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Menasha beats Waukesha West 35-17 to clinch Division 2 championship

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MADISON, Wisconsin — With some teammates he's known since sixth grade, Tyler Johnson was confident he knew exactly where everyone would be on each play.

That's why Johnson's 36-yard pass to senior Kevin Medrano, inches from the sideline, looked so effortless. That play started Menasha's takeover in the final three quarters of its 35-17 victory over Waukesha West in the WIAA Division 2 championship Friday at Camp Randall Stadium.

"We used to hook up in sixth grade on those plays," Johnson said. "We have a lot of experience on this team, a lot of seniors who have been playing together for a long time. It really helped us out there."

Making their first appearance in a state championship final, the Bluejays (14-0) trailed 14-7 before Johnson took control in the second quarter, rushing for a 39-yard touchdown - one of his three scoring runs - and that pass to Medrano.

PHOTO: Waukesha West's Ryan Rausch reacts after Waukesha West lost 35-17 to Menasha in the WIAA Division 2 high school football championship game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Waukesha West's Ryan Rausch reacts after Waukesha West lost 35-17 to Menasha in the WIAA Division 2 high school football championship game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

It was only Medrano's second catch of the season, but was a huge boost with 37 seconds left in the quarter. Johnson rushed for 129 yards and threw for 107 yards.

"Tyler Johnson is one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Wisconsin, and I think he proved that today," said Menasha head coach Jeramie Korth. "He's a player, he makes plays, he did what we needed him to do and he put it all together today."

Junior quarterback Conor Blount threw for 257 yards for the Wolverines (11-3), which won three one-possession games in a tough bracket to get to state but ran out of gas in the final two quarters.

"To be here is a great accomplishment," said West coach Steve Rux, as West lost for the first time in three appearances in the state finals. "I thought we were in the game. Everything has to go right in a game like this, but our guys played our hearts out for each other."

Menasha sealed the victory when junior linebacker Dominic Seifert returned a fourth-quarter interception 36 yards for a touchdown, making it 28-17.

"That was definitely a highlight for me," said Johnson. "That really turned the momentum into our favor."

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