WATERTOWN — Friday night’s anticipated Badger South Conference showdown featured an intriguing contrast in offensive styles: Watertown’s prolific passing attack pitted against Stoughton’s potent ground game, led by Brady Schipper.
Schipper, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, did his part — scoring two first-half rushing touchdowns and three overall. But undefeated Stoughton demonstrated it was a complete football team while thoroughly spoiling Watertown’s Homecoming game.
The Vikings, ranked eighth in Division 2 in the WisSports.net coaches’ poll, scored in a variety of ways and rolled to a 49-7 victory — after leading 42-0 at halftime.
“Our guys played well tonight,” Stoughton coach Dan Prahl said. “They were locked in. One of our goals was to have a fast start. The offense, defense and special teams were firing on all cylinders.”
Sophomore Nathan Hutcherson’s 81-yard punt return got the Vikings (7-0 overall, 5-0 Badger South) started only 2 minutes, 25 seconds into the game.
Three more touchdowns followed in the first quarter for Stoughton, the conference co-leader with Monona Grove: senior Chase Kotlowski caught a slant pass in stride from senior quarterback Jonathan Malueg and raced 60 yards for a score with 5:57 left; Schipper broke free in the middle of the line for a 27-yard touchdown run with 3:53 remaining; and senior defensive back Weston Beyler had an interception return for a score with 3:34 left.
“We were talking that on our first four touchdowns we had a touchdown by special teams, passing the ball, rushing and an interception,” Schipper said. “We had a complete team effort. We came out and balled.”
The Vikings continued the early onslaught against the Goslings (4-3, 3-2) with Malueg’s 18-yard touchdown run with 6:28 left in the second quarter. Schipper took a pitch around right end for a 14-yard touchdown and a 42-0 lead 1:53 before halftime.
“Our offensive line knew they could get after their defensive line, and Schipp is one of a kind right now,” Prahl said. “He keeps grinding. He is constantly working with our offensive linemen.”
Schipper, who praised his team’s offensive line play, said he regularly meets during game week with the Vikings’ linemen to “work on solving the box” that the opposing defense will present.
Schipper’s third score — boosting his season total to 14 rushing touchdowns — came on a 65-yard run with 11:09 left in the third quarter. That gave the Vikings a 49-0 advantage and Schipper 178 yards rushing, as he surpassed 1,000 yards for the season.
“Stoughton has an impressive team,” Watertown coach Benji Kamrath said.
“They were bigger than us up front. Their offensive line opened up creases for their running back, and (Schipper) is an outstanding running back. I have said he’s the best back in the conference. He was impressive on film, but more impressive in person.”
Stoughton intercepted Watertown senior quarterback Dylan Fagerland three times in the first half, with Beyler, Sam Wahlin and Sam McHone credited with the picks. Fagerland completed 14 passes for 167 yards in the first half. But the Goslings had trouble rushing the ball and sustaining drives.
Watertown entered the game with the state’s No. 2 passing attack, averaging 336.3 yards per game, according to WisSports.net. Fagerland ranked second in the state in passing yards with 1,992 — averaging 332 per game — and had thrown 20 touchdowns through the first six games. He finished with 201 yards passing and one touchdown, a 5-yard scoring pass to junior tight end Brian Katzenberger with 1:38 left in the third quarter. Watertown senior receiver Ryan Hayden, an Air Force recruit, wound up catching nine passes for 103 yards Friday night. Stoughton, which remained without injured senior receiver Jordan DiBenedetto, squares off with Monona Grove next week. And Schipper cannot wait.
“That’s what we wanted, man,” Schipper said. “That conference championship. Two games away. Let’s go 1-0 next week and just keep it going from there.”
Stoughton 28 14 7 0 — 49
Watertown 0 0 7 0 — 7
S —Hutcherson 81 punt return (McHone kick)
S —Kotlowski 60 pass from Malueg (McHone kick)
S —Schipper 27 run (McHone kick)
S —Beyler 23 interception (McHone kick)
S —Malueg 18 run (McHone kick)
S —Schipper 14 run (McHone kick)
S —Schipper 65 run (McHone kick)
W — Katzenberger 5 pass from Fagerland (Kujawski kick)
First downs — S 11, W 12. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — S 26-251, W 9-20. Passing yards — S 82, W 223. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — S 5-8-1, W 23-41-3. Fumbles-lost — S 0-0, W 1-1. Penalties-yards — S 10-107, W 2-15.
Rushing: S, Schipper 14-178. W, Nolasco 1-4.
Passing: S, Malueg 5-8-1-82. W, Fagerland 20-34-3-201.
Receiving: S, Kotlowski 2-63. W, Hayden 9-103.