MADISON, Wisconsin — Maxwell Praschak simply took what the defense gave him, but it was more than enough to lift Somerset to another state championship.
Praschak rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns to pace undefeated Somerset to a 28-16 victory over Little Chute in the Division 4 high school football title game Thursday night at Camp Randall Stadium.
"If it wasn't me, it would have been our quarterback or one of our halfbacks," said Praschak, who carried 46 times. "It's just the luck of the draw and the luck of the defense that they're playing. I got lucky today."
It was the second title in three seasons for Somerset (14-0), which also was runner up in 2011.
Somerset led 14-10 at the half, but Praschak scored on a 3-yard run and Mitchell Foster added a 16-yard touchdown to put the Spartans on top 28-10 entering the fourth quarter.
Led by Praschak, the Spartans controlled the game by controlling the ball with scoring drives of 64, 69, 60 and 53 yards. In addition, they ran out the final 8:10 of the game with a 87-yard drive that ended with quarterback Reed Baillargeon taking a knee on the 1-yard line.
"He's a good one," Somerset coach Bruce Larson said of Praschak. "That's what he does. It shouldn't surprise anybody. He's been there for us for four years, and he's just a hammer."
The teams traded touchdown drives in the first half before Little Chute ran out of time at the Somerset 11-yard line and had to settle for a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the half to pull within 14-10.
Somerset also limited Little Chute (11-3) to minus-1 yard rushing. Mustangs quarterback Sam Merryfield completed 21 of 31 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns, but also suffered two costly interceptions, including one on the first play of the game.
"It was definitely a struggle, especially to stay warm on the sideline in this cold," Merryfield said of Somerset's time-consuming drives. "I've just got to give credit to them for really just being a great team. They were the better team tonight."
Baillargeon added 109 yards rushing as Somerset finished with 379 yards on the ground. Baillargeon attempted only one pass, completing it for a 16-yard touchdown to William Kieckhoefer for Somerset's first score.
"This was perfect," Praschak said of the game-time temperature in the mid-teens. "We love playing in the cold. It's all the better for us. We passed the ball once today, so it was good for us."
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