The Westfield Area Pioneers pulled off a 22 point 4th quarter comeback on Sept. 19 to defeat the Mauston Golden Eagles, 28-26.
The Pioneers struggled on offense through the first three quarters, and did not have a first down until midway through the third quarter. Westfield also had to overcome an injury to a critical two-way player in junior Nick Holly, after he suffered a serious ankle injury early in the game.
In the second quarter, Mauston’s Jacob Schiller scored on a 1 yard run after the Golden Eagles established a strong running game. Pioneer Jon Brakebush blocked the PAT attempt.
After forcing Westfield into a 3 and out, Mauston partially blocked the Pioneer punt, and recovered the punt on the Westfield 22 yard line. After a long gain, Golden Eagle Dominic Spinelli went on to fumble the ball.
The Pioneers were held to another 3 and out series, Mauston scored on an 18 yard run by Spinelli. The two-point conversion attempt run was unsuccessful.
In the third quarter, Mauston continued to move the ball effectively on the ground behind large gains by junior quarterback Pat Cauley. Golden Eagle Keinan Fassett scored on a 1 yard run, with two-point conversion passing attempt unsuccessful.
Westfield did not have a third down conversion until midway through the third quarter. After a long drive, set up by an impressive 13yd run by Brakebush, senior quarterback Greg Winkelman scored on a 15 yard run with 3:45 minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Pioneers failed to convert on a 4th down fake punt and then gave up a 37-yard touchdown run by Fassett on Mauston’s first play of the possession, which appeared to seal the game for the Golden Eagles.
The Pioneers quickly responded by moving the ball into Mauston territory on a Winkelman to Brakebush 33 yard connection, but the Pioneers were forced to punt. The turning point of the game came when junior linebacker Mark Heuer blocked a Mauston punt, which was recovered by Jake Wasson on the Mauston 15 yard line. Winkelman ran the ball to the 1 yard line and then Brakebush scored to make the score 12. The Pioneers failed to convert the two-point attempt.
The Pioneers held Mauston on the next series and Keegan Johnston and Brett Krentz partially blocked Mauston’s punt, setting the Pioneers up at midfield.
Winkelman hit receivers Brandon Rasmussen for 20 yards and Brett Krentz on a screen for 14 yards, and Brakebush ran the ball in again from the 1-yard line, as well converting the two-point attempt on a nice cutback run.
Still down 26-20, Westfield junior Derik Verhasselt recovered on onside kick, and on 2nd and 12, Winkelman threw a laser strike from midfield to tight end Rasmussen who made the catch and cut to streak to the end zone on a 54 yard touchdown. The Pioneers were able to earn the two-point conversion giving them the first lead of the game, 28-26.
Mauston had one final chance to regain the lead, but their drive stalled after an offensive holding penalty negated a 29-yard gain, which would have put Mauston at midfield. The Pioneers forced Mauston to turn the ball over on downs and then they ran out the clock to seal the comeback victory.