MONONA — The Monona Grove Silver Eagles were playing for their playoff lives and Fort Atkinson was playing for pride with hopes of pulling off an upset when the two teams met in a Badger South Conference showdown Friday night.
In the end, the Silver Eagles got their wish for another trip to the WIAA Division 2 playoffs with a 47-15 win over the visiting Blackhawks in Monona Grove’s annual homecoming game.
The win raised MG’s record to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The Silver Eagles needed at least four conference wins to get into the playoffs. Fort Atkinson fell to 0-8 overall and 0-6 in the league.
Monona Grove running back Brady Killerlain scored two touchdowns on runs of one and eight yards. He has nine touchdowns in the last three games, all victories.
Both of his runs put MG ahead 14-0 in the opening seconds of the second quarter. Monona Grove regained possession of the ball on a fumble recovery after Fort Atkinson was pinned on its 3-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Fabian Jackson scored on a 5-yard run to give Monona Grove a 21-0 lead with 10 minutes, 23 seconds to play in the second quarter.
The Blackhawks fought back on its next possession as James Vander Mause ran 77 yards into the end zone to reduce the Silver Eagles lead to 21-7 at the 10:02 mark of the second quarter.
Vander Mause finished with 18 carries for 156 yards. Sophomore Alec Courtier ran for 108 yards on 19 carries.
The Silver Eagles got that score back five minutes later as quarterback Casey Marron found Owen Croak in the end zone on a 27-yard pass to give MG a 28-7 lead heading into halftime.
Monona Grove added to its lead with 4:52 left in the third quarter as Marron hit Henry Walsh with a 23-yard touchdown pass to take a 34-7 advantage.
A 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Mitch Hunter and a 79-yard scoring run by quarterback Camron Behnke put the Silver Eagles up 47-7 with 6:12 left in the game.
The remainder of the game was played with a running clock, but Fort Atkinson added another touchdown with 21 seconds remaining as Alec Courtier ran into the end zone from 27 yards. The Blackhawks added a two-point conversion on a running play.
Fort Atkinson head coach Brady Grayvold said the team played much better against the Silver Eagles than last season it was held to negative-1 yard total offense in a 49-0 loss.
“Last year, we didn’t score. This time, we had 272 yards rushing,” Grayvold said. “I think you are seeing growth in the program.”
Grayvold suggested the team needs to cut down on its turnovers as it fumbled away the ball twice, both times resulting in touchdowns for the Silver Eagles. Grayvold said the team is inexperienced with only eight seniors on the roster.
“It’s self-inflicted stuff and you get that on a team where the average age is 16,” Grayvold said.
Fort Atkinson ends the year next Friday at home against Oregon, which was eliminated from playoff consideration Friday night after 42-15 loss to Watertown.
MONONA GROVE 47,
FORT ATKINSON 15
Blackhawks 0 7 0 8 — 15
Silver Eagles 14 14 6 13 — 47
MG — Killerlain 8 run (Larsh kick)
MG — Killerlain 2 run (Larsh kick)
MG — Jackson 8 run (Larsh kick)
FA — Vander Mause 77 run (Branaman kick)
MG — Croak 27 pass Marron (Larsh kick)
MG — Walsh 21 pass Marron (Pass failed)
MG — Marron fumble return
MG — Ogden 79 pass Behnke (Larsh kick)
FA — Courtier 27 run (Courtier run)
First downs — FA 14, MG 17. Rushing (att.-yds.) — FA 43-272, MG 33-121. Passes (Comp.-att.-int) — FA 4-13-0, MG 11-21-0. Passing yards — FA 11, MG 234. Fumbles-lost — FA 4-3, MG 0-0. Penalties-yards — FA 1-5, MG 3-45.