Mission: Madison – the road to Randall goes through back-to-back champs: the Amherst Falcons

Only four teams remain in WIAA Division Five [bracket]. The Pirates are seeking their first-ever state championship appearance. Will this be the year the Pirates hang a new banner from the rafters?

The final four
  • There are two #1 seeds and two #2 seeds remaining in Division 5
  • The combined record of the four teams is 46-2 (the two losses were to Division 6 powerhouse, St. Mary’s Springs)
Grantsburg’s opponent: Amherst

The Falcons are an incredible football program. In 2010 they went 4-5 and missed the playoffs. Since then they are one of the winningest teams in Wisconsin high school football. Since 2011 the Falcons have:

  • Amassed an 85-7 record
  • Been to the state championship game five times
  • Won three state championships, including the past two (2015 & 2016)

The head coach, Mark Lusic took over in 2011 when they went 4-5. He even had somebody tell him after that season he should quit then because that was as good as it would get for the program (they had gone 1-9 the previous year). Good thing Mr. Lusic didn’t take that advice. After last year’s championship, the coach was awarded WSAW’s coach of the year honor.

Other notes:
  • #3 Quarterback Marcus Glodowski is 23rd in rushing yards (1769) and ninth in rushing touchdowns (30) in the state
  • #52 Bryce Holderman averages 7.3 yards per carry and is also their leading tackler with 90 total tackles 16 tackles for loss, three force fumbles and three fumble recoveries
  • #5 Kicker/Wide Receiver Carter Zblewski is 54 of 64 on point after attempts and is one for one in field goals. As a receiver he is the Falcons top target catching 25 balls for 542 yards and eight touchdowns
  • As a team, the Falcons average 8.8 yards per rush and give up 3.8 yards per rush
  • As a team, the Falcons average just under 100 yards passing per game and give up about 72 yards passing per game
  • They win by an average score of 45-9
  • The Falcons lone loss was to St. Mary’s Springs, 14-13
Grantsburg

The Pirates have had a lot of success the past three seasons. Ending their season to eventual state champs Regis (level 3) last year and St. Mary’s Springs (level 4) the year before as well as their undefeated season this year. This recent success for the Pirates hasn’t been matched since the 1977 and 1978 seasons when the Pirates made it to the State Semifinals (playoffs were much different back then as only four teams made the playoffs and there were only three divisions). In 1977 the Pirates lost to Osseo-Fairchild by 7 and in 1978 to Westby by one with an 8-7 final score. If you listen hard enough you can still hear some of the players talk about that Westby game. And like the recent past, those opponents went on to win the state championship.

Other notes:
  • Brothers John and Leo Chenal are named as All-Region players by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association
  • John is named as an inside linebacker and running back, Leo is named as an inside linebacker and utility player
  • #33 Running back John Chenal is fifth in the state in rushing yards with 2209 yards and fourth in touchdowns with 35
  • #11 Quarterback Luke Anderson averages around 95 yards passing per game and has 14 touchdown passes this season
  • #5 RB/WR Leo Chenal averages 11 yards per carry and has 10 rushing touchdowns. He also averages 20 yards per reception with seven touchdowns on 18 receptions


(Editing cred: Jacob Phillips)
Even matchup

The two teams look to be very evenly matched. Take a look at these comparisons:

Quarterback
Player Attempts Completions Yards TDs INTs
Luke Anderson (Gburg) 104 59 1041 14 4
Marcus Glodowski (Amherst) 150 70 1121 14 3
Running back
Player Carries Yards TDs YPC
John Chenal (Gburg) 190 2209 35 11.6
Marcus Glodowski (Amherst) 147 1769 30 12.0
Receiver
Player Receptions Yards TDs YPR
Leo Chenal (Gburg) 18 360 7 20.0
Carter Zblewski (Amherst) 25 542 8 21.7
Defense
Team Avg Pts For Avg Pts Against Rushing YPG Passing YPG Total YPG Takeaways
Grantsburg 43  11 80 91 171 34
Amherst 45  9  103  72 175 23
Final thoughts

This one will come down to turnovers. These two teams look so evenly matched and it’s strength against strength. Both teams have incredible running games, very good passing games, and awesome defenses. Expect a game in the twenties with the outcome decided by less than a touchdown. The forecast calls for cold weather, but unlike the past two Friday nights, snow and wind will not be much of a factor.

If Grantsburg can hold onto the ball (as they have done all season) we predict a Pirate victory and a trip to Camp Randall Stadium next week.

Final score prediction: Grantsburg 23 – Amherst 22.