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St. Croix Central football team beaten in overtime in WIAA state championship game

The St. Croix Central poses with the 2017 Division 4 state runner-up trophy after being beaten in overtime in the title game by Lodi, 20-17.

The most successful two-year run in St. Croix Central football history didn't end the Panthers had hoped.

The Panthers were hoping to bring home their second straight WIAA Division 4 state championship trophy. Instead, they will have to settle for the silver ball after losing to Lodi 17-10 in overtime in the 2017 Division 4 state championship game, played Thursday night at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

The game will go down as a classic in terms of hard-nosed, gritty football. But in the end, two turnovers and several key penalties were critical in the undefeated Lodi team overcoming the Panthers.

Lodi scored the first touchdown, turning a Panther turnover into a score midway through the first quarter.

The Central offense found its stride in the second quarter. Quarterback Collin Nelson scored on an 8-yard run with 5:06 left, sending the teams into halftime tied 7-7.

Central got the ball first in the second half and the Panthers went on one of their patented extended drives. The drive lasted more than 10 minutes, ending with Derek Myer's 28-yard field goal.

Lodi answered with a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Both teams missed field goals later in the fourth quarter, with the Panthers' coming on the final play of regulation.

Lodi got the ball first in overtime and drove in for a 1-yard touchdown. Central was called for a personal foul on the extra point, meaning the Panthers would have to try to drive 40 yard for the matching score in overtime. The Panthers got one first down before their drive bogged down.

Central finishes the season with a 12-2 and the Panther seniors finish their careers with a 44-8 record.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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