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Much has been written about the game between Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran in their meeting on September 27, 2013. There was a featured story in the Saturday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the day after the game as well as a story in the weekly Oconomowoc Enterprise newspaper the next Thursday. In 2017 Wissports named the game as the seventh best game in the 15 years the web page had been around (2002-2017). The Journal Sentinel reprinted their original story in 2017 as a reminder to readers of the epic battle. I’m going to cover this game but from several different directions as well covering a bit of Oconomowoc’s season.

The final score was 84-82, with the Oconomowoc Racoon’s (also known as the Cooney’s) over the Wisconsin Lutheran Vikings in an epic scoring barrage. There are two categories in the record book for total game points. The first is “Most Points Scored in a Game by One Team”. Most of the games were shutouts and big ones at that. All the games are also ones in which a team scored 100 points or more. In 1902 Stoughton beat Kewanee (IL) 145-0. Number two on this list is the 140-0, 1913 win by St, John’s Military Academy over St. Norbert’s College followed by the 138-0 win by Tomah over Elroy in 1908. The second category is “The Most Points Scored by 2-Teams in a Game”. The total of 166 points leads the record list and it's not close. The next highest scoring total for two teams in a game is 133 points, performed by Schofield D.C. Everest (73) vs. Wisconsin Rapids (63) in 1998. Two games tie for third with 132 total points. Milwaukee Bay View (74) beat Eastbrook/Hope School (53) in 2015 and Chippewa Falls (67) defeated Eau Claire Memorial (65) in 2018.

The game between Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran started slowly. With the score 8-7 at the end of the first quarter, no one could have suspected what was to happen. Both teams played to a draw, 0-0 for the first 10 minutes of that first quarter. Then the second quarter began and the scoring barrage kept up as there were eight scores between the two teams in that period. It was a battle of the two team’s quarterbacks. Lutheran’s Logan McShane ran for three touchdowns on runs of 6, 51 and 37 yards while the Racoon’s leader, Carson Larson, ran 51-yards for one score and passed for three with touchdowns of 54, 64 and 37 yards. The game was tied twice as well as the lead changing hands twice in that period. The eight scores came about every minute and a half. The first half ended 36-35 in favor of the Vikings and things were just getting started.

The next two quarters were equally frantic. The keys to the third period were a 39-yard interception return by Nick Gomez and an 87-yard kickoff return by Jarek Berg for the Cooney’s as they took a 63-58 lead as the fourth quarter started. Gomez’s interception helped put a two-score cushion between the two teams and from then on it was a battle to see who could outlast whom. In the end both Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran would score three times each in the fourth quarter. Big stats were being piled up on both sides as the two teams would end up with 1,247 total yards…708 by the Vikings and 539 by the Racoon’s. For Lutheran, Logan McShane would be 13-27-1-180-2 passing and 14-111-4 running. Terrance Ward led the Viking ground game with 265 yards on 23 carries and three scores. Anthony Carver caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

For the Racoon’s quarterback Carson Larson was the leader. This was by far the best game he ever had. He was 10-20-0-295-4 through the air and he ran the ball 14 times for 198 yards and four scores. That’s 493 yards and eight touchdowns that he was responsible for. Outstanding!! But to me, the biggest difference in this epic were the feet of receiver/kicker Casey Bednarski who despite suffering from leg cramps throughout the game, came up in a huge way when needed. Oconomowoc scored 12 touchdowns to 11 by Wisconsin Lutheran in the game. That’s a difference of one score. However, Bednarski made all 12 of his extra point attempts. Lutheran didn’t attempt an extra point kick, choosing to go for two points after each touchdown. They made eight of them, with Terrance Ward scoring three of them. Not only did Bednarski make all of his extra points but he placed 11 of his 13 kickoffs into the endzone making it harder for his opponent. He also punted three times for an average of 44.3 yards per kick. The Vikings had to go much further downfield to score which is how they were able to out gain the Racoon’s. Bednarski only caught two passes in the game but gained 131 yards including his second quarter 64-yard touchdown. The other reception went for 57 yards and set up a touchdown. In my estimation his performance was the biggest difference in the game despite the huge effort by Carson Larson.

To give up 80+ points in a regulation time game doesn’t say much for either teams defense but every stop became that much more important and Oconomowoc was able to come up with a few critical holds that did it for them. The win put Oconomowoc in the lead for the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference title with a 6-0 record while Lutheran dropped to 3-3. The Cooney’s would have their first undefeated regular season in 26-years and their first conference title in 11 years as they would end up posting an 11-1 season record. The Vikings would rebound from the loss and post a 7-4 season record. Coach Kirk DeNoyer directed WISCO for 20-years and posted a 194-47 record with one WISSA title in 1997 and four WIAA state titles in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2014 with two state runner-up postings. His teams won 15 conference titles. In 2013, the win by Oconomowoc was the first against Lutheran in 15 years. Oconomowoc played some other close games in 2013 as they were able to score 436 points on the season and gave up 300 points.

The win against Wisconsin Lutheran was the talk of the school for many weeks as the players were constantly stopped in the hallways to get a clap on the back and to discuss different aspects of the game. It was a battle those players will long remember.

The season before, Oconomowoc earned a 6-3 record but failed to make the playoffs. Having lost the team’s leading receivers, running back and defensive players from the 2012 squad the next year’s performance was unexpected. The 2013 11-1 record posted by Oconomowoc was the second-best season record for the Cooney’s. In 1987 they posted a 12-1 record as the team was the Division 1 runner-up, losing to Fond du Lac 3-0. Coach Ryan McMillen was in his fifth season heading up the program and earned the award as the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 2013. He graduated a lot of seniors from the 2013 team and the Racoon’s slumped to a 1-8 record in 2014. McMillen and his coaching staff re-built the program and went on to post another 11-1 record in 2015 and finally an 8-2 showing in 2016 before moving on to Muskego as the school’s athletic director.

The 2013 team had many stars. Carson Larson earned the WLT Offensive Player of the Year, first team all-conference, South Central region POY and honorable mention All-State. His season passing stats were 110-199-4-2,082-26 while his rushing totals were 114-994-12. He passed for 4,776 yards and 50 touchdowns while rushing for 1,345 yards in his career. He was offered a scholarship to Minnesota State-Mankato. Casey Bednarski was the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for an incredible 846 yards and 10 touchdowns. He kicked 53 extra points in 53 attempts and kicked 11 of 12 field goals. His punting on the season was an average of 41.8 in 24 kicks. Casey earned all-conference honors as both a wide receiver and placekicker. Defensive back Logan Ballering led the team with 106 tackles and three interceptions. Linebacker Nick Gomez was second in tackles with 89 and his only interception was in the Wisconsin Lutheran game. Both earned first team all-conference. Other first team all-conference members were offensive lineman Colin Valley and defensive back Dalton Dunham.

Just as the win against Wisconsin Lutheran was the talk of the school and the community, so was the season. A season that those players will long remember.

Paging through my state record book ( State Records (wifca.org) ) I stopped at a spot that I hadn’t really explored…Longest overtime game. Wisconsin has had two six-quarter overtime games but more on these two games later. The national record is an incredible 12-quarters! The National federation of State High School Associations has a listing besides the afore mentioned 12-quarter game of the following:

  • Two teams with a nine-quarter overtime game, three games with eight overtime periods and 10 games with seven OT quarters.

  • Two teams also played four consecutive games of overtime ball.

  • Three teams had five OT games in a single season and surprisingly, none of those teams were part of the four consecutive overtime events.

With two six-quarter overtime games in Wisconsin history, we are low on the totem pole when it comes to these types of games. But the 12-quarter game is very interesting.

Back on October 29, 2010 the Jacksonville (TX) Dragons beat the Nacogdoches (TX) Fightin’ Indians 84-81. Tied playoff spot 28-28 at the end regulation the game took 12-quarters and it lasted over five hours. They traded touchdowns but the interesting thing is that Nacogdoches didn’t want to just win. At least an outright win. You see they were both fighting for a playoff spot. Back in 1969 in Wisconsin, point spreads were part of the consideration for the WISSA to place teams into the first state playoff brackets. Nacogdoches needed to win by eight points to make the post season and Jacksonville just needed to win. So, the Dragons depended on the defense to stop Jacksonville. In the end, each team scored 12 touchdowns and nine extra points. Nacogdoches failed to score in the top of the 12th and they held the Fightin’ Indians out of the endzone before they kicked a19-yard field goal to win. The game started at 7:30 pm and ended at 12:58 am. The two teams combined for 60 first downs and totaled over 1,000 yards.

A blog on ESPN had sort of a funny take on the game and overtime games in general. Check it out at: 12 Overtimes To Settle A Football Game? See You Tomorrow! - SportsCenter.com- ESPN.

You can see the winning game on You Tube at: 12 OT High School Football Game, National Record, 165 points - YouTube

Now, on to the two Wisconsin overtime games. First is the October 9, 1981 game between La Farge and Wauzeka in a Friday afternoon matchup in the Ridge & Valley Conference rivals. In truth there is little about the game but here is what I found:

From the Wisconsin State Journal…”If high school football players received overtime pay for competing, those from Wauzeka and La Farge would be hiring stockbrokers. The reason? Wauzeka’s 32-30 victory over La Farge Friday’s afternoon—in six overtimes. Allen McCarthy swept three yards for a two-point conversion after running nine yards for a touchdown in the sixth overtime to provide Wauzeka with the winning margin in the two teams Rudge & Valley Conference marathon, which lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes. La Farge, so to speak, exhausted its opportunity to win moments later when the Hornets’ John Krieg intercepted a La Farge pass for a conversion after Mike Donovan had scored on a three-yard touchdown run.”

That’s it. That’s all that the Journal wrote. Looking at the box score the game was tied 6-6 in regulation. Wauzeka gained only five first downs and gained a total of 183 yards. La Farge had even less. Only three first downs but was able to pick up 194 yards. The difference was La Farge had three passes intercepted and fumbled eight times, losing five.

The La Crosse Tribune had even less to say. “In the other conference game (after reporting on a few other teams), Wauzeka nipped La Farge, 32-30, in six over times.” Not much but there you have the recap.

Well, next up is the other six overtime game…Waukesha South 12, West Bend East 6 played on September 5, 2008. The two battled to a 6-6 standstill at the end of regulation. The field was wet and muddy. The rain made it hard for each team to hold onto the ball. Running a spread offense, East had about a dozen snaps from center skip to the quarterback although none of those led to a fumble. It was the ground game, or the lack of it that led to the teams five fumbles as they lost three. The Waukesha South Blackshirts gained only 175 yards on the ground on 67 attempts and picked up a measly eight yards in the air. The West Bend East Sun’s picked up 82 yards rushing and 53 yards passing.

On the game’s opening drive the Sun’s drove to South's two-yard line where quarterback Nick Makowski tossed deep into the endzone but Mile O’Connell intercepted. South scored first in the second quarter on a second O’Connell pick when he returned a 25-yards interception of a Makowski screen pass. Makowski in turn scored on an 11-yard run, also in the second period. Both teams missed on their extra-point kicks.

Unlike the overtime rules of the past the new set-up was just like the new college regulations where the ball was set on the 25-yard line making it harder for the two teams to get across the goal line. Previously the teams started on the 10 and teams had four downs to score. East missed a 40-yard field goal as regulation expired. South's best chance to win the game came in the third quarter of regulation when they drove to East’s two-yard line but they fumbled the ball away. The Sun’s had their best chance to win also in the third OT period when they had a first and goal on the Blackshirt's two-yard line but events led them try a 27-yard field goal which missed. In the top of the sixth overtime period South’s back Dylan Graff ran in from the one-yard line. The extra-point run failed. Graff had over 30 carries in the game and 70+ yards rushing.

The Sun’s couldn’t muster a drive in their part of the sixth and the Blackshirts prevailed. West Bend East dropped to 0-2 on the season and ended up with a 5-6 and made it to Level 2 of the playoffs. Sadly, Waukesha South’s season went downhill from there and they finished 2-7. But they both have a place in the record book.

Great football battles within the Wisconsin Valley Conference were common. Not just some blowouts but I mean, close games that often turned on a dime. Some of those close battles were between D.C. Everest and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln. The events pitted two Hall of Fame coaches, Wayne Steffenhagen of Everest and Ken Biegel of Rapids. Year in and year out the two fought for the conference title and a chance to go to the playoffs. Sometimes they did and sometimes not but for the most part the 1990s were classic, close battles between the two schools.

Oct. 5, 1990…Wisconsin Rapids was leading 20-3 early in the second half, but D.C. Everest cut the lead to 20-15. With 9:31 left in the fourth quarter the Evergreens mounted a drive. They drove down to the Red Raiders 11-yard line with less than two minutes left but a fourth down pass was batted down and Rapids hung on for the win. The Raiders would post an 8-2 record on the year to tie for the conference title but lose in the first round of the D1 playoffs.

Oct. 4, 1991…Trailing 7-6 with 2:07 left in the game, Wisconsin Rapids started on their own 20-yard line and mounted a great drive down to the Everest one. Then, sophomore Brian Siegmann kicked a field goal with :05 left in the game for a 9-7 Raider win. The two teams would end up tied for the conference title but both lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Oct. 2,1992…Leading 14-10 at half-time. the D.C. Everest Evergreens roared to five third quarter touchdowns and won 49-16. Antigo won the conference title but neither Everest or Rapids made the playoffs.

Sept. 24, 1993…D.C. Everest won 21-16 as they held on for a road victory. Ken Biegel decided not to punt on fourth-and-two on their own 20-yard line. Brian Siegmann was now the team quarterback and he lost seven-yards on the play. Evergreen back Jason Hurd ran for the 13-yard touchdown on the next play as Everest surged ahead, 20-9. The Raiders would score a touchdown but their comeback fell short. Neither team advanced to the playoffs as Stevens Point won the WVC title.

Sept. 23, 1994…Just as in 1991, Lincoln beat D.C. Everest with a last second field goal. Shad Williams kicked a 37-yard field goal with one second left on the clock. The Red Raiders swept through the rest of the conference schedule to win the WVC title. After the game Ken Biegel predicted that they would meet again that season and they did.

Oct. 30. 1994…Sure enough, six weeks later in the second round of the playoffs the 10-0 Wisconsin Rapids faced 9-1 D.C. Everest. This time the Evergreens bulled their way to take the victory. The Red Raiders were down 32-7 at halftime but made it close, 45-37 with 50-seconds left. Evergreen defensive back Tim Strehlow intercepted a pass by Lincoln’s Mike Hamilton on a second and two play from the five-yard-line. Strehlow returned the ball 100-yards for the clinching touchdown. The final score was 53-37. Wayne Steffenhagen directed Everest to the state semifinals.

Sept. 15, 1995…This game helped Schofield to win the first of four consecutive Valley titles. A late fourth quarter touchdown got Wisconsin Rapids within a score. Lincoln was able to get the ball back and they drove to the Everest 26-yard line. A mix-up in the backfield resulted in a fumble with the Evergreens recovering to clinch the win, 27-20. Under the old playoff system and even with a 7-2 record, Rapids failed to make the playoffs and Everest would lose in the first round.

Sept. 20, 1996…The Evergreens led 35-0 after three quarters and coasted to a 35-12 win. They would advance to the state championship game, losing to Hartland Arrowhead. Lincoln had their only losing season of the 90s in an injury plagued year.

Sept. 5, 1997…This season involved a third team in the mix. That team being Marshfield. In week 2 Wisconsin Rapids played D.C. Everest and the Evergreens pulled out a 37-30 win. There were seven lead changes in the game with Everest down 30-29 with 28 seconds left in the game when halfback Lance Gast tossed a 49-yard option pass to Curt Kazba in the end zone for the win. Where Marshfield comes in is as follows: Three weeks after the Red Raiders lost to the Evergreens, they eked out a 3-0 win over Marshfield. The following week Marshfield lost 24-13 to Everest. As the regular season ended D.C. Everest finished #1 with a 8-1 record (Their only loss was a week 3 non-conference loss to Menominee, MI) and Wisconsin Rapids finished 8-1 and #2 in the Valley. Marshfield ended up #3 in the conference and a 7-2 record. The conference was strong.

The playoffs began and all three trams won their opening round games. In Level 2 Marshfield faced Schofield D.C. Everest and was leading 22-19 with 2:17 left to go in the game when the Marshfield Tigers mounted an 85-yard, 14-play drive to score with six seconds to go. Level 3 pitted the Red Raiders against Marshfield. The Tigers pulled the win out on a game winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds remaining in the game and a 26-21 victory. Marshfield would win their next two games and end the season with a 12-2 record as they beat an undefeated Oak Creek 21-14 for the Division 1 title. Few teams have come back from a two-loss season to win a title. The Valley was super tough in 1997.

Sept. 6, 1998…The biggest game ever played in the Wisconsin Valley Conference history. Nine conference records were set or tied. Among the records was the 1,311 yards the two teams gained. The Evergreens had three separate leads of 20-points or more in the game but they couldn’t hold back the Red Raiders until the final whistle in the Everest 70-63 win. Evergreen wide receiver Derek Abney caught 10 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Jesse Spatz carried the ball 30 times for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Lincoln running back Nathan Dahl gained 447 yards rushing, receiving and returning kicks while scoring seven times. Coach Biegel again, as in 1994, predicted after the game that they would meet again and they would.

Nov. 13, 1998…The two teams met in a Level 4 game and it was a 24-21 victory for Everest. Rapids took a 3-0 lead then gave up two first half touchdowns before they could get a score of their own. The raiders got close in the third quarter but that was it. The Evergreen’s were now 13-0 and they advanced to the state finals where Everest beat Oak Creek 14-12.

Aug. 27, 1999…The two teams met in the season opener and it was all Schofield D.C. Everest, a 24-7 win. The Evergreens led throughout the game and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that The Red Raiders were to cross the goal line. The two teams finished with a 6-2 conference record and they tied with Stevens Point for second place. The two also lost in the first round of the playoffs. Just a note, Marshfield finished in first place and was 13-0 until they lost in the state finals to undefeated (14-0) Homestead.

The 1990s was a decade of exciting games between the two schools. This was a great time in the Wisconsin Valley Conference and the two teams played classic games year in and year out against each other. 1999 was Ken Biegels last season coaching. He posted a career record of 214-95-4 in 35 years of coaching with one state runner-up and seven conference titles. Wayne Steffenhagen continued on until 2010 and retired with a 278-80-0 record and state titles in 1981, 1983, 1989 and 1998 with a runner-up place in 1996 in his 34 seasons as the head coach at D.C. Everest. Wayne recently passed away this past February.