MADISON, Wis. (AP) — As far as Mequon Homestead coach Dave Keel knew, his players didn't put any extra emphasize on ending Waunakee's 48-game winning streak or playing with spite after being put in Division 2.
The Highlanders certainly didn't play that way.
With a defense giving up just 10 points a game, Mequon Homestead saved its best defensive performance for last, shutting out three-time defending champion Waunakee 14-0 in the WIAA Division 2 championship Friday at Camp Randall.
The victory gives Homestead (12-1) its fourth state championship since 1999 and its first in division 2.
"I can't say enough about our defense," said Keel. "What a job our defensive staff did. Our entire defensive squad played lights out."
Despite going 1-for-11 on third downs, Homestead outgained Waunakee 258-215, shut down a Waunakee offense averaging 40.3 points per game and turned back the Warriors three times on fourth-down attempts inside its 5-yard line.
"It really came down to execution, which is what we worked the whole year for," said Highlanders junior defensive tackle Brandon Hines. "It's a great effort by the defensive line, but it's definitely a big effort here."
Homestead didn't need much offense, but got its production early from senior quarterback Jake Laihinen. Opening the scoring with a one-yard rush in the first quarter, Laihinen hit freshman receiver Jake Popp for a 22-yard score 11 seconds before halftime.
"Our little freshman (Popp), who is not so little, made a heck of a catch for a touchdown," said Keel. "That gave us nice momentum."
Waunakee (12-1) had numerous opportunities to grab momentum, but couldn't execute in critical situations. Homestead defensive back Jacob Mehlhoff made a tackle on his own three to prevent one score, but the Warriors failed to convert on two other fourth-down plays after a player tripped without being touched.
"It was just a lack of execution," said Waunakee quarterback Will Decorah. "We showed us some things on defense that we practiced all week. Maybe they were just a little better than what we thought. I tip my hat to them, because they are a great team. They deserve that gold ball because they executed and outplayed us."
The Warriors were looking to set a new WIAA record with their 49th straight victory, but were shut out for the first time since the 2005 state championship game.
"It was not a fun day at all," said Waunakee coach Pat Rice. "It was one of my most frustrating ones. I'm sure kids will feel that way, too."