SOUTH WAYNE, Wis. — The River Ridge Timberwolves gave Black Hawk/Warren its closest game of the season at the end of September, but this time around the Wolves had no answer for the defending state champs.
The Warriors (12-0) got three touchdowns from senior Cayden Milz and two more from fellow senior Jaylen Rufenacht as Black Hawk defeated the Timberwolves, 49-7, in Friday night’s WIAA Division 7 Level 3 playoff game.
The Warriors advanced to Friday’s state semifinal against Lourdes Academy.
“I am very proud of these guys for the effort they brought tonight, and for the way they studied their opponent this week,” Black Hawk/Warren coach Cory Milz said. “They understood the mistakes they made the last time we played them, and they corrected them tonight.”
The Warriors struck early, using a 91-yard run on the first play of their first possession from Rufenacht. The Timberwolves’ defense then got a turnover on an Archie Cooley interception, but were unable to put any points on the scoreboard in the first quarter.
“We thought we had a good game plan coming in to tonight,” River Ridge coach Wade Winkers said. “We thought we could throw the ball a little more, but we could never keep the chains moving consistently.”
Black Hawk got second quarter scores from Milz on a 15-yard run with 9:12 remaining and Lucas Flanagan on a 6-yard run with 6:09 left in the first half to take a 22-0 lead.
The Wolves, who reached Level 3 of the playoffs for the first time since 1997, struggled containing the speed of the Black Hawk backs in the second half as the Warriors continued to pull away.
Milz added a 5-yard score in the third quarter before adding a 4-yard touchdown with 10:14 remaining to put the Warriors up, 36-0. He finished the game with 132 yards on 11 carries, while Rufenacht added 238 yards on 12 carries.
The Wolves (8-4) were led by senior Will Esser with 79 yards on 15 carries.
Ridge scored its lone touchdown on a 10-yard run from Cooley in the fourth quarter.
“I can’t say enough about this group of seniors,” Winkers said. “They have done so much for this program, and have made people excited about River Ridge football again. They are going to be sorely missed.”