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They are the champions

Vanguards win first league title since 1998

 

October 18, 2018

Bethany Wood

Wisconsin Heights' football team won a conference championship for the first time since 1998.

Nearly three months ago, Wisconsin Heights football coach Jeff Supernaw stood before his Vanguards as the year began.

Supernaw told his team how talented they were. He preached about long-term goals. And he talked about how a Great Eight Conference title was possible.

Today, Supernaw looks like Nostradamus.

Heights rolled past host Elkhart Lake, 50-32, last Friday and earned a share of the conference title. The Vanguards and Oakfield both finished league play 6-1 and shared the crown.

For Heights, it was its first conference championship in football since 1998, when the Vanguards were part of the Capitol Conference.

"From a season standpoint, this was everything for us," Supernaw said. "At our preseason meetings I was very honest and told our team that we had the talent to compete for a conference championship if we worked as hard as we were capable of.

"Everyone was well aware that Heights football historically, and especially in recent years, has not had a lot of success. The kids were also very aware that our last conference championship was before any of them were born. The kids worked their tails off, deserved everything they got, and get to put a trophy in the case."

Senior quarterback Camden Brown is a big reason the Vanguards are conference champions today.

Brown competed 13 of 17 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Brown also carried 10 times for a whopping 224 yards and three TDs.

Brown singlehandedly accounted for 384 total yards and five touchdowns.

"Cam is a great athlete that is very dangerous with the ball in space," Supernaw said. "This was his week to have opportunities to get the ball in space running the football and he made the most of his opportunities.

"He was confident and on time with his throws and took what the defense gave him. Cam has gotten better each week from a mental and physical standpoint and is playing the best football of his year right now."

He wasn't the only one.

Caden Eichorst carried 11 times for 150 yards and a touchdown, and also caught two passes for 18 yards and a score. Ace Ayers also caught seven passes for 99 yards and a TD.

Defensively, Hunter Hoff had nine tackles, Brown forced a fumble and had an interception, and both Dylan Rickey and Eichorst had interceptions, as well.

Heights started fast and did everything it could to eliminate any doubt.

The Vanguards raced to a 16-0 lead midway through the first quarter and extended that to 42-8 by halftime.

"Being able to get off to that fast start was massively important," Supernaw said. "Elkhart Lake runs an offense that can grind and wear down a defense and eat up a lot of clock in the process, however it is not an offense built to play from behind. 

"In addition to putting Elkhart behind the 8-ball, our fast start fed the confidence that our kids have and swung the momentum towards our sideline from the first few snaps."

Brown and Ayers hooked up for an early 23-yard TD, then Eichorst ripped off an 83-yard touchdown run as Heights built a 16-0 lead. After an Elkhart Lake touchdown, the Vanguards dominated the rest of the first half.

First, Brown had a 73-yard TD run late in the first quarter to give the Vanguards a 22-8 lead. Brown then had a 7-yard second quarter touchdown run, and he flung a 9-yard TD pass to Eichorst as the Vanguards' lead ballooned to 36-8. Late in the half, Brown ripped off a 76-yard touchdown run and Heights took a 42-8 lead to the locker room.

Elkhart Lake scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns and closed within 42-24. But Thomas Muschitz had an 11-yard TD run in the fourth quarter as Heights reclaimed a 50-24 lead, then coasted home.

"I think the kids took their foot of the gas pedal a little too early in the game," Supernaw said. "I can't blame them after the first half they had, and we as a coaching staff should have done a better job keeping everyone focused at the start of the second half.

"Coupling that with having a few bad bounces go against us, Elkhart Lake was able to start to claw their way back into the game. To the absolute credit of the kids they took the best punch Elkhart could give, refocused, and closed the game out in exceedingly strong fashion."

Supernaw was extremely pleased how his team performed with so much at stake.

"It has always seemed that every time we play Elkhart Lake we never play up to our full potential," Supernaw said. "They are always a physical team that can bog you down and make you play their game. We are a very fast football team, and this week we were finally able to buck the trend against Elkhart Lake and play at our speed."

And in the process, capture a conference title for the first time in two deacdes.

 
 

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