
Watertown 0 19 0 7 — 26
First downs 18 19
By rush 11 12
By pass 5 7
by paenalty 1 0
Yards rushing (att-yds.) 36-176 38-239
Yards passing 138 185
Attempts 28 30
Completions 8 15
Had intercepted 1 1
Total yards 314 424
Penalties, yards 2-17 6-43
Fumbles, lost 3-2 0-0
W — Et. Pauly 6 run (Kujawski kick)
W — Et. Pauly 3 run (kick failed)
W — Katzenberger 3 run (run failed)
M — Hughes 5 run (kick blocked)
W — Stas 35 pass from Et. Pauly (Kujawski kick)
M — Ulrich 19 pass from Pernot (Hessenauer kick)