EDITOR’S NOTE: In November of 1982, the Westbrook Wildcats high school football team won the 1982 Minnesota nine-man championship. Spring sports are canceled, so The Globe is reprinting selected articles from great sports moments of the past. Today’s story (condensed), which appeared in the Nov. 22, 1982 issue of the Daily Globe, celebrates the Wildcats’ title.
BY SCOTT MANSCH
MINNEAPOLIS (Special) -- Mark Schoborg, all 225 pounds of him, didn’t even try to suppress his delight.
“It’s been the same since seventh grade,” said Schoborg, bubbling rapidly while drying himself off in what was a joyous Westbrook Wildcat locker room. “And it really wasn’t much different today than it’s been all season long. We just got things down to earth and started playing football again.”
Schoborg, the 6-2 senior tackle, was referring to a football victory -- Westbrook’s 34-12 win over Fergus Falls Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in the Minnesota nine-man football championship game. But it was more than that. For a collection of 12 seniors, Saturday afternoon’s victory here in the Metrodome was a culmination of a dream. And the way the day ended, with Wildcats unanimously thrusting index fingers into the air, proved a sufficient climax to a collection of prep careers which have been characterized by victory.
Since Schoborg and his mates were junior-high aged kids, the group has won organized sporting events. This habit of winning was no more evident than in the fall of 1982, when, playing as a Westbrook Wildcat football team, they marched to the tune of 13 straight victories, an undefeated season, and the first team state championship in the history of the community.
The championship contest figured to be high-scoring.
Westbrook had never been limited to less than 16 points and had scored more than 30 seven times in 12 games. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, also undefeated at 11-0, had also rung up more than 30 points seven times.
But the Comet defense was also a squad to be reckoned with, as evidenced by the recent all-state selection of one of its stars, 245-pound senior tackle Tippy Stensrud.
So, when the two clubs managed to play a scoreless first quarter, it appeared as if two touchdowns just might win the football game.
“They surprised us a little bit with their defense,” Westbrook coach Bill White would explain later. “We expected them to play basically the same type of defense we run -- the three-two. Then they came out in a three-three stack and we hadn’t blocked against it. We just weren’t ready for it.”
Whatever impetus the Wildcats needed was on the way, however. After moving nowhere on the team’s first four possessions, Westbrook reached deep into its bag of tricks and dusted off a play which had not been used this season.
“It’s our old junior high football play,” Schoborg said with a smile. “We’ve called it ‘guts’ since we were in seventh grade. We haven’t run it all season long. I guess we had to wait for a special occasion to use it and this was it.”
What “guts” -- apparently so-named because it requires courage to complete -- is, is a flea-flicker. Quarterback Steve Elzenga pitches out to tailback Bruce Madson, on an apparent sweep. Madson then gives to Mike Schultz on the old end-around play. But instead, Schultz shovels back to Elzenga, now about 15 yards behind the original line of scrimmage. What Elzenga does is simple. He simply cranks up and hurls a perfect spiral about 50 yards downfield, to a wide-open Curtis Mischke. The net result: six points.
“I delay a little bit and then run,” explained senior end Mischke, who, according to White, played perhaps his finest game. “It was just a great pass.”
The bit of razzle-dazzle, good for 62 yards and a touchdown, seemed to inspire the Wildcats. So with Elzenga and Mischke performing at peak efficiency, and the Westbrook defense displaying its usual tenacity, the fact that the team won by 22 points should not surprise.
“Our conference was very balanced this year,” rationalized White. “We didn’t really dominate, but I think that helped us.”
Immediately after the first touchdown, which occurred midway through the second quarter, Hillcrest was forced to punt. The Wildcats then moved on a 41-yard drive, with Elzenga sneaking into the end zone from the one. The drive was highlighted when Mischke took a short, sideways pass from Elzenga and immediately pitched the ball forward to Madson. The double-pass, on a fourth-down play, worked for 17 yards and a first down at the Hillcrest 10-yard line. …
In the second half, although the Comets twice scored touchdowns, the game’s outcome wasn’t really in doubt. The Wildcats scored the first time the team had the football after intermission, on Dean Anderson’s 38-yard run, which was achieved with the aid of a vicious block from end David Schmidt.
Other Wildcat touchdowns, all in the fourth quarter, came on a nine-yard, Elzenga-to-Mischke pass and a Madson 15-yard run on a fake reverse.
When it was all over, the Wildcats had amassed 332 net yards, and limited the Comets to just 182.
A defensive front led by noseguard Kurt Villa, tackles Schoborg and Steve Burns, end Mischke and linebacker Mike Weiske paced the winners.
“I think everybody was just super fired-up,” said Villa, who had seven tackles and five assists. “The scouting report we had was real good. They didn’t really surprise us.”
“I think everybody on our defense has been underrated all year long,” added Weiske. “But we played this just like any other game.” …
Elzenga, who completed seven of 16 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, enjoyed playing in the Dome. “I really like to throw in there,” he said with a smile. “There’s no breeze and the ball really hangs up. I wish we could have all our games in there.”