Third-seeded Waukesha West ran all over seventh-seeded Watertown, racking up 407 rushing yards in a WIAA Division 2, Level 2 playoff matchup on Friday.
Their defense was also just as impressive, holding Watertown’s prolific offense in check in the 49-14 victory that put the Wolverines back into Level 3 for the fourth straight year.
“We wanted to make sure we ran the football and kept their offense off the field,” West head coach Steve Rux said. “Play keep away from them. We made some big plays in the running game, so we’d score, and then all of a sudden, they are right on the field again. Our guys did a great job tonight. I’m just proud of them.”
This was the Wolverines’ second win against Watertown (6-5) after beating the Goslings, 28-7, in Week 1 of the regular season.
With this victory, West (8-3) will host fifth-seeded Monona Grove, which beat No. 1 seed Waunakee, 45-20, and afforded West a third straight home playoff battle Nov. 4.
“We are very fortunate to be able to play on our field as long as we possibly can,” Rux said. “Hopefully, we can make it to the final four.”
West opened the scoring on 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Robert Kobza to take a 7-0 lead over Watertown with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter, capping a seven-play, 69-yard drive.
The Goslings responded with a touchdown drive of their own when QB Dylan Fagerland scrambled from 3 yards out. A missed extra point by Watertown gave West a slight 7-6 advantage with 3:28 left in the first.
On the following drive, West started at its own 46-yard line. The Wolverines marched down the field and scored a TD on another 1-yard run up the middle by Kobza as time expired in the first quarter, taking a 14-6 lead.
As Watertown’s offense struggled to execute, the Wolverines continued to tack on in the second quarter.
On the first play of its first offensive series in quarter No. 2, West’s Peter MacCudden found an open hole and dashed past numerous Watertown defenders for a 70-yard TD run. West led 21-6 with 9:20 left in the half.
“We had a new formation that we put in from the last time we played them,” MacCudden said. “Everyone did their job up front. It was picture perfect. The cutback was right there. It was just an awesome thing. All I had to do was get to the end zone before I got tackled. It was just a great feeling to come out on the first play of the drive and make it happen.”
West added onto its lead when defensive back Josh Hunt grabbed the ball out of the air, after it bounced off a Watertown receiver’s hands, and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown with 1:51 left before halftime.
“I just trusted in my rules, and I squeezed that standout,” Hunt said. “I found a lane and just ran as fast as I could for the end zone.”
At the half, West led Watertown, 28-6.
Only four plays into the third quarter, Brooks Blount juked numerous defenders to record a 24-yard TD run, stretching West’s lead to 35-6.
Watertown came back and scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Fagerland to running back David Gilbert. The Goslings’ 2-point conversion was good, and they trailed West, 35-14, with 8:27 left in the third.
It was too late for the Goslings, however.
Kobza finished the game with 66 passing yards and 23 yards on the ground, including three rushing TDs. MacCudden also added 264 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
“Other teams will say they are keying in on me, but that’s not true,” MacCudden said. “We have so many weapons as a team. I think that’s awesome. The more we can get other people involved is the greatest thing because we can keep defenses on their toes.
“I couldn’t be happier for Robert Kobza. He had an awesome night throwing the ball where it needs to be thrown (and) when it needs to be thrown. I’m just so proud of him for stepping up when he needs to step up.”