Going into Tuesday night as the No. 7 seed in the Section 2A playoffs, the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Bulldogs faced a tall task as they went on the road to No. 2 Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop. In the end, JWP fell to GFW 42-12 in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
The Bulldogs attempted to carry the momentum from their 46-0 win in their regular season finale against Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons and on the first drive of the game, they stayed competitive.
Answering an 8-yard touchdown from GFW, quarterback Karson Lindsay capped off an eight play, 53-yard drive with an 14-yard touchdown pass to running back Jack Cahill. JWP had a botched point after attempt following the touchdown, so the Thunderbirds still led, but the Bulldogs were right there with them.
After that point, JWP struggled to keep up with the Thunderbird offense. Minus a drive ended by the start of halftime, GFW rattled off five scoring drives before running the clock out to end the game.
The Bulldogs ran into a rough patch composed of two punts, two turnovers on downs and an interception following their first score. In their final drive of the game, JWP went 70 yards on 12 plays which ended with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Austin Westphal.
Most of JWP’s offense came from the ground game where Westphal served as its workhorse back, finishing his day with 24 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Ryder Thissen had 10 carries for 50 yards and Cahill had six carries for 25 yards, as well as serving as its leading receiver with two receptions for 2 yards and a touchdown.
The main issue for the Bulldogs came with their run defense. GFW recorded 432 rushing yards and scored all six of its touchdowns on the ground.
Nick TenEyck and Treay Taylor sliced through JWP’s defense with TenEyck posting 12 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns, while Taylor had 14 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Jacob Rose also added seven attempts for 59 yards and a touchdown.
JWP only had one turnover all game off an interception, but just couldn’t keep up offensively with the Thunderbirds and its defense couldn’t generate enough pressure in the backfield, allowing GFW’s run game to thrive.
Cahill led the team with 13 total tackles, followed by eight from Westphal and six from Nolan Morsching and Cole Schlueter.
With the loss, the Bulldogs 2021 season has come to a close as their top seeded opponent moves onto No. 3 Lester Prairie in the semifinal round.