Rieck, Vance suit up at Camp Randall
By Greg Seubert
Talk about a small world.
Besides being cousins and high school juniors, Josh Rieck and Dane Vance share a love of football that brought them to Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium for the WIAA State Football Championships.
They met for the first time Nov. 16 in the Division 5 championship game, as Rieck and the Amherst Falcons held on for a 28-21 win over Vance and the Lake Country Lutheran Lightning.
Both players saw plenty of action on both sides of the ball.
Rieck finished with 119 yards on 22 carries and caught a pass for 8 yards. He also made two tackles and assisted on another as a linebacker.
Meanwhile, Vance led the Lightning with 67 rushing yards on 16 carries, scored on a 3-yard run and caught five passes for a team-high 89 yards. He also had three tackles and assisted on two others as a defensive end.
“I tackled him a few times and he tackled me a few times,” Rieck said.
Rieck spent the season backing up running back Bryce Holderman in Amherst, while Vance led Lake Country Lutheran, located in the Milwaukee suburb of Hartland, with more than 1,600 rushing yards.
“It was really fun to prepare for him and watch him on film,” Rieck said. “He’s my dad’s sister’s son. He’s three months older than me.”
The Lightning came into the game with a 13-0 record, while the Falcons were 12-1.
“Dane told me a lot about them earlier in the season when I had no idea I was going to play him,” Rieck said. “Then I saw the bracket for the playoffs and Dane’s team was on one side and my team was on the other side.
“It was only going to be in Madison when we would play each other,” he added. “I was like, ‘You guys better win your (state semifinal) game so we can play you.’”
The Lightning, making their first appearance at state, kept their season alive Nov. 10 with a 16-14 win over last year’s runner-up, Cedar Grove-Belgium, in the state semifinals. The Falcons beat Cedar Grove-Belgium in last year’s Division 5 championship game 38-35 on a last-second field goal to win their second straight title.
Rieck came into this year’s championship game with 369 rushing yards in seven games and filled in for Holderman, who left Amherst’s 35-6 state semifinal win over Grantsburg with a concussion.
“I was really nervous, but mostly excited,” he said.
The two players kept in contact in the week leading up to the game, according to Rieck.
“I texted him every day,” he said.
Rieck said he’d like to face the Lightning in next year’s state championship game when he and Vance are seniors.
“We always played in my grandpa’s backyard,” he said. “We’d play football and baseball every time I went there. We’ve always been best friends.”