October 23, 2021 – Slinger, WI – The weather certainly felt like autumn in Wisconsin, as two North Conference rivals, Slinger vs. Cedarburg, battled in the opening round of the 2021 WIAA football playoffs.
Both teams prided themselves on running the football this season, so it was not too surprising when Cedarburg scored the game’s first points via a 35-yard field goal, there was just 3:51 left to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs then would miss a field goal from similar range midway through the second quarter. After grinding to gain offensive traction for the entire first half, Slinger would finally get on the board with just 28 seconds left in the half after a goalline touchdown run by junior Avery Kurth, set up by a long pass from junior quarterback Tanner Hora to senior receiver Andrew Jacklin. Slinger would carry a 7-3 lead into halftime and would build on that momentum later on with a drive capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Hora with 4:26 left in the third quarter. On the other side of the ball, the Owls’ defense really showed up to play in this game, as even though they gave up several first downs to the Bulldogs’ methodical running game, they never allowed too many big yardage plays and tackled well in open space. This gave the Owls’ offense extra opportunities, which they took advantage of, as with 1:24 left in the third quarter, Hora threw a laser to senior receiver Jack Murray who made a nearly 30-yard after the catch for a 65-yard touchdown pass.
Kurth stepped up on defense for Slinger with an interception early in the fourth quarter, complete with a decent return, however the offense failed to convert this opportunity into points.
The Bulldogs gained a bit of life midway through the fourth quarter when junior linebacker Evan Weber intercepted Hora, but Cedarburg’s offense was once again stopped. Slinger would manage to kick a field goal after a series of failed goalline runs with just 49 seconds left to play in the game. Slinger would win by a final score of 24-3.
Postgame, Avery Kurth was soaking in his team’s efforts and their victory, “it’s my first playoff win,” Kurth said, “but we (Slinger) have more to come, we are going to make the most it and it’s going to be fun.”
Kurth credits his multifaceted success on the field to “staying mentally dialed in,” before adding “I focus on staying hydrated and being conditioned for the games.” As a junior, Kurth said he has no real plans for his future past high school, “right now I am just enjoying the ride and looking especially forward to what this team does next,” Kurth said.
Other opening round finals for schools from the Washington County area include the following:
- #2 Germantown defeated #7 Milwaukee Reagan 54-16
- #4 Hartford defeated #5 Kaukauna 14-13
- #5 Kewaskum defeated #4 Lodi 29-20
- #3 Lake Mills defeated #6 Kettle Moraine Lutheran 28-27