MADISON (AP) — Glenwood City junior tailback Isaac Tuttle couldn't explain it, other to say there's just something about the second half that made sense for Glenwood City in the WIAA Playoffs.
"We have a lot of heart and just working really hard, knowing we could get to state, made us believe," said Tuttle. "We just believed and believed and we got here."
Outscoring its four previous playoff competitors 60-22, the Hilltoppers continued the trend by outscoring previously unbeaten Potosi 34-7 in the second half to earn a 46-21 victory in the WIAA Division 7 championship Thursday at Camp Randall.
Trailing 14-12 at halftime, the Hilltoppers (11-2) scored 22 points on their three third-quarter drives, rushing for touchdowns of 35, 20 and 36. For the quarter, Glenwood City outgained Potosi, 174-26, with Tuttle rushing for 99 yards and two scores to turn a slight deficit into a 20-point lead.
Tuttle finished with 195 rushing yards, four touchdowns and averaged 9.3 yards per carry, as Glenwood City outgained Potosi 500-273.
"We run an option style offense, which sometimes we come into a game and we're not quite sure how they are going to defend us," said Glenwood City coach Shane Strong. "In the second half, we adjusted based on what Potosi showed us in the first half, and it really paid off for us."
Potosi (12-1) advanced to state for the first time on the heels of averaging 42 points per game, including 38 points in the postseason. Against Glenwood City, the Chieftains were held to their second-lowest point total of the year.
"Their offense is about controlling the ball," said Potosi senior Tim Fritz, who finished with 180 total yards, one touchdown and one interception. "We've seen that offense before, but we haven't seen it run that well. They were just a tough team and played better this day. That's what counts."
It was Glenwood City's third state championship in three appearances, but its first time since winning in Division 5 in 1997. It ends a remarkable turnaround considering the Hilltoppers finished 1-8 last season, were picked to finish last in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and entered the playoffs as a third seed.
"(Last year) was a long year for us," said Strong. "It wasn't because they didn't work hard. We were a young club. They really battled through it this year."