Polar Bears unable to stop Red Raiders
By Erik Buchinger
Third-seeded Hortonville was upset by No. 6 Pulaski 35-28 at home in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs Friday, Oct. 21.
The game featured seven lead changes, and the Red Raiders’ unique rushing attack was too much for Hortonville to overcome.
After the Polar Bears’ defense made a key stop, they had one final chance late in the fourth quarter with the ball on their own 41-yard line with 3:03 left and no timeouts. However, two incompletions, followed by back-to-back sacks sealed the victory for the Red Raiders, ending Hortonville’s season.
The Polar Bears finished the year with a 6-4 overall record, losing three of their final four games.
Hortonville forced a three and out on Pulaski’s first possession of the game, but the Polar Bears fumbled on their first play from scrimmage. The Red Raiders took advantage of the turnover with a 7-yard touchdown run from Joe Franks, but the extra point was blocked.
The Polar Bears answered less than a minute later with a 56-yard catch and run for Brock Young to put them ahead 7-6.
Pulaski fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which led to a 3-yard touchdown run for Elliott Luker to extend Hortonville’s lead to 14-6.
In the second quarter, the Red Raiders converted a fourth-and-2, and Michael Kane scored 18-yard touchdown on the next play. The two-point conversion failed to keep Hortonville ahead by two points.
Hortonville marched inside Pulaski’s 20-yard line on the next possession, but a fumble ended the drive. The Red Raiders took advantage of the miscue again with a short touchdown run from Dylan Hendricks late in the second quarter to give his team a 19-14 halftime lead.
In the first possession of the third quarter, Hortonville converted a third-and-14 play for a first down, and one play later, Luker scored on a 39-yard run to give the Polar Bears a 21-19 advantage.
Pulaski answered with a 3-yard touchdown run for Hendricks, but Hortonville came right back late in the third quarter. Luker hauled in a deep pass inside the 5-yard line and scored a few plays later to put the Polar Bears on top 28-27 after three quarters.
Kane scored again for the Red Raiders, and the two-point conversion was successful to give Pulaski a 35-28 lead for the final score of the game.
Hortonville threatened inside Pulaski’s 20-yard line on its next possession, but an interception in the end zone stalled the drive with 5:38 remaining.