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Wisconsin Lutheran beats Rice Lake 42-18 in Division 3 championship

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MADISON, Wisconsin — Facing an early deficit against a high-powered offense, Wisconsin Lutheran senior quarterback Logan McShane gathered his offense early in the second quarter and delivered his message: "Let's play Wisco Football."

"Wisco Football" is all about running the ball, a strategy that served the Vikings well as they came back to cap off their perfect season with a 42-18 win over Rice Lake in the WIAA Division 3 championship Friday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Down 10-7 late in the second quarter, Junior Terrance Ward's touchdown opened the floodgates for Wisconsin Lutheran, who scored 27 points straight. The Vikings ran the ball nine times on that first, 10-play touchdown drive, having McShane do the brunt of the work before letting Ward score the first of his two touchdowns.

"We had a shaky start and it felt like they had all the momentum in the first half," said McShane, as Wisconsin Lutheran (14-0) won its fourth title in six appearances (2004, 2005, 2007). "It was good to come out and grind out a drive before half.That was a huge momentum shift four us."

PHOTO: Rice Lake players react after their 42-18 loss to Milwaukee Wisconsin Lutheran in the WIAA Division 3 high school football championship game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Rice Lake players react after their 42-18 loss to Milwaukee Wisconsin Lutheran in the WIAA Division 3 high school football championship game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Playing in below freezing conditions with a steady breeze, Wisconsin Lutheran (14-0) didn't deviate from its power running game — especially when it needed it most.

"We have so many guys that can get the ball and run on this team," said McShane, who finished with 138 rushing yards, 89 passing yards and two touchdowns. "That's really paid off."

Ward rushed for 68 yards and junior tailback Austin Denoyer added 61 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, which rushed for 313 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

"We just played Wisco football," said Denoyer. "It feels great to get that state championship back."

After four strong offensive playoff games, Rice Lake (10-4) was limited to 245 yards and committed two turnovers. In its first state title appearance since 2004, Rice Lake fell to 1-4 in state title games. The Warriors won their lone title in 1979.

"It's not the way we wanted it, but that's life in football," said Rice Lake coach Dan Hill.

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