The Eagles have landed.
In the WIAA state football semifinals, that is.
Almond-Bancroft advanced to Level 4 of the playoffs Nov. 7 for the first time in school history with a 43-6 win over Cambria-Friesland on the Hilltoppers’ home field.
The Eagles (10-1) will now face Owen-Withee (11-1), a 7-0 winner over Frederic, at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Stiehm Stadium in Schofield. The winner will play Pepin/Alma or Potosi for the Division 7 state championship at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 20 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
A-B scored on its first two possessions and took a 15-0 lead into the second quarter.
Austin Bunders capped a 14-play, 61-yard drive with a 3-yard run on fourth-and-goal to open the scoring. Wyatt Richtmyre picked off Bennett Koopmans’ pass on the Hilltoppers’ first play, his first of two interceptions. Five plays later, Richtmyre connected with Johl Turzinski for a 51-yard touchdown pass with 3:12 to go in the first quarter.
Bunders found the end zone from 4 yards out with 13 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Eagles a 22-0 lead at the break.
Cambria-Friesland took the second-half kickoff and scored on Andrew DeYoung’s 1-yard run midway through the third quarter, but A-B answered on its next drive, as Reegan Anderson scored on a 56-yard run.
“That was key,” coach Andrew Bradley said. “They scored, but our kids responded and kind of put it away after that.”
The Eagles added to their lead with a pair of Richtmyre TD passes in the fourth quarter. He hit Bunders for a 33-yard strike and later threw a 19-yarder to Dylan Bunders.
Richtmyre completed five of nine passes for 137 yards.
“Wyatt’s only a sophomore, but he can really throw the ball,” Bradley said. “Our offensive line, give them credit, they gave him time to throw. We have some weapons that we can throw the ball to, but we didn’t really need to. We struggled to run the ball a little at times and the pass opened it up for us.”
The running game was also clicking for the Eagles, as Anderson finished with 202 yards on 25 carries. DeYoung, who had averaged 200 yards on the ground in Cambria-Friesland’s first two playoff games, was held to 82 yards.
The Eagles outgained the Hilltoppers 307-98 on the ground and 137-35 through the air.
“First time in school history,” Bradley said of the Eagles making it to the state semifinals. “We made it to Level 3 in 2002 and we talked about getting (to Level 4) for the first time. We’re not done yet.
“One game at a time, that’s what our motto has been in the playoffs,” he added. “Cambria-Friesland brought a little different challenge with the offense they ran, but our kids responded well.”