MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's top ranked team lived up to the billing.
Back in the title game for the first time since 2008, Hartland Arrowhead — ranked No. 1 in Division 1 since the preseason — dominated with its athleticism and strength, opening up a 35-0 lead before finally finishing off Sun Prairie 35-14 in the WIAA Division 1 championship Friday night at Camp Randall.
"Anybody could've coached this group," said Arrowhead coach Greg Malling. "They ran themselves ... This group allows us to do a lot of things. Whatever we think we can take advantage of, we are able to."
Winning their fourth state championship in its 10th appearance, the Warhawks (12-1) wasted no time going against a defense that had allowed only 26 points (3.25 per game) in the regular season. Scoring on three of its fourth drives, the Warhawks scored 35 first-half points, tying the Division 1 record.
"We know we had great playmakers on offense," said Warhawks junior offensive lineman and Wisconsin commit George Panos. "We knew we had the most explosive offense in the state. All we did on the offensive line was do our jobs, block in front, get them the ball and let them do what they do."
Senior quarterback Brady Kelliher finished 15 of 22 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Kelliher became the second quarterback to throw three touchdowns in a Division 1 title game, joining former Kenosha Tremper's Mark Hujik who accomplished that feat in 1979.
"We have a great lineup up front and great receivers," said Kelliher, as Arrowhead set the record for most passing yards in a Division 1 final (225) with 21 minutes left to play. "All I have to do is put it on them and they make plays."
Ranked second in state among Division 1 schools, Sun Prairie (12-1) was the last team from the Madison area to appear in a Division 1 state championship game, winning the title in 1995.
It couldn't catch a break this time, especially when Kelliher's attempted pass to Ty Jager went throw hands and into the arms of Kenny Finco, who raced 37 yards for the touchdown.
"Their skill kids block so well," said Sun Prairie coach Brian Kaminski. "They threw little bubble (passes) and we just couldn't get out to block and they were able to make some big plays.
"We just couldn't get into a rhythm on either side of the ball in the first half. You have to give credit to them."
Sun Prairie junior quarterback Ryan Curran set a new Division 1 record with 18 completions, but he was picked off twice in the second quarter, both leading to Arrowhead touchdowns.
The 35 points were the most Sun Prairie had allowed in past 24 games. Coincidentally, it came in a 35-0 loss to the Warhawks in November 2010.
"It just wasn't our night," said junior defensive tackle and Wisconsin commit Craig Evans, fighting back tears. "It wasn't our night."