EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Anything can happen on the gridiron any given week, but no one that was at Carson Park last Friday night knew the type of game they were about to witness. Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire Memorial combined to score 132 points, tied for the third-highest scoring high school football game in state history. It was the Cardinals that would prevail after a second half comeback, winning 67-65 in double overtime to avoid their third straight Big Rivers Conference loss.
"At the start of the game the kids knew that you know losing another conference game your chances of making the playoffs were really in jeopardy,” said Chippewa Falls head coach Chuck Raykovich. “Being down 24 points with five minutes left in the third quarter it's like, 'What can we do?' The kids never quit. They just kept grinding away and the coaches kept coaching and you know an old coach saying, 'You work hard and good things will happen.' Well that's proof right there."
Both teams battled key injuries, but down the stretch the Old Abes knew that they’d need to keep scoring if they were going to come out on top because their defense was getting worn down by the Cards’ O-line.
"You know at the end of the game I knew our defense was extremely tired and Chippewa is so big up front. Their kids, I don't know what they have in the water over there in Chippewa and Bloomer and some of those towns, but I knew our guys were getting tired,” explained Eau Claire Memorial head coach Mike Sinz. “Even when we scored the first touchdown in the first overtime we went for two right away. We were wearing down and we had to get a score and a two pointer."
Chi-Hi and Memorial each scored nine touchdowns. Junior quarterback Bryson Johnson accounted for all of the Abes’ end zone trips. He even tied the state record for passing touchdowns with eight.
"That was probably the best performance I've ever seen as a quarterback in high school,” added coach Sinz. “The only other performance I can think of that's close to it was Jared Abredderis when I watched him play Baldwin-Woodville in Level 4 in 2008. That was, he had a remarkable game too, but Bryson's was unbelievable. I think his probably was better."
A truly incredible matchup between Memorial’s aerial attack and Chi-Hi’s ground game that found pay dirt seven times. Players on both sides stepped up and made it a game no one will forget for a long time.
"It was an epic game and a true testament to two teams that didn't give up and kept battling and kept fighting. You know, I'm just going to say it. I am so proud of our kids to be that far down and not fold or tent,” exclaimed coach Raykovich. “There wasn't a doubt in their mind and they just kept fighting and fighting and fighting and that's a testament to their character."
Now both teams enter the second half of the season with 1-2 conference records hoping they’ve got enough left in the tank for the rest of the BRC after leaving it all on the field Week 5 at Carson Park.