Forreston entered the State Title game for the 3rd time in 5 seasons, looking to make history in the NUIC, trying to become the first NUIC team to win 3 titles in that short of time. With a win, they would also tie the conference record for most state titles in conference history.
Forreston started the day receiving the kick, after CPC deferred the coin flip. Forreston began the drive on the ground, with runs by Dom Christensen and Garett Badertscher. Ethan Mulder would pitch in with some runs, but a fumble came out at the CPC 23 yard line, but Badertscher recovered to keep the drive going. On the very next play, Evan Kelsey would find paydirt from 22 yards out to put the first points on the board. The 2 point try failed, but Forreston had the first lead 6-0 with 7:51 left in the 1st quarter.
The Panthers would take the kickoff, but Collin Sally would fumble the ball, however his teammates would recover. Facing a 3rd and 9 on their opening drive from their own 31 yard line Eric Jones found Tristan Brocksieck for an 8 yard gain. Facing 4th and 1 CPC went for it on a Cole Williams dive and go the 1st down to keep their opening drive alive. Another big play on 3rd and 8, Jones found Williams again through the air to keep the chains moving. Setting up in Forreston territory at the 43 yard line, they immediately took a 3 yard loss. Eric Jones would find Chayse Houston, followed by a Houston toss to set a up 3rd and long for the third time on the drive at the Forreston 39 yard line. A double reverse by Collin Sally gave CPC a 1st down once again. Cole Williams took a burst off left tackle for a 1st down on an 11 yard gain to set up inside the red zone. A 15 yard penalty would put the Panthers back to the Forreston 31 yard line. A Houston 12 yard run off right end set up a 2nd and 13 as the first quarter came to a close with Forreston still up 6-0. Another Houston run would set up yet a fourth 3rd and long for the Panthers on their first series. Forreston's Evan Kelsey broke up a pass play to set up 4th and 15, but an incomplete pass would turn the Panthers away.
Forreston started their 2nd drive from their own 21 yard line. Evan Kelsey took a big pitch off right end to quickly move the ball to the Forreston 37 yard line. On the very next play Badertscher burst up the middle to the 48 yard line. Crossing midfield, QB Bailey Cullor would pick up another first down as the Cardinals would keep marching down the field. A Forreston penalty would set them up with a 3rd and 6 from the CPC 37 yard line. Evan Kelsey would break loose once again, for a 37 yard TD run. The 2 point conversion by Dom Christensen was good, and Forreston had the lead 14-0 with 8:50 left in the half.
The Panthers would start from their own 29. A big run by Chayse Houston would move them out to their own 40 yard line. Facing a 3rd and short, Noah Strohkirch would take the ball up the middle, but the Cardinal defense would stand tall. Facing a 4th and 1, the Cardinal defense burst through the line to stop the Panthers and turn the ball over on downs.
Forreston would start their drive on the CPC 45 yard line looking to open the game up. A big Kelsey run, and then a Mulder dive would give Forreston two first downs as they drove to the 13 yard line. Badertscher would get the ball to the 4 yard line, facing a 3rd and 1. Facing 1st and goal, Ethan Mulder dove into the end zone as Forreston took a 22-0 lead with 3:06 left in the half.
The Panthers would start from their own 11 yard line with 3 minutes left in the half. A Eric Jones pass to Collin Sally was intercepted by Hunter Rogers for a pick 6 with 1:47 left in the half. A Badertscher 2 point try was good, as Forreston was up 30-0.
The Panthers would start at their own 37 yard line and quickly move to the Forreston 48 yard line on a pass from Jones to Williams. Another Jones pass was intercepted once again, this time by Evan Kelsey as the Cardinals took over at their own 30 yard line. Evan Kelsey would take the ball in his own hands, moving the ball to the 41 yard line and setting up a first down with 32 seconds left in the half. Ethan Mulder would pick up another first down as the Cardinals moved across midfield. A penalty against the Cardinals would move them back to the 46 yard line. A Christensen run would move the Cardinals back to the CPC 41 yard line. An incomplete pass would send the Cardinals to halftime up 30-0.
CPC would start the 2nd half at their own 39 yard line, but quickly faced a 3rd and long from their own 36 yard line, but an incomplete pass would set up the first punt of the game for either team.
Forreston would start their first drive of the 2nd half half from their own 41 yard line. Forreston would stick to their guns and drive across midfield once again, setting up at the CPC 45 yard line. A big run by Badertscher moved the ball to the Panther 31 yard line. An Ethan Mulder run would move the Cardinals into the red zone, giving them the ball at the 19 yard line. Another Badertscher run would set up a 1st and goal from the 8 yard line. Mulder would take the next play the final 8 yards for the score as Forreston increased their lead to 36-0 with 7:32 left in the 3rd.
The Panthers would start their drive from their own 45 yard line following a face mask penalty against Forreston. Williams would quickly move them to the Forreston 31 yard line. On the very next play Jones would connect with Tristan Brocksieck to move the ball to the 19 yard line. Houston would take the ball to the 10, putting the Panthers in a 3rd and 1. Once again the Forreston defense would shut down the 3rd down play resulting in a 4th and 1 from the Forreston 10 yard line. A Jones incomplete pass to Houston would turn the ball over on downs.
Forreston would start the drive from their own 10 yard line, looking to put up a running clock on a dominant state title game performance. A few big runs from Kelsey and Mulder would keep the ball moving. A Badertscher run up the gut would move the Cards to their own 48, and on the next play Mulder moved the ball to the CPC 36 yard line. Badertscher would make another big bruising run to move the Cards to the CPC 20 yard line. Austin Mitchell would drive to the 1 yard line, where Badertscher would plunge his way in with 11:08 left in the game, starting the running clock as they took a 44 - 0 lead after a Hunter Rogers 2 point conversion.
CPC would try a trick play as the flee flicker from Jones to Houston set the Panthers up at the Forreston 25 yard line. The Panthers kept moving the ball as time was running down midway through the 4th quarter, where Noah Strohkirch moved the ball to the Forreston 3. The following play he would give them a 1st and goal from the 1 yard line. Strohkirch would put the Panthers on the board with 5:30 left in the game, as Forreston led 44-6.
That would be it for the scoring, as Forreston ran out the clock to earn the state title. Forreston out rushed the Panthers 404 yards to 127 yards on the day, earning 25 first downs on the day. CPC was able to add 99 yards passing to bring their total to 226 yards for the game.
Forreston was led by Evan Kelsey, who had 17 carries for 148 yards and 2 TD's. Garett Badertscher added 96 yards on 16 carries with 1 TD, as both Kelsey and Badertscher broke the 1,000 yard mark on the season. Ethan Mulder added 82 yards on 14 carries with a pair of TD's, and Hunter Rogers had a big pick 6 that changed the entire dynamic of the game.
CPC was led by Cole Williams with 67 yards rushing on 12 carries, followed by Chayse Houston with 47 yards rushing on 10 carries. Noah Strohkirch put the lone score on the board for the Panthers, as he finished the day 16 yards on 7 carries. Eric Jones went 6-13 passing with 2 INT on the day.