Posted On: 03/27/21 5:55 PM
After more than a calendar year, a global pandemic, country-wide shutdowns, and tons of uncertainty and misinformation regarding high school football, spring football has finally kicked off in the great state of Wisconsin. In the case of the Stoughton Vikings, it had been 511 days since they last got to say it was “gameday”, so to say that these programs and their student-athletes were excited for last night’s game against the Waunakee Warriors in Waunakee would be an understatement and then some. I was pumped to scout the game representing PrepRedzoneWI, and although we weren’t allowed to watch in-person the live stream was clean and clear, and it was a beautiful night for some prep football. With two talent-ridden rosters with a wealth of 2021 and 2022 standouts, the game had its fair share of fireworks, and I was fortunate enough to get my eyes on some already established studs from both teams, as well as discovered some prospects I didn’t have on my radar coming into the game. For a recap of the matchup, the players of the game, and the newly discovered recruits, all you have to do is scroll below. Thanks for reading!
Waunakee received the opening kickoff of the ball-game and immediately got to work on offense as they moved the chains a couple of times thanks to the legs of 6’2, 195 lb. RB Caden Nelson Caden Nelson 6'3" | QB Waunakee | 2021 State WI and the arm of 2022 6’1, 190 lb. QB Quentin Keene Quentin Keene 6'2" | QB Waunakee | 2022 State WI . However, Wisconsin wrestling commit and 2x state champ Brooks Empey Brooks Empey 6'2" | LB Stoughton | 2021 State WI had something to say about the Warriors offense success and ended the drive with a huge third-down sack to force a punt. Stoughton took over on offense, and got off to a hot start of their own behind some tough running by 5’10, 185 lb. 2022 RB Darrick Hill Darrick Hill 5'9" | RB Stoughton | 2022 State WI , but fizzled out and punted it back to the Warriors. Waunakee was once again stuffed due to the defensive efforts of Empey and UW-Whitewater commit Rudy Detweiler Rudy Detweiler 6'1" | LB Stoughton | 2021 State WI , but Stoughton took over near their goal line and suffered a couple self-induced fumbles, forcing them to punt the ball out of the back of their endzone, giving Waunakee possession near the 25 of the Vikings. The Warriors took advantage and punched the ball in two plays later on a Caden Nelson Caden Nelson 6'3" | QB Waunakee | 2021 State WI rush up the gut, and after the ensuing PAT was blocked the score stood at Waunakee 6, Stoughton 0 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.
It wasn’t until around 6:30 left in the half that the scoreboard was lit up again, as the hometeam Warriors found the back of the endzone after a 33-yard beautifully executed pitch and catch on a corner route from Keene to 5’10 senior wideout Isaac Schaaf Isaac Schaaf 5'8" | WR Waunakee | 2021 State WI , and Waunakee led 13-0 halfway through the second. Things got tough here for Stoughton, as they fumbled the following offensive possession at their own 17, and Waunakee wasted no time taking advantage as Nelson ran in his second TD of the day and put the Warriors up 20-0 with 4:15 left in the half. Stoughton did find some points near the end of the half after they blocked a punt and took over at the 29 of Waunakee, as QB Jonah O’Connor Jonah O’Connor 5'10" | DB Stoughton | 2021 State WI took a QB draw to the house, and the score stood at 20-6 in favor of the hometeam Waunakee Warriors.
The second half remained an all-Waunakee affair, as they got on the scoreboard first in the second half after Keene found Nelson on a 42-yard bomb to put his squad up 27-6 with 6:11 left in the third. There were some splash plays from splash players though, as 2022 6’6 TE/WR Andrew Keller Andrew Keller 6'6" | WR Waunakee | 2022 State WI showed off some nifty footwork on a short curl, Empey moved to offense where he began to run over defenders and bring the pain to the Warriors as a RB, and Detweiler continued to have his name called after seemingly every play, passing double-digit tackles only in the third quarter. The first play of the fourth quarter was exciting as well, as 2022 Waunakee DB Caden McCurdy stepped in front of an errant Stoughton pass for a beautiful interception that he returned deep into Stoughton territory, but only a few plays later Waunakee fumbled the football and Detweiler picked up the rock and made a nice return of his own. Later in the quarter O’Connor found 2022 wideout Ayden Probst for another deep TD completion, putting the score at 34-13 in favor of Waunakee, which is how the score eventually finished.
Players of the Game
Caden Nelson Caden Nelson 6'3" | QB Waunakee | 2021 State WI (Waunakee) RB. 2021. 6’2, 195 lbs. Uncommitted. With excellent size and good burst, Nelson was a consistently strong runner who excelled between the tacklers but possessed the speed and athleticism to hurt a defense out on the edge. He also showed off that he could catch the ball out of the backfield on his third and final TD of the evening.
Jack Dotzler Jack Dotzler 6'7" | OL Waunakee | 2022 State WI (Waunakee) OT. 2022. 6’7, 265 lbs. Just coming off his first scholarship offer from the NDSU Bison, I was very excited to see Dotzler in pads and he lived up the hype as he was technically sound and really strong in pass-pro. I also got to see that nasty side and grinder mentality that I saw over the winter and spring from the camp circuit.
Griffin Empey Griffin Empey 6'3" | OL Stoughton | 2023 State WI (Stoughton) LB. 2021. Committed to Wisconsin for wrestling. The mightily accomplished wrestler was all over the field offensively and defensively for the Vikings and showed off his aggression, physicality, and toughness as he played a ton of snaps with a heavy load on his shoulders both offensively and defensively. As a LB he was very hard to block, could blitz effectively, and did not miss tackles. On offense, he brought a much-needed spark to the Vikings offense and ran over more than a few would-be tacklers as a RB.
Rudy Detweiler Rudy Detweiler 6'1" | LB Stoughton | 2021 State WI (Stoughton) LB. 2021. Committed to UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks got an absolute steal in the well-built and instinctive Detweiler. He had great range at the LB position and could go sideline to sideline with ease. Just like his LB compadre, he also rarely missed tackles and was really impressive at the point of contact. He’s set for a great college career in the WIAC.
Gabe Rousseau Gabe Rousseau 6'4" | OL Stoughton | 2022 State WI (Stoughton) OG. 2022. 6’3, 275 lbs. Looked dominant on the Viking offensive line where he was a key cog in both run and pass-pro. He was a nasty finisher who played through the whistle who created some big plays and big holes for his offense. His hand usage was really effective as well.
Newly Discovered Studs
Connor Carroll (Waunakee) DE. 2022. Not listed on the WSN roster, Carroll was a massive and well-filled-out DE for the Warriors who showed off some natural strength and bend that kept catching my eye throughout the night. He needs to update his Hudl or his twitter if he wants to see his recruitment take off for college.
Luke Pugh Luke Pugh 6'4" | DL Stoughton | 2022 WI (Stoughton) 2022. TE/DE. 6’4, 220 lbs. Versatile and strong, Pugh filled out his pads and lined up all over the field offensively and defensively for the Vikings.