After allowing an early Sun Prairie touchdown, the Kimberly Papermakers scored 27 unanswered points en route to their historic fifth-straight state championship and 70th straight win.
“Crazy. Nation’s longest winning streak. We rarely talk about it but looking back on it, give straight years of perfect, that’s crazy on any level,” senior quarterback Alec Rosner said. “Again, credit to the coaching giving up all their time to put us in the best spot to win.”
Kimberly was led as it has been all season by senior D.J. Stewart, who had a game-high 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Papermakers put up 355 rushing yards total, with 76 yards coming from John Nett, who ran in an impressive touchdown to tie the game before halftime. Alec Rosner completed 3-of-12 passes for 39 yards and rushed for 90 yards and a score.
“You know, the more we win, the more doubters we get. Something that was different was just having the whole state versus Kimberly,” Stewart said. “Definitely feels really really good to come out in the second half and play just like we did in the first half is important. Definitely feels really good.”
A slow start and fumble put Kimberly in an early 7-0 hole, but its stout defense shut Sun Prairie down for most of the game. Drew VanderMissen, Boyd Dietzen and Tristan Argall all notched six tackles, and VanderMissen and Drew Lechnir each had picks. But battling through a tough game for a win is familiar for this team, which won a few games that came down to the wire.
“Amazing, you know. These kids are really special. They’ve had a tough season,” said Jones. “We’ve had a tough schedule and some tough games and they continue to fight. You saw that tonight, they came out tonight and they fought in the second half. Just really really proud of them.”
As for that streak — don’t expect the hype or expectations it brings to die down around Kimberly anytime soon.
“I don’t know, it seems surreal really. If I had to guess at the beginning of the year I wouldn’t have been able to guess we’d be able to do that so it’s a credit to these young men,” Jones said. “So we’ll enjoy this for a little while and then a lot of these guys will be back in the weight room working again for next year.”