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State championship heartbreak: Somerset loses state title in double overtime

The Somerset football team poses with the second place trophy after the Division 4 state championship game.1 / 3
Somerset quarterback Tyler Ledbeter cuts between defenders to earn the two-point conversion that gave Somerset 14-12 lead.2 / 3
Stunned Somerset players sit on the turf at Camp Randall Stadium after they were defeated in the second overtime of the WIAA Division 4 state championship game.3 / 3

Somerset and Wrightstown waged a battle in the WIAA Division 4 state football championship that will last forever in the memories involved in the game.

The game stretched to overtime, then to a second overtime, before Wrightstown defeated the Spartans to earn the gold ball as state champions, 28-26.

Somerset and Wrightstown both fought back from deficits in the second half.

It appeared Somerset was in trouble when Wrightstown took a 12-6 lead early in the fourth quarter. Somerset coach Bruce Larson dusted off a rarely used trick play, with receiver Austin Bushinger gaining 48 yards on a reverse. On the next play, Spartan quarterback Tyler Ledbeter dodged two Wrightstown defenders, scoring on a 23-yard keeper. Ledbeter also scored the two-point conversion, putting Somerset in front, 14-12.

Somerset's defense then came up with a stop and the Spartans quickly rode the momentum to another touchdown. It was Ledbeter scoring again, following the same track as his first touchdown, this time going 48 yards. Somerset couldn't convert the two-point conversion, which would prove fatal to the Spartans' chances of winning in regulation.

Wrightstown tied the game with 23 seconds left in regulation. Tiger quarterback Jordan Johnson did nearly all the damage on rollouts. Johnson found tight end Cody Lukes on a snap pass from 3-yards out and then Johnson rolled out, reaching the end zone for the two-point conversion that tied the score at 20-20.

Somerset got the ball first in the opening overtime. Neither team could score in the first overtime.

Wrightstown got the ball first in the second overtime. Tiger fullback Jackson fox broke through the Spartan line on a trap play, scoring from 23 yards out. Johnson scored the two-point conversion again, building the lead to 28-20.

Somerset also scored in the second over time. A 16-yard pass from Ledbeter to Bushinger moved the ball to the Wrightstown 4-yard line. On the next play, fullback Vern Breault burrowed into the end zone for the touchdown. Ledbeter tried to score the two-point conversion, but was stopped before he could break the line. That suddenly ended the game, leaving the stunned Spartans to deal with the loss.

The first half of the game was a scoreless defensive battle. Somerset forced two turnovers on an interception by Ryan Himes and a fumble recovery by Trevor Schroeder. The Spartans were hurt by several fumbles in the first half, including one by Ledbeter when the Spartans were one yard away from a touchdown.

The Spartans finish the season with a 12-2 record. This is the third time they were runner-ups at state. They also finished second in 2004 and 2005. They won a state championship in 2002.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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