Strong second half gets Irish football team to state


What started as a shootout concluded with a shutout, as the Maple Lake Irish football team defeated the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers by a score of 48-21 in the 4AA Section Final on Halloween.
A dramatic, back-and-forth battle put the halftime score at 21-21.
"The first half was a heart-attack shootout," coach Tim Knudsen said.
Landon Caughey put the Irish on the board first with a rushing touchdown followed by a Charlie Stejskal point-after-touchdown kick for a 7-0 lead.
Trevor Borell picked off HL-W-W's quarterback on the next possession, but an Irish interception gave the ball back.
Strong defense kept the Lakers from scoring from 15 yards out. However, it also made a long field for the Irish, who had to punt the ball away from the end zone.
HL-W-W capitalized on the field position with a touchdown early in the second quarter.
Following another Irish interception, the Lakers took a 13-7 lead with 4 minutes remaining, setting a seesaw of scoring in motion.
Cal Redemske and Stejskal gave the lead back to the Irish with a one-yard run and PAT, but it was short lived as HL-W-W put up a touchdown and two-point conversion just 24 seconds remaining, leaving the Irish with just 43 seconds remaining.
"We weren't going to sit on it," coach Tim Knudsen said. "We knew we had one play and decided to run it."
Caughey pitched the ball to Redemske, who heaved it to a streaking Zach Johnson for the game-tying touchdown.
"We knew they'd bite thinking we were going to continue to run the ball and get into field-goal range," Knudsen said. "It was the right call at the right time and the kids executed it. We had just put that play in on Monday."
Redemske also came up with one of his two interceptions as the first-half clock expired.
With the playing field leveled, the Irish looked to run away with the contest in the second half.
Redemske scored a second time from one yard out.
Later in the third quarter, Caughey took off on a 60-yard run, ending in a touchdown and a 34-21 lead.
In the fourth quarter, a Damian Kaley interception set Redemske up for a 30-yard touchdown run.
More information and stats appear in this week's Messenger.