WIAA Division 5 Championship: Colby 42, Cedar Grove-Belgium 13
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Ten years ago, Adam Esselman was a first-grader watching his big brother Joseph help bring home a WIAA state football championship to Colby.
Now, Adam has something to brag about at the family dinner table.
Esselman ran for three touchdowns and made an interception that set up another score, as the Hornets beat Cedar Grove-Belgium 42-13 in the Division 5 title game Thursday.
Esselman rushed for 157 yards, scoring on runs of 3, 2 and 11 yards.
"I just wanted to make Joey proud," said Esselman, a 210-pound junior. "He got his. Now I got mine. It's just one big thrill. I ran hard and played hard the whole game."
"We knew he was a big boy and we had to wrap him up when we got to him. We didn't do that," said Garcia, who went over 2,000 yards for the season but struggled mightily against the Hornets. "There were a lot of little things we didn't do that you need to, to win championships."
Garcia, who reached the end zone in every Rockets game this season, didn't gain a yard until his fourth carry, and was stacked up for no gain or a loss on nine of his 22 tries.
He finished with just 52 rushing yards, and by the time he finally scored on a 1-yard run to start the fourth quarter, the game had already been decided.
"It seemed like they wanted it more than we did," Garcia said.
On Colby's second play from scrimmage, Jordan Rahm rolled out and passed to Tyler Lynn for a 48-yard gain to the 9-yard line. Rahm scored on a sneak from the 1 two plays later.
The Rockets (13-1) responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive, but they stalled at the Colby 13 and Randy Zuelsdorf missed a 30-yard field goal.
The Rockets didn't see the red zone again until after Colby (14-0) had amassed a 35-0 lead and a running clock by the end of the third quarter.
"We didn't expect it. We thought it would be a close game," Esselman said. "But once we got our momentum going, there was no stopping us."
Esselman's two second-quarter touchdowns, including one with just 23 seconds left in the half, gave Colby a 21-0 lead going into the locker room.
"It was rough. We weren't used to that," Garcia said. "We had never trailed at halftime. That was some adversity that we hadn't faced. We just didn't hang with it this time."
Two quick scores in the third quarter put the game out of reach. Cedar Grove-Belgium took the second-half kickoff and promptly turned the ball over on downs after four plays, and Colby took advantage with a 5-play, 47-yard scoring drive that ended with Esselman bullying his way into the end zone from 11 yards out.
Esselman then intercepted Rockets quarterback Kyle Bruggink on the next possession and returned the ball 29 yards to the Cedar Grove-Belgium 11. Four plays later, fullback Josh Hodd barreled in from a yard out for a 35-0 lead.
Lynn became the fourth Hornet to rush for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on a 2-yard end around.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)