AN OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION IN THE NORTHWOODS

On Saturday morning, October 1 I awoke to find two emails from fans reporting an unbelievable score from the night before. It was an 8-player game between Washburn and Mellen. For many of you who don’t know where those two towns/schools are located just use Google Maps. Washburn is in Bayfield County, not far from Ashland, along Lake Superior. Mellen is in Ashland County, about 35 miles southeast of Washburn.

The two emails told me of a Washburn 114-92 victory over Mellen.


That’s not a misprint. 114-92!!!


One of those who messaged me was Paul Barnes for the Ashland News. The other was from Gary Krueger II whose son, Parker plays for Washburn. He also contributed photos of the game to the newspaper. They had been scrambling for records information. But there was a problem. Other than the reported 10 touchdowns scored by Washburn’s running back, Brenden Watson (He also had a reported five 2-point conversions), there wasn’t much to go on until the coach’s posted info on WisSports.net. There was a problem though. Neither team had an official stats person covering the game that night in Mellen




Mellen Granite Diggers Washburn Castle Guards


They did have HUDL tapes, and they would have to be reviewed but that may take time. Meanwhile, I checked the record book and yes, Washburn had scored an 8-player record 114 points, beating the 110 points scored by Luck in the 2015 Jamboree game vs. Abundant Life/St. Ambrose who also scored 64 points themselves on October 31 of that year. So, the new record for a combined score was now 206 vs the 2015 game total of 174. If you look at the 11-player records, you won’t find a scored total that compares. Also, I could confirm that Brenden Watson had set a state record for both 8 and 11-player single game scoring of 70 points. That bested the 8-player record 60 points that Chris Brockman of Bruce set last year when he scored 10 touchdowns vs. Alma Center/Lincoln. Now before you write back that you looked up that games record in WisSports and only count nine touchdowns in the scoring chart, you will see one rushing touchdown by Brockman was not recorded in the chart, but it was confirmed to me by the coach as being 10. The coach said he would add the info in, but he forgot to do so. Also, Watson’s 10 touchdowns tied for the most ever in a game with the afore mentioned Brockman.


I replied back to both people asking for more info and the Washburn coach, Adam Coykendall sent me stats as well as posted the game info on WisSports…Washburn at Mellen - 2022 Regular Season (wissports.net). Mellen’s coach Tom Zakovec also posted but some info is lacking in WisSports for both sides, mainly Mellon only reports 12 touchdowns which if you multiply that by 6 you get 72 points. Where are the other 22 points scored? Well, coach Coykendall shared with me the HUDL film and I was able to confirm today, Monday, October 10 the missing scoring. Quarterback Tommy Zakovec passed for 7 touchdowns and ran for 3 to account for 10 of the 12 known scores. Danny also, even though there are shadows because of darkness and the film at the end of the game was grainy, had a hand in nine 2-point conversions, eight by passing for 78 points. Another new category is born with Single Game Scoring Responsibility. Watson has that currently as you will see further into this story.


What I found after 21 emails with the two coaches plus Barnes and Krueger was a plethora of records set or tied in this game plus a few other spots in the record book to include:


Individual Player Records:

Most Yards Rushing, in a Single Game...651…Brenden Watson, Washburn

Most points in a single game, 80...Brenden Watson, Washburn

Tied for most td's in a game...10...Brenden Watson, Washburn

Most 2-point conversions in a game, 10, tied...Brenden Watson, Washburn

A new category will be added...Most Points Responsible for, Single Game, 86...Brenden Watson, Washburn (Watson was 1-1-0-26-1...11 Touchdowns, 10 2-pt conversions)

Most Touchdowns Responsible for in a Single Game…11…Brenden Watson, Washburn

Most Yards Passing and Rushing in a Single Game...677...Brenden Watson, Washburn

Most Yards Passing, Single Game #5...444...Tommy Zakovec, Mellen

Most Yards Passing and Rushing in a Single Game #2...604 Tommy Zakovec...Mellen (Zakovec passed for 444-yards, carried 10 times for 160-yards and three scores)

Most Touchdown Passes in a Single Game, tied for #5...7 td passes...Tommy Zakovec, Mellen

Most Touchdowns Responsible for in a Single Game, tied #2…10…Tommy Zakovec, Mellen

Most Points Responsible for, Single Game #2...78...Tommy Zakovec, Mellen (10 touchdowns responsible and he threw for six 2-pt conversions)


Team Records:

Most Points Scored by a Team in a Game, 114...Washburn

Most Points Scored by 2-Teams in a Game...Washburn vs. Mellen...206

Most Points by a Losing Team in a Game, 94...Mellen

Most Yards Rushing in a single game, #2...Washburn 771 yards

Most Total Yards in a single game, #2...Washburn, 859 yards

Most Total Yards, two Teams Combined #1...1,567 yards (Washburn, 859 yards/Mellen, 708 yards)

This was keeping me busy this week with the record book doing the updates. The lack of stats points up a problem for a lot of schools and head coaches, especially those playing 8-player ball. Not enough assistant coaches, not enough players and not enough time to do everything. As you can see, while 8-player football is still new overall in Wisconsin the record book also has a lot of holes to fill. Hopefully coaches can get help in keeping and recording the information. Statistics don’t tell you the heart of a player or a coach, but they do give you a road to follow.


A look at the quarter-by-quarter scoring is very interesting:

      1     2     3     4     T

WHS 30     16    30    38    114

MHS 40     14    24   14    92


You will also see that the game was very close for three quarters. Mellen led 78-76 but Washburn gained steam and overtook them in the fourth thanks to some turnovers


One last thing. The game didn’t lead to a scoring explosion by either team this past weekend. Washburn is now 3-4 having won their last three games before losing to 54-12 to Northwoods/Colon Springs who keyed almost exclusively on Brenden Watson who only gained 39 yards in the contest. Mellen was forced take a forfeit to Chequamegon/Butternut/Mercer due to a WIAA scheduling rule on Friday but then scrimmaged South Shore on Saturday. In the scrimmage only nine of their players were able to suit up. It will be interesting to see where the two teams go from here this season. Good luck to the White Guards of Washburn and the Granite Diggers of Mellon. To paraphrase a quote by Toby McGuire in the movie Seabiscuit “Though we be little in numbers, 8-player football players are fierce” (“Though he be little, he is fierce” …from Shakespeare).


I’m attaching a story from the Ashland Daily Press. I think that a recap from the paper gives you a great perspective on the game. Thanks to all who helped. The coaches as well as Paul and Gary.

Washburn-Mellen 114-92 shootout shatters records | High School | apg-wi.com